Splenectom Survey

As the owner of a Great Dane, you are no doubt aware of 'gastric dilation 'or 'gastric dilatation and volvulus' (GDV), which is a life-threatening condition whereby the stomach becomes twisted and full of air. The signs that you as an owner see are the bloating and attempts to vomit, however secondary to these obvious gut signs are circulatory problems which are the real-killer. Immediate veterinary attention involving stabilisation and emergency surgery are required to correct the twist. A UK study looking at data over the past 10-years showed GDV to the cause of death in 18% of Great Danes that had died over the period. Together with other studies it has been shown that even amongst at-risk dogs, Great Danes sadly have one of the highest morbidities at 42.4% (likelihood of suffering from the condition) and mortalities 12.6% (likelihood of ultimately dying from it).

Rounded square

Why does GDV occur?

There is still an incomplete understanding as to which factors are likely to increase the risk of your pet developing a GDV. However currently it is known that being a Great Dane, having a first-degree relative that has had a GDV and being of a nervous or fearful temperament are specific risk-factors that're likely to increase the chances of having a GDV. At the Animal Health Trust we are also wanting to investigate whether a dog that has previously had his/her spleen removed ('splenectomy') is more likely to subsequently develop a GDV. Currently, there is little evidence to support this theory and it has been proven to be incorrect in small and large breed dogs. However, investigations in giant breed dogs including the Great Dane are lacking. The purpose of the study which we are running is to document information from owners which may help us to prove or disprove a link between splenectomy and GDV.

How is this relevant in to my dog?

Because of the theoretical risk of developing GDV after splenectomy, some vets will secure the stomach to the body wall ('gastropexy') during the same surgery as a splenectomy. This is associated with a very low risk of complications, but does increase the surgical and anaesthetic time, which may also increase risk in an ill /old /unstable dog. If there is no increased risk of GDV following splenectomy, this procedure is unnecessary. Current recommendations for surgeons are therefore varied because of the
paucity of evidence.

How you can help?

The authors of this very brief survey would be extremely grateful if you would be willing to take the time (a few minutes) to fill out the following short-answer questions about your pet. We hope that the results will help us to better inform veterinary surgeons around the world in preventing this frustrating condition. Even if your dog has not suffered from any of the problems described above, or is deceased, your response in the questionnaire would provide useful information for us to compare to, so do please still fill it out.

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.

Get Flash Player