Recent studies are shedding more light on gastric dilatation volvulus
(GDV), otherwise known as bloat. GDV is the second leading cause of death
in large-breed (50 - 99 pounds) and giant-breed (100 pounds and over) dogs.
Approximately one in four large-breed dogs and one in five giant-breed dogs
may develop GDV during their lifetime, with some breeds at even higher
lifetime risk. GDV strikes suddenly and has a mortality rate as high as 30
In GDV there is a rapid accumulation of air in the stomach, causing
distention and often rotation of the stomach, cutting off blood supply at
both ends and causing the dog to go into shock. GDV is an acute emergency
and rushing the dog to immediate veterinary care is essential. The risk of
a dog developing GDV increases with age. Other factors that increase a
dogĀ“s risk are having a first-generation relative with a history of GDV,
having a deep and narrow chest or abdomen, being thin, experiencing a major
health problem before age 1, and having a fearful or nervous temperament.

Research primarily at Purdue University by Dr. Larry Glickman, VMD, Ph.D,
(an AKC Excellence in Canine Research Award winner), and Dr. Malathi
Raghavan, DVM, Ph.D. has identified a number of feeding management and
dietary factors that increase the risk of GDV. These include eating only
one meal a day, feeding only dry dog food, feeding food with only small
particles, and feeding a large volume of food per meal. Other feeding
factors found to increase the risk of GDV were eating rapidly, increased
physical activity before and eating, restricting a dogs water intake before
and after eating, moistening dry food before feeding, and eating from a
raised feeding bowl. Thus, some of the recommendations commonly made to
prevent GDV were shown by the research to actually increase
the risk of GDV. In the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical
Association, Vol. 17, No. 10, Glickman wrote, "In addition, in univariate
analysis, many of the recommendations commonly made to prevent GDV, such
as raising the food bowl, moistening dry food prior to feeding, and
restricting water intake before and after feeding, were associated with a
significantly increased risk of GDV."
Recent research, not yet published, has shown an increased risk of GDV in
dogs who consumed dry foods containing fat among the first four
ingredients, and an increased risk in dogs who consumed dry foods listing
citric acid as a preservative - with this risk rising when foods with
citric acid were moistened. Although not statistically significant,
researchers found that a modest increase in risk of GDV was seen with the
consumption of dry foods that listed more than one corn ingredient among
the first four label ingredients, while in contrast, a pattern was observed
of decreased GDV risk with an increasing number of protein ingredients of
animal origin, including beef, poultry, lamb, and fish among the first four

* Feed two or more meals a day
* Feed no more than one cup per 33 pounds of body weight per meal when
feeding two meals a day
* Feed an energy-dense diet, to reduce volume, but avoid a diet where a
high amount of calories are from fats.
* Feed a variety of different food types regularly. The inclusion of human
foods in a primarily dry dog food diet was
associated with a 59 percent decreased risk of GDV while inclusion of
canned pet foods was associated with a 28
percent decreased risk
* When feeding dry food, also include foods with sufficient amounts of
meats and meat meals, for example: beef,
lamb, poultry, and fish.
* Feed a food with larger particles, and include larger pieces of meat to
the diet.
* Avoid moistening dry foods
* If your dog eats rapidly, find ways to try to reduce his speed of eating
* Avoid raising the food bowl - place it at ground level
* Try to minimize stress for your dog. Stressful events have been reported
to be precipitating factors in GDV
* Restrict vigorous exercise one hour before and two hours after meals.
* When you are not in close proximity to your dog, use a baby monitor to
alert you if your dog is in distress.
* Learn to recognize signs of GDV, which include pacing and restlessness,
head turning to look at the abdomen,
distention of the abdomen, rapid shallow breathing, nonproductive attempts
at vomiting, and salivation. These
symptoms can progress rapidly to shock and death. Get to your veterinarian
or emergency hospital the moment you suspect GDV

Von Der Stadtrand German Shepherds

Breeder Clayton Warichak


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