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Thread: Colonic twist--any experience?

  1. #1
    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Default Colonic twist--any experience?

    One of our trainees didn't eat and seemed to be in discomfort. I played it safe and took him straight to the emergency vet. X-ray showed urgent need for surgery so they went in. They found various displacements with a twist in the colon. By the time they were finished the color everywhere was "pretty good." The surgeon has only seen this once before, and that other dog was euthanized on the table. He checked online--I imagine a board like this, for emergency surgeons--and most cases his colleagues knew also died on the table.

    Our dog is alive so far. He'll be on bland diet and stool softeners, plus antibiotics and pain meds. We're concerned about tissue damage and possible need for a second surgery.

    But so far the vets here haven't turned up much information. Has anyone here dealt with this? Any ideas as to risk factors, likelihood of recurrence, or even prognosis for a dog whose color was "pretty good" (but with some dark streaks)? Would appreciate hearing of any experiences.

    Stuff that might or might not matter: dog is very lean, probably because of excessive activity and jumping in his run; dog was at the vet for shots in the afternoon and acted uncomfortable, so we had him examined. At that time his abdomen was soft and he was not apprehensive. Temperature, heart, respiration, gum color, all were normal.

    Thanks for any input & experiences.

    Amy Dahl

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    Amy, Try Richard Underwood in Polson Montana. His National Finalist, