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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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I'm glad your dog has recovered.  We lost our male 4 years ago to it.  He had  IHMA and was in doggy ICU at a specialty hospital when it happened.  Because of the IHMA, there was nothing that could be done but help him over the Bridge.  A few months later, our female bloated.  Luckily, her stomach did not torse.  We had to take her in on a Sunday to an emergency clinic where they were able to take care of the bloat.  The following day, we took her in to her primary care giver and discussed what we could do to prevent another incident.  We had a gastropexy done on her. So, now even if she bloats, her stomach won't torse.

Very sorry to read of your experience, Judith. I know that in Bloodhounds some owners actually opt for gastropexy even before anything happens, just because the breed is so prone to torsion. Good to hear your girl is doing ok, Bramble is also still going strong!

Our dog Rover died today from GDV. He was also 12 years old. We are really sad...

I am really sorry , Corrine....this is devastating news ...I am thinking of you xxxxx

My prayers are with you.

I am so sorry Corinne,my thoughts are with you.

I am so terribly sorry to hear of your Rover, Corinne. It is such a tragic way to lose a dog and I feel for you. All I can say is that with time the shock will ease and you will be able to remember all the happy times you had over those 12 years of him sharing your life. Thinking of you.


Dear old Bramble is doing well except for the usual signs of old age. It is now 4 months since GDV and her big op and I am so happy she is still with us. She will get an extra cuddle now...

So very sorry Corinne, my thoughts are with you.

Dear Susan, I'm so happy to hear Bramble is doing well! So sorry for all of you who lost their dogs because of GDV. My thoughts are with you. I have tears in my eyes just by reading your stories. 

Flora had GDV almost 9 months ago on 31th of December 2011. She was lucky because that evening the vet on duty (it was 6PM) was a surgeon and within an hour the vet called the rest of the team, so Flora was operated quickly. Nevertheless from the time I brought her to the vet and the actual operation was about 1,5 hours and it seemed like forever!! Now, almost 9 months lates, she is doing excellent. No scars whatsoever. The surgery seems like a nightmare I don't want to remember. 

Read and remeber the signs!! Keep your dogs close to you.  

Thank you very much for all your kind messages!! Hope Bramble will spend long and healthy life near you.

I've just added  an update on Bramble, 28 Dec 2012.

Susan I have tears running down my cheeks, it was your discussion that prompted me to check with the vet I had now moved near in the country if they could confidently preform GDV surgery. I was told definitely they will call a team in and operate straight away. They were USELESS!!! Slamming cupboards looking for a tube to get the gas out, on phones trying to get help but no one came and the whole time I'm saying why didn't I turn left out of my drive and make the trip to our AEC one and half hours away. And all of this at 3am on a Saturday morning. The only god send I had and to this day was that my daughter has veterinary experience, she calmed me helped get the gas out, through us in the car and reassured me he has just enough time to hopefully make the trip to AEC. The vet also commended me.....yes commended me that I was so good to pick it was bloat before she begrudgingly did an xray to confirm it!!! Our AEC is state of the art and after four hours surgery we could see him, it was so hard to look at flame as the surgery is so aggressive but like you too Susan I'm slowing and flame too pulling ourselves back together and trying to put in behind us. I'll never, ever go to a local vet for an emergency ever again. I also now know some of the signs but honestly bloat obviously doesn't always present its self the same. So Susan to you and Bramble and gosh she looks so well, I wish you a happy new year with your much loved Irish and that you too never experience this dreaded condition again. Take care Dianne, Flame, Ruby and Poppy x




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