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Our "puppy" Ranger (he has really grown and just looks like a big dog now) is coming up on 7 months old and has lost all his puppy teeth . . . so we're right at the point where the vet said we should think about neutering. On our last visit, he mentioned that we should think about getting a procedure done while he's already under to proactively mitigate gastric torsion, which he says has been known to strike GSDs. He described it as basically suturing the stomach to the dog's side so it cannot twist.

I had never heard of such a thing, but this is our first GSD and there isn't a $$ issue with getting it done. I'd rather do it than be potentially sorry later. But is this a legitimate concern and something that is common to do--and have others here had that procedure done? Scare tactic from the vet??

Appreciate any thoughts/advice.
 

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It's called a gastropexy. Had it done on Ilda about a year ago (laproscopically which is less invasive), a breeder very familiar with her pedigree advised bloat ran in her lines so I decided to go ahead with it while having her spay done.

Preventing Torsion When Bloating with Prophylactic Gastropexy | AKC Canine Health Foundation


As with all surgeries there are pros and cons to it.

Please search the health forum for the terms 'gastropexy' or for short 'pexy' and there are some really indepth discussions.




Our "puppy" Ranger (he has really grown and just looks like a big dog now) is coming up on 7 months old and has lost all his puppy teeth . . . so we're right at the point where the vet said we should think about neutering. On our last visit, he mentioned that we should think about getting a procedure done while he's already under to proactively mitigate gastric torsion, which he says has been known to strike GSDs. He described it as basically suturing the stomach to the dog's side so it cannot twist.

I had never heard of such a thing, but this is our first GSD and there isn't a $$ issue with getting it done. I'd rather do it than be potentially sorry later. But is this a legitimate concern and something that is common to do--and have others here had that procedure done? Scare tactic from the vet??

Appreciate any thoughts/advice.
 

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You're welcome :)

If you do decide to have the laproscopic gastropexy make sure the vet has a few of the laproscopic surgeries under his/her belt first.

Also, just be aware that this thread may be moved to the health forum by the mods, so don't worry if you don't see it here after a time....it'll probably be in the health forum.
 

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Unless your pup has a retained testicle that requires abdominal surgery, a regular neuter doesn't require "opening the dog up" either with a regular surgical procedure or as Gwenhwyfair said, a laproscopic procedure.

FWIW, if it were my dog I'd have the gastropexy done because I have had dogs who have had stomach torsion ... I was lucky and they all survived, but it's an expensive emergency and hard on the dog too.

Also, there are a lot of threads about the pros and cons of early spay/neuter procedures on dogs ... you might want to read them before making a final decision about getting your puppy neutered now.

GOOD LUCK with whatever you decide to do!!!
 

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We had our girl's stomach tacked when she was spayed. The incision was quite a bit bigger than with just a spay, but she was essentially back to normal after a few days, and there's a lot of peace-of-mind in knowing she's essentially "immune" to torsion now.
 

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How hard is it on the dog if its done on its own? I would consider it, but mine is already spayed and I don't like putting them under.
 

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Well, you're right. It's still anesthesia and his/her activity will have to be limited for several days afterwards, plus two weeks (give or take) for the incision to heal over...
 

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i've never neutered or had gastropexy performed. if i were going
to neuter or spay my dog would be 2 yrs old or older.
 

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It depends, Ilda was 'off' for about a month but part of that was we found out she doesn't tolerate nsaids very well.

I think it depends on the dog, younger/older tolerance of anesthesia/pain and such.

If done laproscopically (as in Ilda's case) it's two small incisions, one in the belly (same place as for a spay) and one on the flank.

They shave ALOT of hair for the surgery (belly and up the flank) so when I first saw her after surgery it surprised me to see so much hair gone. She looked like she was wearing a one piece bathing suit down her back for awhile!

Also gastropexies can fail (the stomach tack fails). So even if it's done on our dogs we must remain vigilant about bloat.


How hard is it on the dog if its done on its own? I would consider it, but mine is already spayed and I don't like putting them under.
 

