Imagine finding your recently fed dog retching and in obvious pain. If his stomach looks distended and he gets weaker or collapses, it might be a life-threatening situation that can cause death within several hours.
When a dog’s stomach expands and twists, it cuts off crucial blood supply to the stomach and results in severe shock to the rest of the dog’s body. This condition, gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), is more commonly known as bloat. When bloat is combined with a stomach twist a dog’s survival rates are grim if left untreated.
Any breed can develop it, but large, deep-chested dogs are particularly prone to this devastating disease. The reason why one dog may survive GDV and another may not has been an enduring veterinary mystery – until now.
Dr. Elizabeth Rozanski, a researcher from Tufts University, believes she is close to unlocking the secrets of this condition and hopes to improve the outcome and survival rates for dogs with GDV. With Morris Animal Foundation funding, she is searching for more effective methods of evaluating the prognosis for dogs with GDV.
“The goal of this study is to try to better evaluate why some dogs with gastric dilatation-volvulus recover uneventfully while others have severe illness and prolonged hospital stays or don’t survive this devastating disease,” Dr. Rozanski says.
Dr. Rozanski will discuss her promising research findings on Wednesday, August 21 during a public webinar. Register here for the webinar.
Her team has reviewed the cases of nearly 500 dogs with GDV and discovered a factor most associated with high morbidity in patients.
“This project provides us with vital information, including the potential to develop an ability to intervene in these dogs early on and prevent complications. This could help lower the mortality rate of this devastating disease,” Dr. Rozanski says.
Knowing which dogs with GDV have an increased risk for death or a prolonged hospital stay will help clinicians identify those animals in need of more aggressive care and will hopefully improve survival rates.
In addition to her research findings, Dr. Rozanski will also discuss which dogs are at risk, the clinical signs and important things to know about GDV.