Gastric torsion in dogs

Gastric torsion in dogs

As hunters and pack animals, dogs have a highly adaptable stomach: Wolves, which are closely related to dogs, often have to fast for a considerable length of time after a successful hunt. Their stomachs are therefore able to digest a very large amount of food when it becomes available. Similarly, dogs have retained the ability to consume excessive amounts of food. After eating, it is important that they are able to rest and have the opportunity to digest the food without being disturbed.

The risk of gastric torsion

If this is not the case and the dog plays instead of resting after a large meal, there will be a severe build-up of gas in its stomach. Normally, the air is expelled through the oesophagus and bowels. However, unfavourable movements or a rapid build-up of gas can cause the outlets of the bloated stomach to close, resulting in dangerous gastric torsion. Here, important blood vessels inside the stomach are cut off and a fatal circulatory shock occurs within a few hours.

Symptoms of gastric torsion

Dogs suffering from gastric torsion show obvious signs of discomfort and restlessness. They pant, salivate and try unsuccessfully to vomit. A typical symptom is a pronounced increase in the circumference of the stomach directly behind the bottom edge of the rib cage. Eventually there are clear circulatory symptoms with pale mucous membranes, grogginess and loss of consciousness. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from gastric torsion, do not waste any time. Call a vet immediately and take your dog to the surgery or clinic.

Preventative measures

As a preventative measure, you should always allow your dog to rest after it has eaten. Also, avoid giving your dog large amounts of food all at once and instead spread them out over several meals.

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