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Considering Gastropexy

bloat risk

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#1 ScoobyDizzyDoo



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Posted 08 December 2016 - 05:52 PM



I'm new to this forum.


3 nights ago, I noticed my Great Dane Scooby walking around with his head lowered, then he was coughing or retching and I noticed abdomen behind the ribs swollen somewhat. I bundled him into the car and drove straight to my local vet (25minutes drive), he recommended I got to another nearby vet, which I did, (20 minutes) in a state of fear and panic, as Scooby's abdomen was at this stage larger and he was clearly in distress. Luckily, the vet saw him almost immediately and did a decompression and gave two litres of fluid, pain killers and an x-ray. His heart was at 200bpm. Within half an hour, the heart was at 130 and we moved Scooby again to a hospital (30 minutes) for emergency surgery which was to take place if Scooby's heart was deemed up to it. Luckily, there was no torsion and he improved dramatically overnight, the ECG being unremarkable and his heart rate about 80-90 and being relaxed and happy. I brought him home as the out of hours clinic has use of a university vet facility until early morning. He continued to improve all day and the next day. A check-up at 48 hours showed he was well, normal pulse, perfusion, hydrated etc.


So, now I'm waiting to have a scan of his heart to check if he has any issues (cardiomyopathy seems to be the worry) and then to decide if he should have the pexy. If his heart is ok, I have a choice to make.


Any help form experienced dane owners would be much appreciated. I'm naturally averse to surgery for both humans and animals (this is from first hand experience of negative results of same) and just need some help with making the decision. My vet thinks it should be done asap and quotes recurrence rates of 80%. I just want to do the best thing obviously. Favouring the surgery but going mad reading differing accounts.


Many thanks in advance. PS he is 7.5 or 8years was a rescue so not 100pc certain

#2 Hazel



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Posted 09 December 2016 - 06:52 AM

The vets should have explained to you that a 'pexy will not prevent bloat; it only prevents a torsion.


I had Duffy 'pexied because he had a torsion as well and they had to open him up to sort it out.  I wouldn't have had it done otherwise, and I haven't elected to have any of my other Danes done - it is major abdominal surgery after all.  Duffy was a very nervy dog, had had a stressful few days, and the chances are that triggered the GDV.  He didn't bloat again.


Let us know how Scooby gets on with his scan, and what you decide.



#3 MikeD



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Posted 10 December 2016 - 09:28 PM

It's a tricky decision.


When we had Saffy spayed at two years old we opted for keyhole surgery for a faster recovery. The vet asked if we'd like her to have a gastropexy at the same time, and we said no.


Five years later she had emergency surgery for bloat and torsion. The vet asked if we'd like her to have a gastropexy at the same time and we said yes.



#4 Beckyy



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Posted 13 December 2016 - 02:56 PM

Our Duke had exactly the same experience/situation as Hazel's Duffy.


7.5 is quite old for a Dane. If you're usually with him all the time and have easy access to a good vet i personally wouldn't as it's big surgery and doesn't prevent bloat, however that's only my two pence. Best of luck!

#5 ScoobyDizzyDoo



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Posted 18 December 2016 - 09:11 PM

Thank you very much for taking time to advise on this.


Scooby is doing really well, and I have done a lot of thinking and researching. He is on a diet of very lightly cooked/raw chicken breast, tuna steak or lamb/beef mince in the morning, (all room temperature) away from the other dogs, and then a rest. He gets brown rice with vegetables and goose/duck fat at lunch time and another small feed of meat and rice/eggs/oil/veg in the evening. All now being fed from the ground. Water (also room temperature) intake and exercise all established in a more suitable routine. His metabolism is coming around; I will be cutting back when he gets back to his normal weight (he lost condition after the shock of the bloat/vet visits etc). I'm confident he will be ok on this regime. I had been feeding him dried food once a day with five other dogs all looking to be fed as well. Asking for trouble.


So no need for surgery. I am around him all day and feel he is better off now than ever as I'm more informed.


Very happily surprised at how helpful and genuinely supportive all the small animal vets I spoke to were. My experience with the large animal vets has been different and so through this whole episode I now have more faith in vets, although I would take the advice of an experienced owner/trainer/breeder/handler before  a vet any day, as I have always done with the horses.


If you could see him now, the way he is looking at me - and less drooling/slobber since the new diet. Mind you, every time I move, he thinks it's more food on the way. He is now doing a yoga stretch. I have resumed his physio/massage to get him to stretch out too. Must get some more stride.


Anyway, it's good to share these things. Many thanks again for the support.



#6 dogtag



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Posted 19 January 2017 - 07:05 AM

Thought I'd chime in;

My Wife and I own and operate a 24/7 emergency clinic in a major West Coast City.  

We also own 7 Great Danes who all live in the House.   Most are rescues and most are train wrecks.

People drop them off or breeders drop them off to be put down but we bring them home and let them stay as long as they can.

Some are blind or deaf or have Wobblers.   Doesn't matter.   They get a good home, good food and medical care and are typically spoiled rotten.

We also have  two full time staff members at our Ranch who cater to their needs and maintain the partitioned and double fenced 20 acres for them to run and play.

We've had one Dane last 14.5 years and two others last 13.5 years.   We watch them like a hawk and they get a full work up

at any signs of sickness.   We've also been lucky.

As far as pexy goes,  any surgery is risky but with as many Danes as we've owned over the years it seems to be the number one killer next to cancer.

No rhyme no reason to it.   We take all the precautions but,  still,  it happens.

We have elected to pexy all of our Danes as we live three hours drive from the clinic.   We were going to retire in 2008 and live happy ever after

at our ranch but that's another story.  We are still operating and may even expand next year.

Bloats accompanied by Torse is a killer.   You may only have a half hour to a few hours to save your animal.   Once the blood is cut off to the

Stomach the animal is pretty much unsaveable.  

We realize this and we do not have any surgeons on call.   If you have to call in a surgeon,  you might as well save your money.

All of our Docs must be able to do a bloat surgery to get hired.  We actually make them prove it with a supervised case.

We perform at last count at least 30 bloats a year but we're a pretty large Hospital.   Out of the ones we perform,  we have a pretty good track record

if the Dog is brought in on time.

It all depends how long the blood has been cut off by the torse.  

Pexy can be done endoscopicly if the Hospital is equipped.   We have an endoscope but sometimes that is a gamble.  We usually do the tack the same time we neuter.

last year we lost one of our guys because when the pexy was done,  it was the bowel that got tacked instead of the stomach.   It can happen.

The old fashion way is still the best as far as results but the risk of surgery is a bit higher.

We explain that and let the owner make the decision depending on the state of the dog when they are brought in.  If the dog is older We usually opt to using the endoscope.

So, I'm not recommending pexy with this post,  I'm just trying to provide more information in hopes it will aid you in your decision.

We have had over 36 Great Danes live at our Ranch over the last 20 years and have had seven bloat and have saved five of them.

It just seems to be a curse of larger dogs.

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