01935-B: Abnormalities in the Stomach's Ability to Contract Predisposes Large-Breed Dogs to Bloat

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $233,774
Bryden J. Stanley, BVMS, MVetSc.; Michigan State University
January 1, 2014 - June 30, 2019

Sponsor(s): American Black & Tan Coonhound Association, American Bloodhound Club, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, Briard Club of America Health & Education Trust, German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America, Mastiff Club of America, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Poodle Club of America Foundation

Research Program Area: Gastrointestinal Disease
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Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), or bloat, is a devastating disease common in large and giant-breed dogs. Occurring most frequently in older dogs with a close relative who has also suffered the condition, the stomach becomes both displaced and distended with air. Without emergency medical stabilization and surgical intervention, affected dogs quickly experience shock, damage to the stomach wall, and death. Most of the research relating to GDV has described risk factors for the disease, determinants of outcome with treatment, and the effectiveness of preventive surgery (gastropexy). However, the underlying cause of GDV remains unknown.  Abnormalities in the ability of the stomach to contract have been documented in dogs after naturally-occurring GDV. An analogous stomach condition in cattle, left-sided displacement of the abomasum (LDA) has been shown to, in some instances, be associated with abnormalities in the motilin gene. Motilin is an important driver of stomach contraction. This suggests that LDA and potentially GDV may be primarily caused by a stomach that does not properly contract, and that this condition may be inherited. This study will help to determine the relationship between abnormal stomach contraction and GDV, and to define the biochemical and genetic alterations that may be associated with these stomach abnormalities. The long-term goal is to develop a test to identify dogs at high-risk for GDV. This would allow for early detection and offer selective breeding as an option to eliminate the condition and determine best preventive therapies.


Gazzola, K. M., & Nelson, L. L. (2014). The relationship between gastrointestinal motility and gastric dilatation-volvulus in dogs. Top Companion Anim Med, 29(3), 64-66. doi:10.1053/j.tcam.2014.09.006

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