Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
My boy Seamus bloated up Tuesday after lunch and thankfully I was home to recognize the symptoms so we rushed him to the emergency vet where they untwisted his stomach and performed a gastropexy. I think we were lucky and caught it very quickly as the stomach was a nice pink color, there was no necrosis and the spleen appeared fine. He came home today and as you can imagine, I'm still in a bit of shock. I've always made sure my two don't eat until an hour after our walks and no play after meals. He'll be on pain meds for 7 days and a stomach coating (sulcrate) for 5.
What can I expect going forward? He'll be 4 in January but the emerg vet tech that he should still live a long life after this.
Has anyone's dog ever experienced GDV a second time after a gastropexy? This to me is my major worry. The surgeon said bloat is still possible but it wouldn't be life threatening because of the gastropexy.
My own precautions are mainly to follow the 'usual' recommendations. I certainly do not feed before or after excercise and am very cautious after a long and busy day out (be it show or work or travel) I let the dogs settle down before feeding and normally give a small smaller portions. I supervise amount of water they drink after strenuous excercise as they tend to gulp as much down to cool themselves and that is another risk. I do not feed immediately after they have been at the water bowl either.
Bloat & GDV could possibly be linked to tissue laxity and there are some theories around as to possible forms of inheritance. I have 'Marfan Syndrome' in mind... but have not got the time just now to discuss it. Will be back later!
Tracy that is very interesting reading. My last setter Dublin was always gassed up and grumbling. I could hear his stomach on the lower level of my house when he was upstairs. He would stop eating at least once or twice a week with this stomach problem. I would check him all the time and although he didn't bloat, I had this horrible feeling it was a matter of time. He was very deep chested compared to my other setters. In the end Epi got him but I always felt he was my bloat dog just waiting to happen. I stopped using a raised feeder after my Brittany. I had read it was recommended and then they switched that line of thinking and said nope drop the bowls to the floor again. And I did. For a while it seemed that it was back and forth on that idea. I have a cartoon in my head of my dog's bowl motorized going up, then down, up then down..... like catch the food if you can! I have left the bowl on the floor for the last two dogs. I do three to four small meals a day for my dog. He is happier when he is able to eat smaller amounts during the day and basically it means that he eats if he asks to eat other than his two a day meals. Which he usually asks about three to four times a day. With the last small snack type meal at bedtime and we use canned human grade meat with his kibble, which is what I was told was better for him than just a dry diet.
I have permission to crosspost this from a different list. The following was written by Martine Huslig, who is a genetic councelor for people. She owns & breeds Briards, a breed also knwon to be affected by GDV. She feels there is not just one answer to why dogs suffer GDV. Some cases GDV may actually follow a dominant inheritance pattern but this may not always become apparent due to the fact that actually suffering form GDV is a combination of genetic and enviromental effects. Some cases may simply be unlucky due to feeding regime or other factors.
Here is what she wrote:
"On my breed list I was speaking recently about how I believe that there may
be a primary gene "causing" GDV in certain lines but that Bloat/GDV was not
necessarily always genetic and was asked how could the same disease have
different causes... Below is my response---my big question is why so much
genetic research devoted to Hip Dysplasia and so little devoted to GDV?
Just because a condition is sometimes genetic does not mean that condition
is always genetic. And the same condition can have many different genetic
causes (and in some cases completely environmental causes.). In Aussies
there are both recessive and dominant forms of cataracts---plus there are
genetic changes that can happen through the process of aging that cause
cataracts---like cancer---if you live long enough you will get cataracts.
If cataracts are present in a OLD dog with no significant family history
then that is not a concern---why couldn't bloat work in the same way?
There is a condition in humans called Marfan syndrome---these people are
SUPER limber, tall, slender and are at risk to develop ruptures of the aorta
of their heart---that is the main blood vessel of the heart that takes all
of the blood to the lower part of the body---it is shaped like a candy cane
and being pounded many times a minute every day--- it can dissect open and
rupture. When they found the gene for Marfan syndrome they named it elastin
(like elastic---geneticists TRY to make things make sense.) And like
elastic---elastin was a part of the things in the body that needed to be
stretchy. People with Marfan have stretchy that is too stretchy which is
especially a problem in the aorta in their heart. Now if someone has
Marfan---they are FAR more likely to dissect their aorta---but people can
dissect their aorta even if they do not have Marfan syndrome---sometimes the
causes are genetic and sometimes they are environmental--- (John Ritter died
of an Aortic Dissection but did not have Marfan syndrome but did have a
dominant gene---there is an excellent explanation of these concepts on his
Foundation for Aortic Health
So----if you have ever had an OLD pair of elastic waist pants---you know
that sometimes that elastic gets stretchier and stretchier with age. One
concept I have about Bloat is that perhaps it has to do with the ligaments
that are responsible for holding the stomach in place---it makes sense to me
that these can become stretchy with age (sadly a few things about me are
becoming stretchy with age...) BUT---if an individual inherited a a gene
that made those particular ligaments MORE stretchy then hopefully you can
begin to see how a genetic predisposition might work. Like buying those
pants that were made with bad Elastic to begin with---they are going to give
out much more quickly but it may depend partly on what they are exposed
to---are they your favorite pair and you wear them every day or do they hang
in your closest most of the time...
---I QUITE literally JUST googled this concept of stretch ligament and and
it appears that Volvulus DOES occurs in humans and 2/3s occur because of
abnormal laxity in the ligament holding the
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/190750-overview#a0102 The other thing
that I was going to say (also mentioned in this link) is that some bloat
seems to be caused by an abnormality in how the stomach moves things along
(1/3 are caused by this per this link.) These stomach emptying issues could
give those ligaments a bigger workout and put more pressure on them (leading
ultimately to bloat and torsion.) So you can see that different issues
(stretchy ligament. OR prone to bloated stomach because the stomach does not
empty as effectively and causes the ligaments to stretch, OR wear and tear
of time and so they can become to stretchy with age...) can cause the same
result (bloat and torsion) and have different causes (makes sense that
stretchy ligaments and stomach emptying issues have ENTIRELY different
causes even though they have the same visible outcome ... bloat....)
