Medical and Surgical Considerations Regarding Bloat

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus Syndrome in the Bloodhound...by Dr. John Hamil

Of the approximately 1,300,000 dogs registered annually by the AKC only 1500 are bloodhounds. Consequently, most veterinarians will see only a few in their practice lifetime. This brochure is offered by the American Bloodhound Club in an attempt to educate the owners of bloodhounds about the life-threatening nature of this complex syndrome as well as to familiarize veterinarians with some of the peculiarities of our breed and a protocol which has been employed successfully in treating GDV syndrome.

Definition: this is an acute life-threatening condition which initiates complex cardiovascular and metabolic changes that result in high mortality following dilatation and rotation of the stomach on its long axis.

CONCERN: Early recognition of the signs of GDV and immediate veterinary attention will greatly improve survival rate. Only if veterinary care is not accessible should the owner attempt to tube or trocarize the dog, although this may be life saving if you must travel a great distance.

CAUSE: Unkown. Probably multifactorial. No age or sex predilection. The bloodhound's size, deep chest, frequent ingestion of foreign material, and genetic predisposition make them common victims of this condition. GDV syndrome is seen primarily in large deep chested breeds and, although heritability has not been proven, does seem to be more prevalent in certain lines. This syndrome is often associated with ingestion of large meals and drinking water, post feeding exercise, following general anesthesia, stress (boarding, traveling, showing, breeding, trailing, etc. ) ingestion of foreign bodies, and gastroenteritis with vomition.

SIGNS: The observant owner may notice the early vague signs of restlessness, pacing, lethargy, dull, vacant or painful expression, and/or shallow respiration. Repeated measurements around the abdomen at the level of the last rib with a cloth measuring tape will demonstrate early increases in abdominal size if you are in doubt. Every owner should be able to recognize the more sever signs of unresponsiveness, unproductive retching, salivation, arched back, anterior abdominal pain, abdominal distention, abdominal tenseness, pale mucus membranes (eyes and mouth), weak pulse, blue-gray mucus membranes, weakness, inability to stand, moribund appearance, and, with endotoxic shock, red injected mucus membranes and rapid capillary refill time.

RULE OUTS: Small intestinal volvulus, splenic torsion, gastric or intestinal foreign body, intussesception, peritonitis, cardiomyopathy, or pleural effusion. Bloodhounds are predisposed to both dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They are very likely to ingest foreign objects and seem to be susceptible to intussusception.

DIAGNOSIS: Signalment, history, clinical signs, xray in right lateral recumbency if not in shock or after decompression, this position may show the pylorus and duodenum dorsal to the cardia.

THERAPY: If in shock, decompress immediately by gastric tube, or if necessary, by trocharization with multiple 16-18 gauge needles at the point of greatest distention or perform temporary gastrostomy in right paracostal area, if necessary. If possible have assistants establish IV and initiate treatment for shock simultaneously. If assistant is not available, decompress first, then follow remainder of protocol.

If not in shock try to pass lubricated stomach tube marked at distance from nose to last rib. If unable to pass stomach tube, stand dog on rear legs and "bounce" up and down. if still unable to pass tube in sitting position, trocarize, if still unsuccessful take to surgery immediately after establishing IV and administering medication.

If not in shock or after decompression, take blood, urine, and xrays.

