The University of Queensland’s [UQ] Veterinary Medical Centre Small Animal Hospital is treating Queensland Police Service dogs to minimise their risk of developing gastric dilatation and volvulus [GDV], and as a result, have returned to work a number of canines, including PD Maui (pictured).
Police dog Maui recently underwent laparoscopic surgery to prevent GDV, a life-threatening condition that requires emergency veterinary treatment, and occurs when the stomach becomes dilated and twists into an abnormal position, from which dogs can die very quickly without prompt medical attention.
“GDV is common in large, deep-chested dogs such as great danes, German shepherds, weimaraners, setters and standard poodles,” said Dr Jayne McGhie, an animal surgery senior lecturer at UQ. “High drive dogs such as working dogs, anxious dogs, dogs that eat rapidly and dogs with a first-generation relative that have had the condition are at higher risk.
“The procedure, known as a gastropexy, creates a permanent attachment between the stomach wall and the body wall to reduce the risk of the stomach twisting,” Dr McGhie said. “We perform this surgery on dogs such as police or military working dogs and other at-risk dogs to greatly reduce their risk of developing GDV at some time in their life.
“This is an elective procedure, performed when the dog is healthy and at a time that suits the Police Dog Squad to have one of a handlers and their dog rostered off duty. Surgeons insert a small-diameter laparoscope into the abdominal cavity via a small cut in the abdominal wall. This alleviates the need for large open incisions which are more painful and take longer to heal. The dogs are discharged the same day, have less pain because they have very small surgical incision sites, and police and military working dogs have less time off work,” Dr McGhie said.