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The prefix “gastro-” means relating to the stomach.The suffix “-pexy” means to fix in place or create a union between two things. The goal of the “Gastro-pexy” surgery is to permanently fix the stomach to the inner body wall to treat or prevent the occurrence of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus Syndrome (GDV).

Great Dane

How does the surgeon perform a Gastropexy?

During this procedure, the right side of the stomach is sutured to the right side of the internal body wall after light incisions are made on each surface. Over time, a dense scar develops between the stomach and body wall at the gastropexy site to permanently fix the stomach in its normal location and prevent twisting as occurs with GDV. Because of this, it is important for the patient to remain at a low activity level for 2 weeks after surgery while the gastropexy heals and the scar develops.

What are some of the risks or benefits of a Gastropexy?

Gastropexy is a key element in the successful treatment of GDV in dogs, as without gastropexy >60% of dogs will have another episode of GDV.  The gastropexy procedure can also be performed as a prophylactic (preventative) measure against GDV in dogs at a high risk for GDV development.


Roughly 25% of large and giant purebred dogs develop GDV in their lifetime. Great Danes and German Shepherd Dogs are greatly overrepresented in the GDV literature and should be strongly considered for prophylactic gastropexy.  

We recommend prophylactic gastropexy in large and giant breeds that have additional risk factors for development (see below).


Risk factors for GDV are summarized as follows:
  • Large of giant breed dogs with a deep chest make up almost all cases of GDV

  • German Shepherds, Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Labradors, and Doberman Pinschers are commonly affected breeds

  • Purebred dogs reported to develop GDV >8x more often than mixed-breed dogs

  • If a dog has a close relative (mom,dad, or sibling) with a history of GDV, they are at a higher risk for GDV themselves.

  • Dogs with an anxious or aggressive personality are at a higher risk for GDV

  • Dogs with a previous splenectomy are likely at a higher risk for developing GDV

  • Dogs fed one large meal per day are at a higher risk than those fed multiple smaller meals per day and a varied diet.

  • Dogs that eat very rapidly are at a higher risk for developing GDV

  • Risk for GDV increases with age, but older dogs have the same chance of survival as younger dogs with urgent treatment and surgery

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  • Aftercare for routine prophylactic gastropexy is similar to that after a spay.

  • E-collar at all times for 2 weeks, until skin incision check.

  • Exercise restriction for 2 weeks: no off-leash activity allowed, no play, no jumping on/off furniture.

  • Monitor abdominal incision for signs of swelling, pain, or discharge.

  • Pain medication will be prescribed.

  • Avoid feeding large meals at once, spread meals out during the day for 1 week after surgery.

  • Aftercare for emergency patients with GDV depends on the severity of disease and often requires hospitalization for a minimum of 12-24 hours as well.

Would you like more information about this procedure? 
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