Veterinarian Service

Pet Prophylactic Gastropexy Veterinary Service in Tyler, TX

For all breeds at risk, prophylactic gastropexy is advised. Excellent visualization and quick recovery times are made possible by laparoscopy.

Dee and Ashley

Pet Prophylactic Gastropexy

If they own a higher-risk animal, some pet owners might opt to have a procedure called a gastropexy carried out. This can be carried out concurrently with spaying or neutering as a preventative measure.

Commonly referred to as volvulus, bloat, gastric dilatation, or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), is an often fatal emergency that causes the dog’s stomach to distend and twist. 

Two main risk factors for GDV are anxiety and a dog’s body shape. GDV can happen to any breed of dog but tends to occur in deep, barrel-chested dogs such as Great Danes, St. Bernards, greyhounds, German Shepherds, Weimaraners, boxers, etc. Great Danes have the highest lifetime risk at about 40%.

When gas and food distend (stretch) the dog’s stomach to several times its normal size, the dilated (distended) stomach usually rotates. We don’t know why it twists, but it can rotate anywhere from 90° to 360° degrees (essentially from one-quarter of a circle to all the way around). When it is twisted shut, it is like a balloon tied off with a knot: unless the balloon pops, nothing is getting out. Whatever is in the stomach (food, water, gas) cannot move into the intestines. The distended stomach crushes major blood vessels in the abdomen.

Without treatment, a dog with GDV will experience significant pain and die within hours (it’s not the same time frame for every dog). For those owners who choose not to go with surgery to correct the GDV, the decision to euthanize must be made quickly because of the pain the dog is experiencing.

Vet holding cute cat

What is a gastropexy?

An elective surgical procedure called prophylactic (or preventative) gastropexy (tacking) prevents GDV. In deep-chested dogs or those whose adult weight is expected to reach over 99 pounds (45 kg) this preventive surgery that permanently attaches (tacks) their stomachs to the body wall is often done when a dog is being spayed or neutered, or another surgery is taking place where the abdomen is being explored already.

Gastropexy can be done when the dog is six months or older. It also can be an elective procedure on its own, or it can be done as part of treatment at the emergency room during an episode of GDV.

In dogs with GDV, gastropexy reduces recurrence to less than 5%, while not doing one results in recurrence rates as high as 80%.

A risk vs. benefit study calculated the lifetime risk of bloat and its medical treatment. The study found preventive surgery made sense for at-risk breeds, especially Great Danes.

If your dog is not a predisposed breed or mixed breed and does not have other risk factors for GDV, you can discuss with our veterinarians if a prophylactic gastropexy is advised/necessary. If you do have a large breed dog and/or other risk factors and have concerns about bloat, talk with our veterinarians about the potential benefits and risks of gastropexy to see if it is a good option for your dog.

Why would I want to do this for my dog?

  • Deep-chested dog breeds such as Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shepherds, and many others are at risk for developing a condition called Gastric Dilation and Volvulus, or GDV for short.
  • When a GDV occurs, the stomach fills with gas and then rotates. This is a life-threatening condition that must be treated with emergency surgery.

A gastropexy keeps the stomach from rotating, so a GDV cannot occur. This gives many owners peace of mind.

Veterinary Services

Below are all of the veterinary services we offer at the Animal Medical Center of Tyler. If you have any questions regarding our services, please feel free to call us.