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Galax, VA 24333


Laparoscopic Gastropexy

Prevent Bloat in Deep-chested Dogs

Bloat, a deadly emergency in dogs, occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes bloated with gas and twists. Some breeds have such a high risk for bloat that a preventative surgery is recommended, laparoscopic gastropexy. This outpatient surgery decreases the chance of bloat 92%.

Laparoscopic Gastropexy in Galax, VA - Southwest Virginia

Bloat in Dogs

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Certain dog breeds are at high risk for a deadly condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) - commonly called bloat. GDV occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes bloated with gas and twists. The bloated stomach presses against surrounding organs and large blood vessels. This can stop blood flow to the heart quickly. Bloat is quite painful and, for certain dogs, bloat is often the cause of death.

The Solution: Laparoscopic Gastropexy

Fortunately, there is now a surgery shown to reduce the risk of bloat by 92%.1 Because this procedure can be performed laparoscopically at Healing Springs, it is a minimally invasive, outpatient surgery. The gastropexy is often done during the spay/neuter to minimize discomfort for dogs, but gastropexies can be performed any time a dog is healthy enough for general anesthesia.

Which Dogs are at Risk of Bloat / Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Bloat can occur in any breed of dog at any time of life, but certain breeds are at such high risk of bloat that gastropexy is recommended. People often think of bloat as a problem primarily affecting large and giant breed dogs, but it is actually the shape of the abdomen - more than the size of the dog - putting dogs at risk. Dogs with a deeper, narrower abdomen present the greatest risk of bloat. In dogs with this sort of vertical build, the stomach has more room to flip around and to stay turned.

Lifetime Risk of Bloat by Breed

  1. Great Dane - 89%
  2. St Bernard - 81%
  3. Weimaraner - 79%
  4. Irish Setter - 74%
  5. Gordon Setter - 71%
  6. Standard Poodle - 59%
  7. Basset Hound - 53%
  8. Doberman - 52%
  9. Old English Sheepdog - 48%
  10. German Shorthaired Pointer - 47%
  11. Newfoundland - 46%
  12. Airedale Terrier - 44%
  13. German Shepherd Dog - 45%
  14. Alaskan Malamute - 44%
  15. Chesapeake Bay Retriever - 42%
  16. Boxer - 42%
  17. Collie - 35%
  18. Labrador Retriever - 28%
  19. English Springer Spaniel - 28%

Not all at-risk breeds were detected by this study. Please discuss bloat with your veterinarian if you feel your dog’s shape and/or family history represents an increased risk.

What is Laparoscopic Gastropexy

Gastropexy is a procedure that attaches the stomach to the abdominal wall to prevent twisting. This procedure reduces the risk of bloat by 92%. A small percentage of dogs with a gastropexy will still experience gastric dilatation, but, even in these cases, the chances of twisting (volvulus) and the need for emergency surgery are greatly reduced.

Gastropexies are one of the many procedures we can perform laparoscopically at Healing Springs Animal Hospital. This means that we make one small incision that is about 3/16” in size. Through this one, tiny incision, we are able to port several types of endoscopic instruments such as a tiny camera, a powerful cold light source, laparoscopic scissors, clamps, a suction device, etc. Because minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures cause much less internal trauma than open-type surgeries, most dogs can go home the same day.

To avoid the need for two surgeries, many families elect to have the gastropexy during the spay or neuter. However, gastropexy is appropriate at any time and any age, as long as the dog is healthy enough for general anesthesia.


  1. Glickman LT, Lantz GC, Schellenberg DB, Glickman NW. A prospective study of survival and recurrence following the acute gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome in 136 dogs. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. 1998 May 1;34(3):253-9.
  2. Glickman LT, Glickman NW, Shellenburg DB. Epidemiologic studies of bloat in dogs. Purina Veterinary Previews. 1997;2:10-5.
Laparoscopic spay in Southwest Virginia

Lap Spays

Healing Springs is the first and only veterinary clinic in the region to offer lap spays. Laparoscopic spays are performed through a tiny hole using specialized equipment. The procedures prove much less painful for your pet, and recovery goes faster.

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