  • place IV catheter (multiple if needed for severe shock)
  • start IV LRS (50 cc/lb rapid IV infusion for first hour)
  • give corticosteroids (500 mg Soludelta cortef IV) for endotoxic shock
  • flunixin meglumine (one time 0.5 mg/lb IV) for endotoxic shock
  • gentamycin (1 mg/lb) or cephalothin sodium (10 mg/lb) in initial fluids
  • sodium bicarbonate (2 meq/lb in initial fluids) if suspect metabolic acidosis
  • metoclopramide (10 mg SQ) improves gastric emptying and antiemetic
  • ranitidine (1 mg/lb IV every 8 hours)
  • start ECG and cardiac medications (60 mg lidocaine in initial fluids) for expected arrhythmias, give additional lidocaine as needed (1 mg/lb IV bolus)
  • pass stomach tube and lavage stomach removing all content, give coative with simethicone. Take to surgery as soon as possible, particularly if digested blood or mucosal shreds are found in stomach content.
  • Monitor intensively for cardiac complications until surgery, usually within 4-6 hours, some surgeons prefer to wait until the next day. When stable, hopefully with cardiac signs normal, perform permanent abdominal wall gastropexy. Although patient is not as critical at this time, all precautions must be taken:
  • Add 60 mg of lidocaine to initial fluids
  • Induce anesthesia with Propofol, Numorphan, Ket/Val, etc. (no barbiturates or nitrous oxide)
  • Intubate and inflate cuff
  • Maintain on isoflurane or halothane 1-2 %
  • Lead 2 EKG monitoring
  • Careful on incising linea due to presence of distended stomach or spleen
  • If markedly distended, decompress stomach with 16-18 gauge needle and suction before trying to derotate.
  • Remember stomach usually rotates from right to left with pylorus passing ventrally to rest dorsally on left side above the cardia. Always determine position prior to derotation and be gentle, as stomach wall may be friable particularly on greater curvature near cardia. Standing on the right side of the patient in dorsal recumbency, reach across the stomach and elevate the pylorus while pushing the body of the stomach down and away from you, thereby reducing the usual clockwise rotation. If devitalized, excise and close with a 2-layer inverting pattern with 2-0 PDS. Try not to open stomach if it can be avoided.
  • have assistant pass stomach tube, empty and lavage stomach.
  • Inspect spleen for infraction or thrombosed vessels. Splenectomy if necessary. Always ligate close to spleen.
  • Permanent abdominal wall gastropexy (Circumcostal, belt loop, or muscle flap).
  • Inspect abdomen. Look for torsed intestinal mesenteries. Resect if necessary.
  • Standard abdominal closure.
  • Continue cardiac monitoring post operatively until fully recovered from anesthesia.
  • If lidocaine drip fails to control VPC's:
  • Give 3-10 mg/lb quinidine deep IM
  • Give 375 mg oral pronestyl every 6 hours
  • May need 500 mg oral Procan-S-R every 8 hours
  • If patient experiences tachycardia with rate over 200 bpm
  • Give 1/2 mg Inderal IV and monitor return to normal rate. Can repeat as needed up to 3 mg total dose.

POST-OP:

  • NPO for 12 hours
  • Tepid water and warm ID gruel tid for 4-5 days, should eat within 24 hours, if not suspect ileus, possibly due to intussesception.
  • Canned ID or dry ID soaked in warm water
  • 500 mg oral Keflex bid for 7 days
  • 10 mg oral cisapride bid for 3 days (same effects as metoclopramide except not antiemetic plus stimulates motility in small and large intestine)
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs as needed tapered in 7-10 days
  • Recheck, including EKG in 7 days
  • Sutures out at 10-14 days

PREVENTION:

  • Feed 2-4 times daily
  • Soak dry kibble in hot water for 5-10 minutes prior to feeding
  • Limit exercise and water consumption for one hour after eating
  • Prophylactic gastropexy if relatives have been affected (disadvantage in trying to evaluate breeding potential)
  • Add simethicone to food

REFERENCES:

  • Current Techniques in Small Animal Surgery, 3rd ed. Bograb, M. JosephLea and Febiger 1990 Philadelphiapp. 224-231Dimensions in Surgery Lippincott, Larry and Schulman, Alan Surgical Case Report: Protocol for the Gastric Dilatation Volvulus Syndrome Pulse, Journal of the Southern California Veterinary Medical AssociationHandbook of Small Animal Practice Morgan, Rhea V.Churchill Livingstone 1988 New Yorkpp. 385-393Pathophysiology in Small Animal Surgery Bojrab, M. JosephLea & Febiger 1981 Philadelphiapp. 107-111Small Animal Gastroenterology, 2nd ed. Stombeck, Donald R. And Guilford, W. GrantStonegate Publishing 1990 Davis Capp. 224-241

    Textbook of Small Animal Surgery, Vol. 1 Slatter, Douglas H.W.B Saunders Co. 1985 Philadelphiapp. 688-695

This material distributed by the American Bloodhound Club. Presented as a supplement to The American Bloodhound Club Bulletin. Printed in memory of "CH. BE-COZ NATHAN" Courtesy of Martha Brody.