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What causes a dog's stomach to flip?

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Quick Answer

PetMD explains that a dog's stomach can flip along its short axis when it experiences gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome, or GDV. The cause of this disease, also commonly known as gastric torsion, is unknown. However, genetics, the dog's body type and environmental causes have all been linked to an increased chance of developing GDV.

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Full Answer

Trupanion notes that bloat is often a precursor to gastric torsion, although bloat can occur without the stomach turning. Common causes of bloat include rapid eating after exercise, drinking large amounts of water before or after eating and eating foods with high fat content. Stress can also cause bloat that leads to torsion.

Certain breeds of large dogs with deep chests, such as Great Danes, Boxers and Collies, are at a higher risk for developing GDV, according to WebMD. However, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds and other smaller, deep-chested breeds can also be affected. Older to middle-aged dogs are also at a higher risk.

According to WebMD, mortality rates for dogs with GDV are close to 50 percent. Early symptoms of bloat and possible torsion include dry vomiting, salivation and restlessness. The dog's stomach may be tender to the touch and may be slightly enlarged. The disease progresses quickly, often causing the dog to go into shock. For this reason, if any symptoms of bloat or GDV are present, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

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