Looking ahead to March’s webinars, on 24th Samantha Buss presents Nursing the GDV Patient. Valuable stuff.  GDV is a condition that’s not good news for anyone: patient, owner, vet, or nursing team. Indeed, prevention is very much better than cure.

We’re all familiar with large or giant dog breeds being at increased risk, but of course GDV doesn’t only happen to these guys. Genetics and/or the anatomical quirk of an increased thoracic depth to width ratio add up to a big problem with bloat. These predispositions cause gas build up with double whammy of difficulty burping and increased tone in the lower oesophageal sphincter. So what can be done to reduce the chances of it becoming a problem?

When advising a client about the risks, what’s new and what’s not. What difference can we make and what is the evidence?

Let’s look the latest advice on prevention with a little nerdy GDV trivia to lighten the load.

GDV Pub Quiz

Perhaps I need to get out more, but here is a GDV ‘pub quiz’. See how you get on

Q1: Is the incidence of GDV linked to the weather?

  1. Yes,
  2. No
  3. Not sure.

Seriously, there is a study about the incidence of GDV under different climatic conditions. [*] Don’t hold your breath though, because the answer is (b), weather has no influence on the occurrence of GDV cases.

Q2: Are splenectomised dogs at increased risk of developing GDV?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not sure

This is a definite ‘Yes’ but also ‘No’. One study [@] following 37 splenectomised dogs for a year found no increased risk. But another study [#] of 453 dogs did find a link and advises prophylactic gastropexy at the time of splenectomy. So the answer is a definite c) Not sure…but a gastropexy looks a good idea at the time of surgery… just in case.

Q3: Does a gastric foreign body make GDV more likely?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not sure

A clear cut a), Yes, for this one. This work [%] by Battista cites a five-fold increased risk of GDV in the presence of a gastric FB.

Q4: Is Spec CPL a useful predictor of survival for dogs with GDV?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not sure

This falls under c) not sure. The initial work [$] looks promising. It indicates that raised spec CPL (indicative of pancreatic damage) along with raised C-reactive proteins CRP (but interestingly not lactate), may be linked to poor outcomes and death. The authors conclude more work is needed on this, before we all stock up on in-house CRP ELISA test kits.

Q5: Does gut microbiome impact on the chances of GDV occurring?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not sure

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer here is a) With gas build-up being the fuel behind GDV, this study [&] hypothesised that breed genetic variations cause an altered immune response to the gut microbiome, which predisposes to gassiness. Again, further work is needed but it could go part way to explaining why an increased risk factor is having a first-degree relative that suffered a GDV.

Q6: Should at risk dogs should avoid a kibble-based diet?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not sure

Thanks to the work of Louise Anne Buckly at RCVS Veterinary Knowledge for this one. Another c) Not Sure, here.  One study suggests dogs fed small size kibble (5mm or less) were at increased risk. However, another conflicting study found once all other risk factors were balanced out, feeding kibble played no part. However, turning things upside-down feeding canned food, table scraps or non-kibble diets, in some cases reduced the risk of GDV.

Proper, Prior Planning

Prevention is ideal, but for those times when the inevitable happens the 3P principle of proper prior planning is invaluable.  For this reason, best put Samantha’s webinar in the diary for March 24th.

References

[*]Climatic Conditions as a Risk Factor in Canine Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

[@]Assessment of the Incidence of GDV Following Splenectomy in Dogs

[#]Association between Previous Splenectomy and Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus in Dogs: 453 Cases (2004-2009)

[%]Gastric Foreign Body as a Risk Factor for Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus in Dogs

[$]Prognostic Value of Canine Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity and Lipase Activity in Dogs with Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

[&]The Canine Gut Microbiome Is Associated With Higher Risk of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus and High Risk Genetic Variants of the Immune System