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N Z Vet J. 2012 May;60(3):165-70. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2011.644758.

A retrospective study of gastric dilatation and gastric dilatation and volvulus in working farm dogs in New Zealand.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht , The Netherlands.



To present findings from a case series of gastric dilatation (GD) or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) in working farm dogs in New Zealand that were examined at veterinary clinics, and to identify possible risk factors for GD or GDV in working farm dogs in New Zealand using a case-control study.


This retrospective study included a case-series and a case-control study. The case series analysed information from 62 case records of GD or GDV in working farm dogs seen between August 2004 and September 2009 at 13 veterinary clinics throughout New Zealand. Cases were classified as GD or GDV if the diagnosis was confirmed by radiography, surgery or post-mortem examination. Details of history and treatment, as well as outcomes, were obtained for each case. For the case-control study, records of 41 working farm dogs with GD or GDV (cases) seen between April 2008 and April 2009, and 82 working farm dogs examined because of trauma over the same period and in the same 13 clinics (controls), were used to model the risk factors for GD or GDV.


From the case-series study, 40/62 (65%) cases of GD or GDV that were examined and treated at the veterinary clinics returned to work. Of the 41 dogs where the gastric contents were recorded, 25 (61%) had predominantly food or bones in the stomach, and 26/27 dogs had a history of having eaten meat, bones or scavenged a carcass. The case-control study showed that the significant risk factors for GD or GDV, compared with control dogs presenting with trauma, were breed, age and season. The odds that a case of GD or GDV was a Huntaway, after adjusting for age and season, was 19 times higher than the odds a control was a Huntaway. Gender and bodyweight were not identified as risk factors.


A high proportion of farm working dogs with GD or GDV were successfully treated by veterinarians. The risk of a case of GD or GDV being a Huntaway was significantly higher than for a dog presenting as a trauma case. However the influences of the season of the year, climatic factors and nutritional factors on the pathogenesis need to be identified before adequate preventative measures can be recommended.

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