ABC-Animal - Health Chronicle

First Aid: Gastric Torsion

Your dog eats his meal, drinks a lot of water and then goes for a run. He stops suddenly, makes efforts to swallow and seems to be suffering. It could be a gastric torsion! Quick…IT’S URGENT TO TAKE ACTION !

Here’s the usual scenario: the dog (mostly large breeds) eats quickly, drinks a lot of water and goes running with all his might. He stops suddenly, makes efforts to swallow, has trouble walking, falls on his side and has difficulty breathing. The stomach, with its abundant contents, starts to swell. The food ferments, the gas stays imprisoned in the stomach and the stomach twists. The dog’s abdomen continues to swell. If nothing is done, he will definitely die.

Gently lift him by the abdomen with your forearms
* If your dog stops running, is unable to swallow and seems uncomfortable, wrap your forearms around his abdomen.
* Gently lift his abdomen with your forearms. His back legs will then be a few centimeters off the ground.
* Listen. With luck you’ll hear him burp. This indicates that the gas is leaving his stomach.

Call your veterinarian immediately
* Do not wait. This is an EMERGENCY, especially if the gas stays imprisoned in the stomach.
* Call and get to the vet’s quickly.

Stomach probe and possible surgery
* The vet will take the appropriate actions, which could range from a stomach probe to mandatory surgery.

To prevent stomach torsion, feed your dog after walks or in small portions
* Feed your dog only after returning from a walk.
* Or give him a mini-portion before the walk and the rest when you get back.

Be vigilant. Make sure your dog doesn’t fall victim to stomach torsion!

Caroline Fortin, D.V.M.