Sugar’s stomach worries

Sugar a gorgeous 12-year-old Leonberger dog was referred to us as she was experiencing recurrent episodes of bloat. On examination, the team suspected this had started after Sugar had developed laryngeal paralysis.

Laryngeal paralysis is a disease caused by a loss of function of the nerves controlling the muscles which open and close the voice box) and can cause difficulty breathing and aerophagia (or gulping too much air.) 

It is more common in older, large-breed dogs and clinical signs can start off being mild but often progressively worsen over time.  One of the side effects of these breathing difficulties is that dogs can swallow more air whilst breathing in and in Sugar’s case this was causing repeated bloating episodes.  When the stomach becomes over-filled with air it can cause issues with breathing and return of blood to the heart.  In some cases, the stomach can twist around its axis causing a life threatening condition called gastric volvulus.

As Sugar is an older dog who gets worried away from home, her owner was keen to avoid an open surgical procedure. So, Rachel Hattersley, one of our Specialists in Soft Tissue Surgery performed a minimally invasive laparoscopic assisted gastropexy.

This procedure, to prevent the stomach twisting, is performed with camera guidance to identify the correct portion of the stomach to attach to the right side of the body wall to. The gastropexy is performed just via a small incision just behind their rib cage.

This key-hole surgery meant that Sugar’s time in hospital was minimised and her recovery time much quicker.