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It's a very painful recovery for the dog. I have a male who was opened up fully, had some intestine removed and his pyloris cut. We were right there at the tummy and I asked my surgical vet if she could tack his stomach while he was open anyway. She told me that she could if I wanted but did not recommend it. I declined.

We had a senior chocolate lab boarding with us who had a torsion bloat a year before his stay and was tacked. While at our facility he bloated again. The only advantage of the tack was that we could easily pass a tube into his stomach to relieve the pressure. He bloated again every 12 hours despite small meals and gas-x and had needle expressions accordingly. His tacks made no difference in his treatment after the initial tube.
 

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Yeah, I think what it does is buy you some time to identify the bloat symptoms and get the dog into the vet sans an actual torsion occurring.

After torsion the problem is at whole new level of criticality.



It's a very painful recovery for the dog. I have a male who was opened up fully, had some intestine removed and his pyloris cut. We were right there at the tummy and I asked my surgical vet if she could tack his stomach while he was open anyway. She told me that she could if I wanted but did not recommend it. I declined.

We had a senior chocolate lab boarding with us who had a torsion bloat a year before his stay and was tacked. While at our facility he bloated again. The only advantage of the tack was that we could easily pass a tube into his stomach to relieve the pressure. He bloated again every 12 hours despite small meals and gas-x and had needle expressions accordingly. His tacks made no difference in his treatment after the initial tube.
 

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Indeed. But seems like if the tack failed you'd have problems right there already, and as long as it doesn't fail then torsion is pretty much ruled out.

Obviously nothing is foolproof, but the odds of torsion (not necessarily bloat) would be dramatically reduced with the tack.

Still, probably best to get it done when the dog is already going to be under, rather than scheduling it as a separate procedure.
 

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I'm more worried about the painful recovery. Their stomach does not naturally sit against their ribcage. You're tugging at lots of odds and ends to tack it down and that's extremely uncomfortable for a few weeks after surgery until things settle into their new place. It's not a surgery that typically has complications, but it just seems like an awfully unnecessary surgery to do if there is no concern with bloat predisposition in the dog's lines. If sire, littermate to sire, dam, littermate to dam, littermate to dog etc had bloated I'd consider it, but really... it's not as common as in Great Danes.

I've never had a dog tacked before. My opinions about pain on recovery are from our specialist surgical veterinarian who has been practicing for decades. Perhaps other vets have had different experiences.
 

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FWIW, my girl only took her painkillers for a few days. She was essentially her normal, silly, playful self in less than a week. (And I am *very* sensitive to my animals' discomfort.)
 

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FWIW, my girl only took her painkillers for a few days. She was essentially her normal, silly, playful self in less than a week. (And I am *very* sensitive to my animals' discomfort.)
Good to hear! Phew! Glad it isn't as bad as Dr. Harris makes it sound. :)
 

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Yeah. I was more worried about keeping her calm - I was terrified she was going to tear one of the stitches or incisions from playing!
 

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Had this done on my one female when she was 8.5 years old. She kept bloating - stomach never flipped but she would start bloating 4 x per year. We tacked it to reduce chance of flipping. I have since switched to raw and have had no more ER runs for her. She recovered from the tacking very quickly. If needed I would do so again on my other dogs. Her mother also bloated at 10 but I was able to get her to the vet in time. I lost her six months later to a mass on her spleen.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Sounds like it's a worthwhile procedure to have done for some peace of mind as long as the dog will be under anyway. A small expense relatively speaking vs how I would feel if I did not do it and something happened down the road.
 

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Yup! The vet that did Ilda's sugery was very clear about that point. It does not prevent bloat but it does help prevent torsion in most cases.

BTW - I have heard a handful of stories of dogs still having torsion even with the tack still intact. It probably depends on the dog and the skill of the surgeon who performed the tack.



Indeed. But seems like if the tack failed you'd have problems right there already, and as long as it doesn't fail then torsion is pretty much ruled out.

Obviously nothing is foolproof, but the odds of torsion (not necessarily bloat) would be dramatically reduced with the tack.

Still, probably best to get it done when the dog is already going to be under, rather than scheduling it as a separate procedure.
 
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