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Food engorgement in 35 dogs (2009–2013) compared with 36 dogs with gastric dilation and volvulus
  1. Lisa Smart, BVSc, DACVECC1,
  2. Shona Reese, BSc, BVMS, MS, DACVR2 and
  3. Giselle Hosgood, BVSc, PhD, FACVSc, DACVS1
  1. 1 School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Vet Imaging Specialists, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  1. E-mail for correspondence;{at}


The clinical features and management of food engorgement (FE) in dogs have not been previously described. This retrospective observational study describes characteristics and outcome of 35 dogs with FE, and compares features on presentation to 36 dogs with gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV). Cases were retrospectively reviewed for history, clinical findings and outcome. Gastric distension was measured by caudal gastric margin (CGM), level with lumbar vertebrae, on a lateral abdominal radiograph. Frequent characteristics of dogs with FE included tachycardia, tachypnoea, hyperproteinaemia, increased base excess (BE), mild hypernatraemia and hyperlactataemia. There was overlap in CGM between dogs with GDV (CGM range L3 to >L6) and dogs with FE (CGM range <L2 to L5–L6). In contrast to dogs with GDV, lactate concentration in dogs with FE was not associated with CGM or BE. Dogs with FE mostly received medical intervention consisting of fluid therapy and analgesia, and all dogs survived to discharge. In conclusion, dogs with FE frequently presented with acid-base and electrolyte derangements, including hyperlactataemia. While dogs with FE can have gastric distension as severe as that seen with GDV, outcome with supportive care only is excellent.

  • gastrointestinal
  • emergency medicine
  • abdominal
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  • This study was presented in abstract form as a poster at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium, Indianapolis, 2014.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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