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Gastropexy in Dogs

Gastropexy is a surgical procedure used in mainly large breed dogs to prevent gastric dilatation and volvulus, (GDV) also known as bloat. Gastropexy can be performed prophylactically in healthy dogs predisposed to GDV or as part of surgical management to prevent recurrence after the stomach returns to its normal position.

Gastric dilatation and volvulus is a life-threatening condition primarily seen in deep-chested, large breed dogs like Great Danes, German Shepherds, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, Weimaraners, and Irish Setters.

With GDV the stomach becomes dilated with gas and or fluid and twists on itself, meaning that the gas or fluid cannot escape. This will then cause pressure and decreased blood flow to stomach tissues. In some cases, the spleen can also get twisted, compromising its blood supply. This can lead to gastrointestinal tract and spleen death, affecting blood pressure and overall health. Without emergency treatment, GDV is fatal.

“Published with permission from VIN® & Veterinary Partner® https://veterinarypartner.vin.com.

Gastropexy involves a surgical procedure where the stomach is tacked to the right side of the body wall to prevent twisting and GDV. The most common technique involves creating incisions through the outer layer of the stomach and inside the body wall, exposing underlying bleeding tissue. The stomach is then sutured to the body wall using two lines of suture, allowing the exposed and bleeding tissue to contact each other.

Gastropexies can be performed laparoscopically or endoscopically (keyhole), using instruments and cameras inserted through incisions in the body wall or down the esophagus and stomach, but is less invasive and provides a faster recovery.

Prophylactic Gastropexy -This is a gastropexy which is performed to prevent GDV, it is performed in high-risk young dogs, usually at the same time they are neutered or spayed.

Dogs with GDV require emergency surgery, to untwist the stomach and secure it, reducing recurrence risk from 55% to 4%.

  • Bloodhound 39%
  • Great Dane 36.7-53%
  • Irish Wolfhound 26%
  • Poodle 25.3%
  • Akita 25%
  • Irish Setter 24.9%
  • Collie 21%
  • Weimaraner 19.1-21%
  • German Shepard 17%
  • Newfoundland 10%
  • Rottweiler 3.9%

Other at-risk breeds

  • Bernese mountain dog
  • Boxer
  • Doberman
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever