Gastric dilatation-volvulus isn’t quite a genetic condition, but it is definitely worth mentioning when discussing German Shepherds. GDV is a type of illness that rapidly becomes a surgical emergency. Deep-chested breeds like the German Shepherd are more prone to developing it.
This is when the stomach becomes greatly distended or bloated due to lots of air, fluid, or food. The stomach can then flip backward on itself which occludes the openings on both ends. Thisvolvulus part of bloat is extremely dangerous because toxins build up in the wall of the stomach, causingnecrosis of the stomach wall and possible rupture of the stomach.
GDV patients will have difficulty breathing and appear extremely painful or uncomfortable, and owners may notice a large or distended abdomen. GDV is an immediate surgical emergency, and failure to intervene right away will increase the chances that a patient will not survive.
A preventive procedure known as agastropexy can be performed to tack the stomach to the abdominal wall so that the stomach cannot flip if bloat ever occurs.
German Shepherd dogs can help their humans with companionship and important life tasks, so it is important for us to help them when they are sick. Knowing the signs of various illnesses can help you quickly intervene, especially in cases like GDV where time is a critical factor.
When purchasing a German Shepherd, make sure to look for a reputable breeder who can ensure that many of the most common genetic diseases affecting German Shepherds have been eliminated from their breeding stock.