German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,372 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I want to have an elective gastropexy done on Seger. My vet is referring me out due to his age (6 years) saying there are more complications due to his age.

Has anyone had this done as an elective on an older dog?
What complications did you see?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Yes, and it was a nightmare, not because of our GSD's age (he was 5), but because of the way the surgery was done. Do not let them do this laparoscopically on your dog! The vet admitted that he overinflated our dog's abdomen with carbon dioxide during the laparoscopic pexy. Two things happened. Our dog was in agony for two days after the pexy. Worse, the excessive distention likely stretched or tore some of his internal structures. About two months after the pexy, he developed mesenteric torsion, probably because of the pexy and the stretched/torn structures. Bloat is often survivable if you get to the vet in time. Mesenteric torsion almost never is. At the exploratory surgery to find out why he was so sick, they found the mesenteric torsion and saw that his intestines had turned black, which meant they had died. Which meant an agonizing death if we had let him come out of anesthesia. So we had the vet euthanize him on the OR table while he was still anesthetized. He was a wonderful dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
Not an older dog (he was 3/4 as I recall); I've posted about the experience before and will see if I can find and link that thread later. The dog was a cryptorchid IW, so needed surgery to find and remove the missing testicle anyway, which made it a perfect opportunity for a gastropexy. (IWs have/had much higher bloat stats than GSDs, but I've not followed that research as carefully in recent years).

Did my homework, constructed my own screening survey to guide my conversations with potential vets (yes, I'm anal ;)), constructed a list and starting calling folks.

Here are my tips. First, do your homework and figure out which procedure you'd prefer --- there are/were pros and cons to each. There were several when I was facing this and I chose a laparoscopic approach based on the then existing research. Second, and most important thing to consider is how much experience the surgeon has in doing the procedure (e.g., how many dogs, what were the outcomes, etc). Third, you also want to know what their induction protocol is (i.e., what drugs in what amounts will be used for induction and surgical anesthesia --- particularly important in sighthounds). Fourth, you want to know if an anesthetist will be present for the entire procedure, how much experience s/he has, and whether your dog will be on oxygen throughout the procedure (10+ years ago, many weren't). Fifth, you want to know what painkillers will be available, in what amounts, immediately following the surgery and when you bring the dog home. Also ask if the vet will give you a script for the painkillers BEFORE you pick up the dog to bring him home as they're often human grade medications which can be obtained much more cheaply at your local pharmacy (or online) than at the vet office.

Also check the potential side effects of each painkiller carefully. My guy (Manny) was put on rimadyl, as I recall, which has the unfortunate side effect of creating nausea in many dogs. So, although Manny was recovering well from the surgery, three days post surgery he developed aspiration pneumonia (temp zoomed up to 105 degrees in less than 2 hours) necessitating an emergency run to the vets and a week ho$pitalization. Fortunately, I knew what was going on and successfully bullied the ER vets into starting the newly developed IW pneumonia protocol immediately instead of wasting time. (I can be a little pushy when circumstances warrant >:)). Once we got him over the pneumonia 'hump,' his recovery was smooth and uneventful. Keeping him quiet, for the next few weeks, while limiting his exercise was the hardest thing to manage.

Surgery is always risky, so the best thing you can do is what you're doing: Ask questions widely, do your homework, and choose the surgeon carefully. Our complication wasn't due to the procedure itself but to the post-op painkillers that were prescribed (known to be bad for Labs, but not for IWs). I know lots of folks who've chosen the laparoscopic procedure over the years and all of the dogs came through just fine. Sometimes you just experience bad luck. So, hold onto good thoughts and prepare accordingly.

If I find the previous posting, I'll come back and link it in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
Welcome. Given avg lifespan differences, 3/4= 6/7. :D Haven't located the older link yet but will rummage around when I get back this afternoon. Let me/us know what you decide and how things go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Yes, and it was a nightmare, not because of our GSD's age (he was 5), but because of the way the surgery was done. Do not let them do this laparoscopically on your dog! The vet admitted that he overinflated our dog's abdomen with carbon dioxide during the laparoscopic pexy. Two things happened. Our dog was in agony for two days after the pexy. Worse, the excessive distention likely stretched or tore some of his internal structures. About two months after the pexy, he developed mesenteric torsion, probably because of the pexy and the stretched/torn structures. Bloat is often survivable if you get to the vet in time. Mesenteric torsion almost never is. At the exploratory surgery to find out why he was so sick, they found the mesenteric torsion and saw that his intestines had turned black, which meant they had died. Which meant an agonizing death if we had let him come out of anesthesia. So we had the vet euthanize him on the OR table while he was still anesthetized. He was a wonderful dog.
Do you mind telling me when this was?

