Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat) in Dogs

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After surgery, post-operative care by your veterinarian may include:

  • Monitoring for 2 to 4 days that includes observation for arrhythmias using and electrocardiogram. Severe arrhythmias may be treated with drug therapy such as potassium supplementation, Lidocaine or Procainamide.
  • Monitoring of urine output
  • Post-operative pain treatment
  • Fluid therapy to ensure that an adequate blood potassium level is maintained
  • Post-operative wound care
  • Antibiotics are usually continued. Even with the sterile procedures employed during surgery, there is the risk that devitalized stomach tissue or intestine injured by shock (low blood flow) may allow bacteria to move into the circulation.
  • Reduction of stomach inflammation can be treated with cimetidine (Tagamet®), ranitidine (Zantac®) or famotidine (Pepcid®).
  • Enhancement of gastric motility can be treated with Metoclopramide HCl (Reglan®) or Cisapride. Gastric motility is often abnormal post-operatively due to gastric distension, lack of blood flow to the tissue, and the surgery itself.
  • Prognosis

    Most dogs that die from complications of GDV will do so within the first four days post-operatively. The mortality rate is approximately 15% for dogs treated surgically. The mortality rate is more than 30% for dogs treated surgical for which gastric resection is required. With surgery, recurrence rates are less than 10%.

    Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Administer prescribed medication as directed and be certain to contact your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. Observe your pet’s general activity level, appetite, and interest. Keep your pet in a supervised area of the home.

    Antibiotic therapy is usually continued for seven to ten days. Drug therapy for ventricular arrhythmias (such as procainamide), is sometimes needed if arrhythmias are very severe.

    Feed small frequent meals, often using a bland diet. Your veterinarian will discuss diet with you. Limit water intake for one hour after eating and always prevent your pet from ingesting large volumes of water. Avoid any exercise after eating. Do not elevate feeding bowls.

    Re-evaluation by your veterinarian is often recommended in seven to ten days with suture or staple removal and examination of the heart rate and rhythm.

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