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GASTRIC DILATION AND TORSION – is one of the few true veterinary emergencies. It occurs when the stomach dilates or swells up excessively with gas. The stomach may maintain its normal position inside the abdomen or it may twist trapping the gas inside (gastric torsion).

This effectively shuts off the ‘entrance’ and ‘exit’ of the stomach so the frothy gas cannot escape. It continues to make the stomach swell and the dog’s abdomen becomes as tight as a drum. However, it also twists and constricts the blood supply to the stomach and the starved tissue rapidly begins to die. This condition occurs principally in large and giant breed dogs with deep chests i.e. Irish setters and Great Danes but it is important to realise that it can occur in any dog, even in small breeds, though this is rare.

It is very often not evident why this condition occurs but can happen when a dog wolfs food down too quickly and swallows too much air.

Affected animals may retch but not bring anything up and may show signs of abdominal pain. There may also be evidence of abdominal swelling (bloating). They may be restless and pant due to the discomfort

If you are at all concerned and believe your dog is displaying any of above symptoms please contact the surgery immediately.



Avoid exercising your dog too near to meal times. Ideally exercise either 1 hour before or 2 hours after feeding

  • Feed your dog from a height with the bowl positioned on a stand at chest level
  • Avoid feeding just one big meal daily. Divide their food into 2 or 3 smaller meals

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