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Prophylactic Gastropexy and Its Advantages

Prophylactic gastropexy is a surgical procedure to help prevent gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) or “Bloat” in breeds at risk of development or dogs that have relatives that have had this condition.   Breeds at highest risk for GDV have body structures that demonstrate deep chests such as the Great Dane, Weimaraner, St. Bernard, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Standard Poodle, Irish Wolfhound, German Shepherd, and Doberman Pinscher.

Gastropexy is a surgical procedure performed to permanently attach the stomach to the inside of the body wall. Gastropexy does not necessarily prevent the dilatation or bloating of the stomach, but rather the “flipping” of the stomach on its axis in approximately 95% of dogs.   When the stomach “flips”, it effectively shuts off its blood supply causing death of stomach tissue.  Several studies have shown that there are no adverse effects from prophylactic gastropexy in otherwise healthy adult dogs

GDV most often affects middle-aged to older dogs.  Each year that a dog of high‐risk breed is alive, their risk for GDV increases dramatically.

GDV is fatal unless treated with emergency surgery, and even with the most advanced treatment some dogs will not survive. Due to the costs and risks associated with treatment for GDV, prophylactic gastropexy is often an attractive option in a young, healthy dog of a high‐risk breed.

Prophylactic gastropexy is often performed at the time of routine “spay” in young female dogs, though the incision is substantially longer than for the spay alone. It can also be performed in young male dogs at the time of neuter.