So the dog from a high risk family can get lucky or have other factors and
not bloat or never bloat at all---(fat dogs are less likely to bloat for
instance because fat helps hold the stomach in place also.) A dog could
theoretically stress the system because of something he ate or drank that
caused a issue. That is why you cannot consider the possible genetics of a
condition without the context of the family history (Medical Genetic
Pedigree.) It is like looking at a puddle on the floor---you have no idea
why it might be there without context." end of quote Martine Huslig
Thank you for this, Susan. It is a well-reasoned argument that answers some of my questions.
I have had two bitches who have suffered GDV. They both bloated in completely different circumstances and after tearing myself apart with guily and worry I have come to the conclusion that we can only follow the guidelines to prevent bloat and live as worry free as we can with our beautiful dogs.
My first bitch was five years old and bloated one evening several hours after being fed and relaxing quietly at home. My wonderful vet operated very quickly, performed a gastroplexy and removed her spleen. She had an infection three days later which required a second operation but after lots of TLC she made a full recovery and died aged eleven of liver cancer.
My second episode of this dreadful condition was in July this year when my three year old bitch bloated one lunchtime. That morning she had been fed as usual and three hours later (I always wait 2-3 hrs) we set off for the beach where she had a wonderful time playing in the water - she runs through the water with her mouth open!! As we got back to the car she vomitted a large volume of water but otherwise seemed normal. A half hour car journey home during which she was quiet but once in the house she was agitated and wanted to drink large amounts - which I didn't let her do as that is one of the things I restrict to prevent bloat. She rushed around the house and garden before we noticed that she was bloating and rushed her straight to the vet. She too had a gastroplexy but retained her spleen and was home three days later and made a great recovery. Unfortunately she is now fighting oestosarcoma which has spread to her lungs - I am devastated but she is still in great spirits and we will support and love her every step of the way.
I hope that Seamus continues to make a full recovery and try not to worry too much - I know it is hard!!
Is that not part of the study you meant:
For the numbers, I posted previously are taken from the Purdue study and here it says that some 1914 dogs wer involved ...?
Thanks - I could not find them either - but some seem to be reprinted on other pages. This one here makes quite a read, especially for the Irish Setter:
The Bloodhound is included this time btw...
That 4.3% is definitely good news. Another study I found has a similar rate.
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/bloat.html quotes Meyer-Lindenberg A., Harder A., Fehr M., Luerssen D., Brunnberg L. Treatment of gastric dilatation-volvulus and a rapid method for prevention of relapse in dogs: 134 cases (1988-1991) Journal of the AVMA, Vol 23, No 9, Nov 1 1993, 1301-1307.
6% (4 dogs) that went home in good condition after having decompression and surgery had a second episode of bloat later in life. Unfortunately surgery is not defined so we can only guess if that is to untwist the stomach or untwisting and a gastropexy.
This link about Risk Factors for Canine Bloat http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=TUFTSBG2003&... was forwarded to me by the Veterinary Affairs Manager of Hills Pet Nutrition Australasia who is a vet. You will note this study contradicts the study posted by Tracy M.
I have owned English Setters for 21 years and a primary reason I chose a natural diet was because I believed this was the best feeding method to avoid GDV in addition to common sense practices e.g. the dog needs to live in a loving, stress free environment, a dog should not be exercised either prior to or after feeding, each dog is different, "one size does not necessarily fit all". None of my English Setters have suffered GDV until I went against my experience and trusted a vet who turned out to be negligent. This vet prescribed Prednisone to cure a minor skin problem. Hobson suffered a severe reaction to this drug. The vet advised me that the side effects were nothing of concern but he strongly insisted that Hobson's diet should be changed from a natural diet to a Hill's Vet Science z/d low allergen dried food diet to help him recover. I did not know this at the time but this vet formulated diet contains citric acid and harmful preservatives which are causes of GDV. The side effects of the drug, Prednisone are causes of GDV e.g. complete change in personality from a calm dog to a highly stressed, anxious dog, gulping down food, increased appetite and increased urination. As a consequence of this treatment, Hobson suffered GDV. It was fortunate that there was an emergency vet hospital where we live and they were on stand-by to treat Hobson within 30 minutes after he showed symptoms. Hobson was 6yo. He was in excellent health prior to this.
I will never feed Hills dried food diet again or any canine food containing preservatives.
Sue, when I walking my other IS this afternoon I was thinking to myself it would be interesting to know what the incidence of GDV was even further back, say 70-80 years ago. It's been a fitful 3 nights of sleep since Seamus has come home but now that he's feeling better I hope to actually sleep the whole night through.
1. Stress is considered a risk factor and a precipitating factor by Bell and is not considered a risk factor by Glickman.
2. Moistening dried food is considered a risk factor by Bell and not by Glickman e.g. Bell states: moistening dried food containing citric acid before feeding increases the risk of GDV by 320%.
I believe these 2 contradictions are important.
In addition Bell states that feeding dry-food diet is a risk factor. Glickman does not mention this. I believe this is also an important consideration.
I did not say that Bell contradicted every aspect of Glickman's study.
Hi Clarence, I hope your boy Seamus is continuing to recover. For reference to the discussion on the Purdue University Studies. I took the liberty of copying the documents from the website in 2009 when I came across them. I am always worriued about not being able to find them later when I want to go back and read again.
Anyway, there is a few articles all together in this word document that I copied them into. I hope these help the discussion.