Doberman saved by PDSA after suffering near fatal twisted stomach

A Doberman puppy was saved by PDSA after nearly dying when he developed a twisted stomach.

Thankfully, action from his owner and vet charity PDSA saved Winston’s life and he’s now been entered into PDSA’s Pet Survivor competition.

When two-year old Doberman puppy, Winston stopped eating and couldn’t keep anything down, his owner was worried and took him to Basildon PDSA Pet Hospital, The Coco Markus Centre.

His owner’s action thankfully saved his life after the charity’s vets identified that Winston had developed a twisted stomach, which can be fatal within just a few hours.

Winston’s owner Stella Draycot said: “He just wasn’t himself and I didn’t know what to do, so I took him to the PDSA Pet Hospital. After the vet examined him, they discovered he had a twisted stomach and I was told that his chances of surviving were very slim. I was in shock and the thought of losing him left me in floods of tears.”

PDSA vet Hanna Johnston, explained: “When Winston arrived at the Pet Hospital, he had a tender, swollen tummy and was trying to be sick but nothing was coming up. We were really concerned about these symptoms and took him straight for an x-ray, which showed a massive, gas-filled, ‘C’ shaped stomach. This is a tell-tale sign of GDV, which is a twisted stomach. We knew immediately that we had to act fast, as this can kill a dog within hours if left untreated.”

The official term for a twisted stomach is Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV), and happens when two things occur: one, an abnormal amount of gas builds up in the stomach, and two, the stomach twists round on itself.

Once the stomach twists, the gas can’t escape, and pressure builds up. This pressure can restrict blood flow, affect breathing, lead to shock and, if not treated quickly, the stomach wall can become damaged, causing it to bruise, start to die away, or rupture.

The PDSA advise that the condition is more common in large or deep-chested breeds, including Dobermans like Winston, but also breeds like Great Danes, Basset Hounds, Saint Bernards and Irish Setters.

Hannah continued: “Winston was immediately prepped for emergency surgery to untwist his stomach, but because of his deteriorating condition the anaesthetic he needed posed a much higher risk. We prepared his owner for the worst, but we were determined to do everything we could to save him.

“The surgery went as well as it could have, and we also placed some internal stitches to secure the stomach to the body wall to try and prevent it from twisting around again.”

Thankfully, Winston, who has just celebrated his second birthday, has made a great recovery and is back to enjoying walks with his friends.

Stella added: “I’m so glad to have my best friend back home safe and sound. I feel that Winston is a miracle dog for surviving. The treatment and care he received from PDSA was fantastic, I’m so grateful that they saved his life.”

Stella has now entered Winston into the PDSA Pet Survivor awards to recognise his survival spirit, and the determination and skill of the vets and nurses who saved his life. The annual competition recognises pets who have survived against all the odds.

How to prevent GDV

Hanna added: “It’s really important to keep an eye out for any changes in your pet’s behaviour, especially if they are a higher risk breed. Signs to look out for include, drooling, retching or trying to vomit without producing anything, anxious behaviour and attemtps to stretch or restlessness, and a swollen or hard stomach.

“Surgery is most successful when the condition is still in the early stages, so Stella’s quick action in bringing Winston straight to PDSA saved his life.”