Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Prophylactic Gastropexy

Update on the bloat. I call my regular vet, and he proposes doing a larthroscopic prophylactic gastropexy. Got that?

Basically this is an operation where the surgeon uses some kind of microscope thingy to look in the stomach area. They grab the stomach, and basically staple it to the body wall. The idea is that while the dog may bloat again, his stomach can't turn over and kill him. While its initially stapled, over time the tissue grows together and the stomach becomes permanently attached to the body wall.

I've already had 2 dogs die of bloat/torsion, so its a no brainer to get this done. Here's the catch: the cost is $1263.

Well I went ahead and got it done. Once a dog has bloated, and Tony is only 3, chances are very high they're going to bloat again. Next time I might not be so lucky and get him to the vet on time.

The surgery was scheduled and I dropped him off at 7 AM. Everything went smoothly and I picked him up and took him home the same night. Instructions were relatively simple, keep him quiet and don't let him romp around for 21 days. Kind of hard since I've got 4 dogs.

The first night after the surgery he was quite groggy. They gave me some pain meds that would last about a week, and let me tell you the first week was kind of rough. His belly got kind of swollen and he was just acting "under the weather" the whole time. I was worried something had gone wrong, but then he started pulling out of it. By about 2 weeks time, he was getting back to his old self.

If you are considering getting prophylactic gastropexy, I strongly advise it if you've got a large dog prone to bloat. Generally this includes breeds like Great Danes, Boxers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, etc. and to a lesser extent labrador retrievers and the like. It is expensive, but its alot cheaper than surgery for torsion and better than risking the sudden death of your dog.

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