Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Canine Bloat Prevention and Gastropexy Surgery


Many pet owners write and ask my opinion on Gastropexy surgery for bloat prevention. As breeders, most of us do not do the surgery, because we have come to the conclusion that although we do not know the true cause of Bloat, it is best not to tamper with breeding stock, just in case this has a genetic predisposition.

I for one do not believe it is genetic, but a "systemic" problem caused by a breakdown in the pH of the gut, due to multifactors, and stress is the trigger. For more detailed information here is my article on the issue of Bloat/Gastric Torsion.

I also feel you need to know about the yeast/fungus connection to bloat and how to help prevent this condition with a comprehensive feed program.

For pet owners, below is information you should print out and share with your vet. There is a new technique called Laparoscopic gastropexy that is by far less invasive then the traditional belt-loop gastropexy and this is the techinique you might want to consider.

Information courtesy from the website - to help you and your vet make a decision on doing gastropexy surgery.

Vet Surg. 1996 May-Jun;25(3):221-7. Related Articles, Links

A Comparison of Laparoscopic and Belt-loop Gastropexy in Dogs.

Wilson ER, Henderson RA, Montgomery RD, Kincaid SA, Wright JC, Hanson RR.
Department of Small Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL, USA.

A simplified technique for laparoscopic gastropexy (group 1) was compared to belt-loop gastropexy (group 2) in eight adult male dogs randomly divided into two groups of four dogs each. Our hypothesis was that a satisfactory laparoscopic gastropexy would approximate the strength and operative time required for belt-loop gastropexy. Operative time, surgical complications, postoperative morbidity, gross and histological appearance, radiographic microvascularization, and maximal tensile strength were measured and compared between the two groups. All dogs recovered from surgery. No morbidity was associated with either procedure. The mean (+/- SD) duration of surgery was 69.75 +/- 7.23 minutes for group 1 and 58.75 +/- 7.63 minutes for group 2. Fifty days after surgery, the microvascular appearance of the gastropexy site was similar for both groups. Blood vessels were observed within each seromuscular flap but vascular ingrowth to the abdominal musculature was observed in only two dogs, one from each group. The maximum tensile strength at 50 days was 76.55 +/- 22.78 for group 1 and 109.21 +/- 22.29 N for group 2. Differences between surgical duration and maximum tensile strength were not statistically significant (P > .05). Histologically, all gastropexies consisted of an adhesion composed of dense fibrous connective tissue. The results of this study indicate that laparoscopic gastropexy provides a minimally invasive alternative to open abdominal prophylactic gastropexy in dogs.

PMID: 9012107 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

This article is courtesy of Vet Surgery Central, please print out and take to your vet if you are considering gastropexy surgery on your Great Dane

Minimally Invasive Gastropexy - a Preventative Procedure

Article Written by Dr. Daniel A. Degner, Board-certified Veterinary Surgeon (DACVS)

Key Points:

A procedure called a gastropexy can be done to tack the right side of the stomach to the right side of the body wall using minimally invasive surgery.

Benefits of the laparoscopic surgery:

Shorter surgery and anesthesia time
Less pain
Quicker recovery
Prevents life-threatening twist of stomach
Less expensive than treating life-threatening GDV
Patient can go home on the day of the procedure


Gastric volvulus and dilation (GDV) or bloat is a common life-threatening condition that affects many large breeds of dogs; for information on GDV look at GDV web page. This condition involves distention of the stomach usually with gas and twisting of the stomach. Why wait until the life-threatening condition has occurred? A preventative minimally invasive procedure is now available for your pet. Breeds that are susceptible to GDV and should be considered for the preventative procedure

Great Danes
Irish Wolf Hounds
German Shepherds
Standard Poodles
Blood Hounds

Laparoscopic surgery

A procedure called a gastropexy can be done to tack the right side of the stomach to the right side of the body wall using minimally invasive surgery
A scope is inserted into the belly cavity
An instrument port is made on the front right side of the abdomen and the right side of the stomach is picked up with a laparoscopic instrument
The instrument port incision is enlarged to 1 1/2 inches and the stomach is sutured to the right body wall

Benefits of the laparoscopic surgery over open surgery

Shorter surgery and anesthesia time
Minimally invasive
Two small incisions therefore less scaring
Less pain
Quicker recovery
Prevents life-threatening twist of stomach
Less expensive than treating life-threatening GDV
Patient can go home on the day of the procedure

Where to Purchase A Bloat Kit

Editorial Comments:

Here is the recommended surgery guidelines for Great Danes, from the Great Dane Club of America Health and Welfare Committee. Print out for your vet.

It is best to have your dog in top condition before going into any elective surgery, and a comprehensive feed program and the use of Nzymes for detoxification and fast healing is very important.

I would like to include this information as well.

Accpuncture and Bloat - By C.A. Krowzack, DVM
This article is reprinted here with the kind permission of theGreat Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association and Dr. Chris Krowzack.

In February of 1998, the Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association (GLIWA) held their annual meeting. The meeting is an occasion for fellowship of the members; the club attends to business and also hosts a speaker on a special topic. In the past it has been obedience, therapy dog training, and this year the topic was acupuncture. Dr. Debbie Mitchell gave an overview of what acupuncture is, its history and its medical uses. Then, using a member's dog showed the participants several acupuncture/acupressure points that they could utilize. One point was to stimulate gastrointestinal motility to combat bloat.

This week at my clinic, a GLIWA member brought her wolfhound in for an examination. During the night Quinn had begun experiencing discomfort. He sleeps in the bedroom with his owners. The husband had worked a long day and was asleep, but the wife was awakened by the restless behavior of Quinn. When she petted him she found his abdomen severely enlarged and hard to the touch. She knew it was bloat, but didn't know what to do. She is a small woman, and Quinn a large dog. She remembered the acupressure point Dr. Mitchell had shown and began massaging it. Within a few minutes, Quinn began passing "a lot of gas" and his abdomen became smaller and softer. The husband and wife brought Quinn in the next morning to make sure he was all right, and because he had diarrhea.

On examination, Quinn was completely normal. He was not experiencing discomfort upon palpation, and no abnormalities beside the diarrhea could be found. Because she remembered the acupressure point, the wife had saved Quinn's life. The acupressure point is on the hind leg. If you start at the hock, on the front of the leg (anterior) you can feel the tibia. Move your hand up the leg along the tibia's sharp crest; what in humans would be called the shin. As your hand approaches the stifle, or the "knee" the crest becomes very pronounced and then curls around to the outside (laterally). Just inside this curve is a depression. The acupressure point is in this depression. An acupuncturist might insert a needle into this spot, or inject a liquid, but, as Quinn's owners will attest, massaging also stimulates the point. The gastrointestinal tract starts to contract and move (peristalsis) and expels the built up gas before torsion can occur. If torsion has occurred, massaging the spot will not help.I don't recommend this procedure instead of veterinary treatment, but begun early, or on the way for veterinary treatment, can save your hound's life!

A further note, Dr Krowzack has studied acupuncture at Colorado State University Veterinary College this past year and is now a board certified veterinary acupuncturist.

For more information on the various types of Gastroplexy surgeries go to:

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