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GDV / Bloat / Torsion... Bramble survived - and is still going strong!

To end the year on a positive note, here is a new photograph of Bramble, taken on December 26th 2012. She is enjoying a sedate life as an old lady seven months after her emergency operation for gastric torsion. Bramble will be 13 years old in March. We are so thankful that she is still with us.

I know not all have been so fortunate, having lost their loved dogs to this dreadful disease. Thinking of all who have lost their four-legged friend too soon, whatever the reason. 

Dear 'Brambles' is coping very well with our new addition, 4 month old Annie. No way will Bramble share her bone or her dinner with the little upstart!!!  (Tell you the truth it is thanks to Annie that Bramble eats up her dinners so nicely... :-))


previously: on 28th May 2012

I hope all Setter owners know about this life threatening emergency: Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) also referred to as bloat, torsion. We have just been through the experience with Bramble, our 12 year old Irish Setter bitch and we are extremely fortunate that she is one of the lucky ones: Bramble has survived! 8 days after the emergency op on a Saturday night she is steadily improving.

Our experience had a happy outcome but it could so easily have gone very badly wrong. To avoid this happening to anyone else, here is our story:

At 8pm on Saturday May 19th my father realised something was badly wrong with Bramble. Bramble usually lives with him since the death of his old girl Ginger a couple of years ago. He phoned the emergency vet number and was told the vet on duty was three villages away. He contacted them saying he suspected GDV (having lost a dog many years ago to this condition he knew the signs) and took Bramble in. The emergency vet confirmed the suspicion... and said he could not operate!!!

It was now 9 pm. Bramble is 12 years old... did we want to operate? Yes, Bramble had no serious health issues at the time. We wanted to try to save her and her vital signs showed there was still a chance. BUT this vet could not operate, not having the necessary help available. We al know with GDV every second counts...   

My father was then told to drive 1 hour to a clinic where they would try to save Bramble's life. After searching for the clinic my father finally got there after 10 pm with Bramble in a very serious condition in the back of the car. We were lucky, Bramble was successfully operated on and after three days of being critically ill we were were finally allowed to pick her up. From then on she is steadily improving and we hope she can share a bit more time with us.

What really shocked me was that despite my father telling the emergency vet that he suspected GDV, he was not sent immediately to a clinic who could actually operate!

Please, all setter owners, make sure you know where your closest emergency vet is who can operate on GDV. Check before there is an emergency and make sure you know where the clinic is to avoid losing your way in an emergency, possibly at night. Ask you vet before the emergency occurs!!! You may be able to save your dog's life.

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Ellen, great to hear of your boy Paddy! He proved that even at 12 years it is still worth the effort of trying, I am sure as with Bramble his time was just not yet up!


Thought it might help to know as Paddy was the same age as Bramble and he made a great recovery even the vet was surprised, dont think some vets know how much are setters will fight to stay with us

Oh my goodness Susan!! I had no idea when you wrote to me about Jack that Bramble had been through such an ordeal...am so glad that she survived but it must have been a terribly worrying time for you, do really hope she is with you for many more happy walks and thank you for sharing this. I will certainly check with my vet!!

Good to hear Dotty made it despite the complications!

Bramble is getting better day by day and insists she must have raw minced beaf daily from now on... ;-)  

There go my holidays... ;-)

Thanks, Cornelia, your clinic may even have been closer for my father than the one he was sent to. But I expect the vets have some kind of agrrement over which areas they cover in emergency and which clinic they work with. Still, I would expect better from the emergency service of the area.

As to emergency number en route, I find the one most efficient way of finding a vet is to ask the next dog owner you see on the road! It has always worked for us though thank god we have never had a true emergency. Obviously when staying somewhere for a week I make sure I have the local vet's contact on my mobile phone.

Oh, Bramble, you are lucky girl in such a danger. I wish you a quick recovery

Oh poor Bramble!!! I am so glad that she is on the mend! Zum Glück hat dein Vater die Zeichen schnell erkannt! Aber das euch der erste Tierarzt nicht gleich informiert hat macht mich nachdenklich ...

I made sure all the veterinary practices in my area, including my own, could carry out emergency surgery for GDV.  I agree, you cannot afford to waste time travelling with this condition.

Well done Bramble for getting through it at your tender age and good luck with all that best beef!!

What a dreadful experience but the outcome was positive- speedy recovery Bramble.

Thank you all for your comments and good wishes. Bramble continues to thrive on tasty meals... hubby will be complaining soon!!!

Happy for your father, Bramble and you...




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