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On Thursday 6th June we were out for a practice night out at a restaurant in Croydon. At 9pm I had a phone call from Max’s owner saying that he couldn’t settle and was trying to be sick, but was unable to be sick. Max’s owner had recently moved to Hamsey Green, but had previously lived in Thornton Heath and I had treated Max at my surgery there.

I advised him that we needed to see Max as soon as possible as I suspected he had a gastric torsion. I saw Max at 9.40 pm in Thornton Heath and by 10pm Max was on the operating table having exploratory surgery. He did have a completely twisted stomach and a grossly abnormal spleen. I emptied Max’s stomach, removed the spleen and anchored the stomach back in the correct position.

By 11.30 the surgery was completed and at midnight Max was standing up in his cage. He had drips attached to him, but he still managed to walk out to my car. I put him in the back and took him down to the Westerham surgery where he slept in a large kennel and I slept on the kennel room floor.

By 7am I was happy with him and left him for an hour and went home to change. Max’s owner came to visit him in the afternoon and he was so well that I sent him home. Last monday he had his stitches out and is back to normal.

Gastric torsion

This is one of the most serious conditions we see in dogs. It usually affects the larger breeds and particularly the deep chested ones. The cause is unknown in most cases, but a major risk factor is exercising after eating a large meal.

The stomach does a complete 180 degree rotation so blocks off the entrance and exit, so gas cannot escape and the dog becomes bloated very quickly.

Immediate attention is essential and even with that a significant percentage of cases will not survive.

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