What is it?
Gastropexy is a surgical procedure in which we permanently attach the stomach to the body wall, preventing it from twisting. Prophylactic means we do it in a healthy dog, usually a puppy getting neutered or spayed at the same time, before he or she has a problem.
It is a technically simple procedure, but does involve going into the abdomen and the incision is at least a few inches long. Still, most dogs recover from the surgery without incident.
Why do we do it?
Gastric Dilitation and Volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening emergency in which the stomach becomes bloated and flips over itself. This cuts off the blood supply to the stomach, blocks the esophagus and local major blood vessels, injures the spleen, causes very severe cardiovascular problems and is very, very painful. If not treated within hours, the dog will die. Many die during or immediately after the emergency surgery to repair this problem. Many studies regarding the cause of GDV have been done, but only a few conclusions have been drawn.
For more information on this emergency, go to www.veterinarypartner.com .
Who should have it done?
Perhaps the most valuable information from the previously mentioned studies is which dogs are most susceptible to GDV and therefore should get the prophylactic gastropexy surgery. Dogs of any size and breed can have GDV but large, deep-chested dogs with a familial history of GDV are most prone.
Great Danes have an amazing 37% chance of developing GDV sometime in their life, making them the best candidate for this surgery. Some studies show that any dog over 99 pounds has a 20% risk of developing GDV.
Here is a partial list of breeds in which prophylactic gastropexy is recommended:
Great Dane, St. Bernard, Akita, Weimaraner, Rottweiler, Bassett Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Gordon Setter, Bouvier, Boxer, Irish Setter, Laboradors, Doberman Pinscher, English Sheepdog, German Shephard, Wolfhound, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle.
This list is not complete! If your dog is a mix of these breeds, will be giant or large when full grown, had a close relative develop GDV or has a body conformation similar to any of the above breeds, you should consider having this surgery done.
Still Have Questions?
Dr. Eisenhauer, Dr. Barrow or any of the staff would be happy to talk to you about cost and any questions or worries you might have about prophylactic gastropexy. If you are having trouble deciding whether or not you want your dog to have it, we can help. Call or email any time!