Skip to content Skip to footer

Let’s talk about something unpleasant. Not because we like to harass you, but because GDV is one of the most common causes of death in dogs and the quick reaction of the owner may save lives.

What is GDV?

Sometimes, the dog’s stomach swells and rotates. This rotation closes in the stomach food, liquids and gas, presses the blood vessels and the organs, blood support decreases and the dog may die very fast.

With fast and adequate reaction, usually by a surgical help, the stomach may return to its normal position.


The factors causing GDV aren’t completely known by the vets. Most often (but not always and not only) these may be:


In fearful dogs or at stressful situations like during fireworks, change of routine, loss of owner etc.

Bad eating habits:
Fast eating; eating or drinking immediately after or before physical activities, eating too much amounts etc.


  • Anatomical features in some breeds (large dogs, especially those with a narrow chest);
  • In dogs whose parents had GDV;

Most common in old dogs;


  • Feeding in small portions;
  • Eating at least an hour prior or after physical activities;
  • Avoiding stress


Anxious behavior, salivation;

Attends for vomiting, vomiting foam;

Darkening of the gums – at first it may be dark red, then violet-blue;

Belly swelling;
Increased pulse rate

GDV is an extremely urgent condition! If you notice one or more of the symptoms, do not hesitate and hurry to your vet. It is much better to raise false alarm, than to wait too long and loose the chance for survival of the dog.


Eva is about 10 years old and 9 of them she has spent with us. She is a fearful and shy dog and gets stressed easily by changes and new people.

One late evening, after the vets and most staff have already left the shelter, Indre, one of our dog carers noticed that Eva is roaming in her kennel.  Indre enters to check on her and sees that Eva is trying to vomit. All our dog carers are trained to inform the vets every time they see unusual behavior in a dog, so Indre immediately called Dr Polly Ilieva.

Of course, Dr Polly recognized the symptoms and Eva was quickly brought at Central Vet Clinic for surgery.
We are extremely grateful to Dr Ranko Georgiev and his team, who saved Eva’s life!

As GDV often recurs again, after a while Dr Polly made a preventive surgery – it is stitching the gut into one of the ribs and that way stopping it from further rotation.

Eva is now feeling well and back in her kennel in “The Farm”.

Photo credit: Ivanka Patterson Photography



ARS Animal Rescue Sofia © 2023. All Rights Reserved.