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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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So glad that Bramble is recovering well;o) You were very lucky that she made it, with the time delay!! A strong girl;o))

Seems you are well named Bramble. Tough and sweet. Thank goodness you are OK. Best wishes to your dad it must have a been a horrible drive. Closest 24 hour emergency hospital is on the fridge magnet. Tick.

Poor Bramble, I am glad she has made it through, but I wouldn't ever go back to that vet again. How awful.  Hope you continue to recover well dear Bramble x

I agree with Fran, I would never use that vet again.

Glad dear old Bramble is recovering from her surgery.

I feel sorry for your poor dad, it was quite a ordeal for him too!

Glad Bramble is recovering, you both must of gotten a huge scare. 

So glad to see Bramble able to go for a walk again! You must be so grateful to your father for finally finding the right vet in time! I hope she continues to improve!

Thank you for your kind messages, it was certainly an ordeal for my father and for myself, especially those critical days after the operation when the body may still react adversely to the shock/toxins. Today Bramble seems on the mend but at this age it will be a slow healing process. I am really astonished how well she is coping.

Our experience just goes to show that even if we KNOW the signs of bloat/torsion and react quickly - and get to the vet fast it is still of little use if the vet is unable to help...

Rhonda is right: best to have the number of a 24hour emergency vet available at all times and know how to get there!

keep fingers crossed that everything stays well, sweet Bramble !!

So very happy Bramble is recovering, steadily but surely!!!  What a scary week for you and your father! so happy to read this happy ending and wish Bramble a very swift recovery. Many thanks for this great advice Susan, I knew my vet can operate but assumed he could operate almost everything... so I definitely take your warning very seriously and just phoned my vet to make sure. As you mentioned, I insisted that if something like that could happen, I do not wish to loose the precious time at visiting a vet who cannot operate, as it may cost the life of my dog. May be Bramble will save some of our dogs  :-)

Thank you Chantal. I think this site is invaluable for sharing this kind of experience and if our story helps save one dog from the dreaded condition then I am thankful.

Time is paramount when dealing with GDV but we must still be aware that even getting the dog to the vet in time can never guarantee the outcome of the operation. The first 48 hours after the op are critical and you really never know how each individual will cope.

Here's wishing everyone's setters long and healthy lives!!!


Back on her walks, dear Bramble, hope she continues to improve and make a good recovery.

Glad Bramble is doing well it's a very worring time at least she's home and can be spoiled, my last boy Paddy suddenly bloated when he was 12, took him straight to vet was there about 20mins after i noticed, the one vet wanted to put him to sleep said he wouldn't survive the night, the operation or the anaesthetic, i insisted they tried he survived made a great recovery was with me for another 18months, so glad i insisted




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