Whether you have recently brought a new dog home or have several furry members established in your pack, every pet owner should be mindful of illnesses that can occur quickly with your pets. For instance, stomach torsion often referred to as “Bloat,” is a condition that can affect pets of all ages. While every pet is unique and can react differently to illnesses, a medical condition such as stomach torsion can require immediate emergency medical care. Your pet is a valued member of the family, and their health and wellness are of the utmost importance. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Caroline Wilde, to further discuss how stomach torsion can affect your pet and the treatment plan options available when your pet needs it most.
What every pet owner should know about stomach torsion
What is stomach torsion?
A stomach bug or upset stomach can affect any pet, despite age, shape, or size. In fact, stomach torsion is a medical condition of a different magnitude.
“Stomach torsion, also known as Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV) or ‘Bloat,’ is when the stomach dilates, and then twists on itself. When this happens it can be a rapidly progressive and life-threatening emergency,” says Wilde.
Stomach torsion is a very serious medical condition, which can
take a turn for the worst rather quickly. If you feel your pet is experiencing any
stomach discomfort, please seek medical care.
How do pets get stomach torsion?
The bigger question that pet owners should be asking is: how dogs and cats get stomach torsion? And what can pet owners look for to determine if their best friend is in pain?
Dr. Wilde weighs in on the cause of stomach torsion and related activities that are linked to the condition –
“Studies have yet to determine the cause of GDV, but the biggest risks are being a predisposed breed, and having family members that also have GDV. In addition, it may also be related to being fed larger volume meals and increased activity shortly after eating.”
Although the origin and reason of stomach torsion (GDV) have yet to be 100% verified, the signs of stomach torsion are shown primarily in dogs and can be rare in cats.
Consider the following common signs of stomach torsion:
Non-productive vomiting or retching
Wilde points out, “as the condition impedes blood flow throughout the dog’s body, the dog may become profoundly weak and collapse, or may be unable to rise.” Further, if your pet shows any signs of this serious medical condition, please seek medical care immediately.
How does stomach torsion affect pets?
Stomach torsion should be taken very seriously. Further, Wilde breaks down how the process of how it affects your pets –
“The stomach dilates with food and gas, increasing the pressure in the stomach. This increased pressure can prevent adequate blood return from the abdomen to the heart, and cause loss of blood flow to the stomach. In severe cases, the stomach can actually rupture.”
Is stomach torsion more common in dogs vs. cats?
Although pets of all ages, shapes, and sizes can be affected by stomach torsion, it is more commonly seen in dogs. For example, Wilde points outs out the following for pet owners –
GDV most commonly occurs in larger, deep-chested breeds
Less frequently occurs in cats or small breed dogs
Most commonly affects middle-aged or older pets
Trupanion historical Bloat claims
We sat down with Trupanion data team to look at our historical claims data when it comes to stomach torsion, GDV, and bloat claims.
“The Trupanion policy has paid out $2.5 million in claims towards the treatment of GDV. The highest-paid claim was $17,908,” points out Trupanion data analyst Malia Prescott.
Consider the following Trupanion pet breeds that claim the most for bloat:
The treatment plan for a pet diagnosed with GDV is a long and challenging road ahead. Likewise, between emergency medical care, stabilization, surgery, and specialty care, your pet certainly can benefit from support from the family. Just knowing that you are there for your pet, means so much to them. In addition, if you have any questions during the treatment process, reach out to your veterinarian, as their expertise can help walk you through the treatment process. Further, “this condition is severely painful, so pain medication is also administered,” states Wilde. Obviously, once your pet is home and on the mend – feel free to give extra kisses, cuddles, and love to your furry friend. Naturally, the effort can go a long way, and really help on your pet’s road to recovery.
Essential medical care for your furry friends
GDV is a scary condition for your pet to encounter, and frightening experience for the entire family. But, by notating your pet’s behavior, seeking emergency medical care, and staying on a treatment plan with your veterinarian, your furry friend will be back to good health in no time.
Your pet deserves the best. Call and get your pet’s quote from a pet-loving expert in a matter of minutes at 888.733.2631.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work can be featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided website, among others.