I had an almost 3 Yr old GSD whose stomach was torsing (without bloat), so we did a laparoscopic pexy, and he died about 8 hours after the surgeon closed him up.

We did a necropsy but never fully established what happened.

I’m curious if the procedure has been changed/improved over the years or not.

This was 2009.

Thanks.

Ed to add:

My GSD after that GSD did have mesenteric torsion and did survive. I mention this only because he woke me up in the middle of the night with a look on his face that said “Mom, I don’t feel good.” I could tell he wasn’t bloating. But his heart rate was elevated (from his usual 65 to 80) so I brought him in.

He was in the operating room within about 45 minutes, which included the 30 minute drive to the vet hospital.

I tell people, don’t second guess yourself. If you think your dog isn’t well, bring him in ASAP. This is my mission since that night.

I’m sorry you dog didn’t survive. It sounds like he never stood a chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Has anyone had this done as an elective on an older dog?
What complications did you see?
I’m at the point in life where I prefer to have any surgery beyond a basic spay or neuter done by a boarded surgeon. They’re just better equipped in their surgical theaters; their staff is better trained. They do more surgeries and thus are better at getting in and out.

Surgery is generally safe, particularly when performed by board certified surgeons. I don’t think of your dog as being terribly old for surgery.

My last GSD was 5 when he had emergency surgery for mesenteric torsion, which is a seriously major surgery. I had him pexied at that point.

(He was 9 when he had emergency surgery to remove his spleen for hemangiosarcoma).

I didn’t have complications for any of his major surgeries (including his total hip replacement). Make sure you have an x-pen or large crate and be fastidious about crate rest/leash walks until he’s released by the doctor to do more.

If your GSD is healthy, and if your surgeon thinks he’s a good surgical candidate, then follow the specialist’s advice. If you’re nervous, you could always ask for 1-2 months or so of rehab (like underwater treadmill training) to get him in the best shape possible.

I’ll likely do that before I pexy my puppy (when he’s done growing).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,372 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all. I'm not really advice for advice on choosing a surgeon or following the surgeon's advice. I'm really looking for input on personal experiences related to complications in an "older" dog for a gastropexy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Do you mind telling me when this was?

I’m curious if the procedure has been changed/improved over the years or not.
It was about 16 years ago. But there's a fairly recent study which found that abdominal surgery in general, and especially prophylactic gastropexy, is associated with a greatly increased risk of mesenteric torsion.

Here's the study, but WARNING do not look at pages 16-19 unless you can tolerate some really awful medical pics of what dogs' intestines look like after mesenteric torsion (also called mesenteric volvulus) kills the intestines:

http://www.iwdba.org/sites/default/files/02_mv_presentation_for_iwdc_2017.pdf

I am so sorry you lost your dog. Thank God your other dog made it. If a dog with mesenteric torsion gets to the vet fast enough, sometimes he can be saved. But even then, often not. A friend of mine had his Czech working lines GSD go bounding joyfully out of the house to play with his canine buddies, then stagger back in 40 minutes later and collapse. My friend immediately carried him to his car and started for the vet, but the dog died 15 minutes later before they got there. A necropsy showed it was mesenteric torsion. And the poor dog was in agony before he died.

I have never had a prophylactic gastropexy done on a dog again. When a dog has bloated, though, I've always had a gastropexy done.

One huge piece of advice: Do NOT ever let your dog roll, whether he has had a pexy or not. Mine rolled happily in the grass the morning he developed mesenteric torsion. I had no idea how dangerous this was, not only for causing mesenteric torsion but bloat as well. I am astounded that some dog trainers still think it's a cute trick to teach your dog to roll. The better vet hospitals will not even roll an anesthetized dog to flip him to his other side. They pick the dog up by the skin on his back and reposition him that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I had a lap spay and pexy done on Sabre when she was about 4 yrs, 3 months old. No complications, but I chose to have this performed by a board certified surgeon. Trying to keep her calm during her recovery was my biggest challenge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,372 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I had a lap spay and pexy done on Sabre when she was about 4 yrs, 3 months old. No complications, but I chose to have this performed by a board certified surgeon. Trying to keep her calm during her recovery was my biggest challenge.

Where did you have it done at?
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top