Ask an expert

14 Nov 2004

"turned stomach"
dear doc

last night my 6 yr old german sheperd seemed to be in pain and one side of his stomach was swollen.Fearing he may have been poisoned i took him to my vet at 3 am this morning. i was told that his stomach had turned and that he was in shock.he was put on a drip to stablise following which a pipe was inserted to attempt to release the gas? this did not work and the vet operated, whilst cleaning his spleen the dog died. i am still in a state of shock and very emotional.
please could you explain the above diagnosis and advise if there was anything else we should have tried to save my pet.

thanks and regards
Answer 363 views

01 Jan 0001

This condition is called gastric dilatation/torsion and is extremely serious and often results in death. It happens quite suddenly, and becomes life-threatening within the hour. For an unknown reason, the food in the stomach result in excessive gas production which cannot be relieved in the normal way (burping or by the small intestine). The gas will lead to massive pressure within the stomach. This pressure then becomes higher than the blood pressure and results in blood no longer flowing within the wall of the stomach. The stomach may also turn on itself and result in occlusion of the blood supply to the stomach as well as the spleen which is closely associated with the stomach. As a result, the stomach and the spleen may develop massive damage and die off. This results in blood clots circulating through the body, as well as the production of massive amounts of toxins which causes havoc throughout the body. This often results in death. There is nothing more that you and your veterinarian could have done. Sometimes, we are lucky and the patient will present before the organs start dying and the patient can be operated on successfully. It remains an extremely serious condition. It can only be prevented by a operating on a healthy large breed dogs and permanently fixing the stomach in place surgically.

I am sorry about your loss.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9270 votes
66% - 17927 votes