Cogges Pet of the Month for November is Frankie, a lovely 6 year old male Chow Chow dog.
Frankie was found early one morning last month in distress with an enlarging abdomen and he was trying to retch. He seemed in a lot of pain, and his owners brought him straight to the vet practice where we were just opening up for the day. We immediately saw that Frankie was in a critical condition and admitted him for treatment.
A painfully enlarged abdomen may be a sign of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus which is a rapidly progressive and life threatening condition in dogs, it can cause the stomach to rotate and cut off the blood supply to the stomach and spleen. The entire body suffers, and often the dog can go into shock.
Frankie was immediately taken for x-rays, which confirmed he was indeed suffering from gastric dilatation volvulus more commonly referred to as gastric torsion or bloat. This is a disease in dogs in which the animal’s stomach dilates and then rotates, or twists.
He was quickly given supportive treatment of intravenous fluids and oxygen before the important process of decompressing his stomach began. This involved passing a tube down his oesophagus into his stomach to release the gas and fluid collecting there. We also needed to insert a large needle into his stomach through his side to help with this. We then had to operate to open his abdomen, correct the rotation of his stomach and check for damage to his organs.
Remarkably, because of the fast action of Frankie’s owners, there was no lasting damage. We were able to position the stomach normally. To prevent the condition happening again, the stomach was permanently attached to the inside of the abdominal wall (gastropexy).
The operation went smoothly and Frankie recovered so well he was able to go home later that evening. We saw him daily to monitor his recovery and after a few days he was back to eating normally. Frankie is now fully recovered.