Bloat (GDV) – A sudden and potentially fatal condition in dogs.


What is bloat? 

Bloat (or gastric dilation and volvulus) is a sudden, life threatening condition. Bloat occurs when the stomach suddenly twists. This prevents the normal flow of food and gas through the gastrointestinal system.  The blood supply to the stomach is cut off, and the tissue begins to die. The dog will quickly go into shock and without treatment, the condition is fatal.

Is your dog at risk? 

Bloat is related to the shape of the chest and abdomen. It is most common in large, “deep chested” breeds of dog such as Great Danes, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Weimaraners, St Bernards, Newfoundlands, Standard Poodles, Retrievers, and many others.

Most cases occur after a dog has eaten quickly, had a big meal, or gone for a run after eating.

Signs of bloat

  • Suddenly depressed or uncomfortable for no apparent reason
  • Standing awkwardly, as if trying to take pressure off the abdomen
  • Firm distension of the abdomen
  • Salivating
  • Retching, with or without vomiting
  • As time progresses, the dog may become weak, struggle to breath, or collapse


If you are worried your dog may be experiencing bloat, take him to the vet IMMEDIATELY. This is a severe, life threatening emergency.

Treatment usually involves emergency stabilisation with pain relief and rapid fluids. The diagnosis can quickly be confirmed by an x-ray. Emergency surgery is usually required to return the stomach to its normal position.


Luckily we are able to prevent this condition by performing a simple routine surgery called a “gastropexy“. The surgery involves attaching the stomach to the wall of the abdomen permanently to prevents the stomach from twisting. The surgery is recommended for at-risk breeds and can be done at the same time as desexing. 

At Tasmanian Animal Hospitals, we are now able to do this procedure using keyhole surgery! This means a minimally invasive procedure with less pain and a fast recovery.

If you have a large or deep chested breed of dog and are interested in preventing this disease then please contact us for further information.