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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15596
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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In October of 2011 my then ten year old Lab Moose had an episode

Customer Question

In October of 2011 my then ten year old Lab Moose had an episode of bloat and his stomach twisted. He was admitted to the hospital was treated and had the gastropexy procedure, he had been fine since that time and had no additional bloat episodes that we know of.
My question is are there any complications from the treatment/procedure that could affect his breathing and or heart function? Is it possible that the stomach could be shifted and pressing on the organs without it being a new case of bloat? Are there any problems with adhesion's associated with the gastropexy procedure?
He recently has had breathing issues - heavy panting for no reason which only lasts a short time and coughs as if to clear his throat/lungs? I took hm to be examined last week and when they were taking x-rays it seemed to cause his breathing to get worse when they positioned him on his back, his tongue started to turn blue. He can however roll over on his own to scratch his back with no problem, he did it several times this past weekend and he was quite comfortable and happy doing it. The difficulty seems to be when he is forced into a position on his side and back. My vet took blood and he is having a sonogram of his heart this afternoon.
Thank you
Shelby
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.
Hi Shelby,

Welcome. I'm Dr. Bruce and I've been a small animal veterinarian for over 12 years. Thank you for your question.

I copied some of your post here to help me address each component:

-My question is are there any complications from the treatment/procedure that could affect his breathing and or heart function? There shouldn't be any long term complication from a GDV procedure / gastropexy that would affect breathing or heart function. Basically the basis of the procedure is to tack a portion of the stomach to the abdominal wall where it adheres and then can't rotate in the future. If this tack is not done well, it can break down and let the stomach be mobile again. But it shouldn't cause any heart or breathing issues.

-Is it possible that the stomach could be shifted and pressing on the organs without it being a new case of bloat? It shouldn't shift around if the tack is good. Some can have the tack in a position that may make outflow of ingesta from the stomach reduced. Some can have motility issues due to other reasons that may make them bloat, but not rotate.

-Are there any problems with adhesion's associated with the gastropexy procedure? Theoretically the only adhesions are at the actual tack site which is what is desired. This fixes the stomach there. But, could there be adhesions to the actual incision line on the abdominal way by other tissues? Yes. But, this isn't something that is a big risk.

-He recently has had breathing issues - heavy panting for no reason which only lasts a short time and coughs as if to clear his throat/lungs? This shouldn't be associated with the previous GDV procedure. I would say that the cardiac work up in his case is going to help shed more light on this.

Please let me know what questions I can focus on more. I'm hoping that the study reveals his issue and he responds to therapy.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Would chest x-rays and sonogram of the heart show any signs of bloat? My vet is out of the office and the person handling his case doesn't seem to think that his current condition would have anything to do with bloat. The only reason I'm concerned is that after he bloated (during an ice storm and he couldn't be seen that night) he was fine the next day but I took him in for an exam anyway. He had the surgery two days after the episode and I was told his stomach must have twisted and then twisted back to its original position. I'm wondering if it's possible for the stomach to continue going back and forth?

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.
X-rays would be the best diagnostic tool for looking for bloat. Clinically bloat is seen by abdominal distention. Bloat is very obvious by this distention of the abdomen when it is clinical enough to cause any outward signs. I'll be honest and say that if a stomach twists, it is not absolutely impossible for it to untwist. But, it is extremely unlikely that it would go back and forth. In my experience, when it twists and the abdomen becomes distended, it is not going to undo itself. Some can have pure bloat - distention of the stomach and this isn't the same as a twisted stomach / GDV. That is when the actual stomach rotates on itself.
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15596
Experience: 15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
Dr. Bruce and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just got the report on the heart sonogram, heart looks good, gall bladder slightly enlarged. They want to wait for thyroid results at this point.


 


Thank you for your help and quick and thorough explanation.

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.
I'm glad that the report on the heart sonogram was that positive. Please let me know if any further questions come up down the road. I'm hoping for the best for Moose! I love that name!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your help.


Shelby


PS his registered name is East Coast Moose on the Loose

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the very kind accept Shelby. I again am hoping for the best for this big guy. If it is ok with you, I'll send a follow up in a week to see how things are going. Give him a good head and ear scratching for me! That is such a cool name. If any questions come up that I can possibly help with, feel free to ask. Take care!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you that would be great. If I learn anything unusual I will let you know.

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.
I got the reminder set up! Do let me know if anything comes up before then!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Dr. Bruce


The blood work came back normal with the exception of very low thyroid, he has been put on medication twice a day for about 2 weeks now. In the interim he developed what appears to be kennel cough, (my other dogs had symptoms as well) and has been on the medication for about a week. His breathing difficulties seem to be getting worse when he remains in a standing position and/or gets excited. He is fine when he is laying down. Does the low thyroid create breathing issues? He also appears to clear his throat quite a lot. If it is the thyroid how long does it take for the medication to alleviate symptoms? Are there any diet suggestions for low thyroid? He is on a good quality dry senior feed and get's Cosequin every day.


thanks


Shelby

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.
Hi Shelby!

Thanks for the update on Moose. A low thyroid level shouldn't cause breathing issues. But, in saying that, low thyroid levels can sometimes have some unexpected effects on various systems of the body. The thyroid supplementation should help its issues in a few days. There is no specific food / diet for hypothyroid dogs, unless weight loss is to be achieved. I would keep him on his current diet. I would expect his breathing issues to be more due to the kennel cough. Sometimes that can rankle a couple weeks to get over. When he breaths harder due to activity or excitement, it stimulates the tracheal tissue. I hope he's feeling better soon.

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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce
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15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian