Medical and Surgical Considerations Regarding Bloat
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus Syndrome in the Bloodhound
Dr. John Hamil

Of the approximately 1,300,000 dogs registered annually by the AKC only 1500 are bloodhounds. Consequently, most veterinarians will see only a few in their practice lifetime. This brochure is offered by the American Bloodhound Club in an attempt to educate the owners of bloodhounds about the life-threatening nature of this complex syndrome as well as to familiarize veterinarians with some of the peculiarities of our breed and a protocol which has been employed successfully in treating GDV syndrome.

Definition: this is an acute life-threatening condition which initiates complex cardiovascular and metabolic changes that result in high mortality following dilatation and rotation of the stomach on its long axis.

CONCERN: Early recognition of the signs of GDV and immediate veterinary attention will greatly improve survival rate. Only if veterinary care is not accessible should the owner attempt to tube or trocarize the dog, although this may be life saving if you must travel a great distance.

CAUSE: Unkown. Probably multifactorial. No age or sex predilection. The bloodhound's size, deep chest, frequent ingestion of foreign material, and genetic predisposition make them common victims of this condition. GDV syndrome is seen primarily in large deep chested breeds and, although heritability has not been proven, does seem to be more prevalent in certain lines. This syndrome is often associated with ingestion of large meals and drinking water, post feeding exercise, following general anesthesia, stress (boarding, traveling, showing, breeding, trailing, etc. ) ingestion of foreign bodies, and gastroenteritis with vomition.

SIGNS: The observant owner may notice the early vague signs of restlessness, pacing, lethargy, dull, vacant or painful expression, and/or shallow respiration. Repeated measurements around the abdomen at the level of the last rib with a cloth measuring tape will demonstrate early increases in abdominal size if you are in doubt. Every owner should be able to recognize the more sever signs of unresponsiveness, unproductive retching, salivation, arched back, anterior abdominal pain, abdominal distention, abdominal tenseness, pale mucus membranes (eyes and mouth), weak pulse, blue-gray mucus membranes, weakness, inability to stand, moribund appearance, and, with endotoxic shock, red injected mucus membranes and rapid capillary refill time.

RULE OUTS: Small intestinal volvulus, splenic torsion, gastric or intestinal foreign body, intussesception, peritonitis, cardiomyopathy, or pleural effusion. Bloodhounds are predisposed to both dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They are very likely to ingest foreign objects and seem to be susceptible to intussusception.

DIAGNOSIS: Signalment, history, clinical signs, xray in right lateral recumbency if not in shock or after decompression, this position may show the pylorus and duodenum dorsal to the cardia.

THERAPY: If in shock, decompress immediately by gastric tube, or if necessary, by trocharization with multiple 16-18 gauge needles at the point of greatest distention or perform temporary gastrostomy in right paracostal area, if necessary. If possible have assistants establish IV and initiate treatment for shock simultaneously. If assistant is not available, decompress first, then follow remainder of protocol.

If not in shock try to pass lubricated stomach tube marked at distance from nose to last rib. If unable to pass stomach tube, stand dog on rear legs and "bounce" up and down. if still unable to pass tube in sitting position, trocarize, if still unsuccessful take to surgery immediately after establishing IV and administering medication.

If not in shock or after decompression, take blood, urine, and xrays.

Monitor intensively for cardiac complications until surgery, usually within 4-6 hours, some surgeons prefer to wait until the next day. When stable, hopefully with cardiac signs normal, perform permanent abdominal wall gastropexy. Although patient is not as critical at this time, all precautions must be taken: If lidocaine drip fails to control VPC's: If patient experiences tachycardia with rate over 200 bpm



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This material distributed by the American Bloodhound Club.
Presented as a supplement to The American Bloodhound Club Bulletin.
Printed in memory of
Courtesy of Martha Brody.
Disclaimer: This article is provided by the American Bloodhound Club purely as the personal opinion of the author for informational purposes only. The American Bloodhound Club, it's members and the author make no warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information or will be liable for any loss, damages, claims or injury that accompany or result from any use of this material. This article may not be copied or distributed without the inclusion of this disclaimer.

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