Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV)

Life-threatening twisting of the stomach causing bloating and shock

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat, can cause a variety of symptoms in pets. Signs may include:

  • Distended or swollen abdomen
  • Unproductive attempts to vomit (may look like retching or gulping)
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid or labored breathing
  • Signs of pain such as groaning, whining, or inability to find a comfortable position
  • Pale gums or mucous membranes
  • Sudden weakness or collapse

Other health conditions may share similar symptoms with GDV, including Foreign Body Ingestion, food bloat, or gastrointestinal cancer.

If you notice any of these signs or if you have concerns about your pet's health, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian immediately. GDV is a medical emergency requiring immediate intervention to improve the chances of survival.

When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to GDV, the following may occur:

  • Medical history: Discussion of your pet's medical history, including observed symptoms and their duration.
  • Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for signs of shock and abdominal distension.
  • Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic procedures such as X-rays or ultrasound may be used to confirm the presence, and severity of GDV, and to rule out other underlying conditions such as foreign body ingestion.
  • Treatment options: Treatment options for GDV usually involve immediate stabilization and emergency surgery to decompress the stomach and tack it in place to prevent recurrence.
  • Advanced diagnostic or treatment options: Depending on severity of disease, referral to a specialist critical care and/or surgical facility may be recommended.
  • Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve regular monitoring of your pet's condition, additional tests, or adjustments to the treatment regimen.

Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.

Here are some things you can do at home to prevent GDV:

  • Monitor mealtimes: Feed your pet smaller, more frequent meals rather than one large meal, and watch for rapid eating.
  • Choose the right bowl: Avoid feeding your pet from a raised bowl unless specifically recommended by your vet. Consider using a slow-feeder bowl if your pet eats too quickly.
  • Keep a watchful eye: For at least an hour after meals, watch for signs of distress and avoid vigorous exercise, excitement, or stress.
  • Be proactive in prevention: Discuss with your veterinarian elective preventive surgery in breeds prone to the condition.

Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on preventing GDV in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs and medical history.

Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has GDV or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian immediately. GDV is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$1,559

You pay only

$156

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV)

You save

$1,403

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$1,559

You pay only

$156

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV)

You save

$1,403

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$1,559

You pay only

$156

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV)

You save

$1,403

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.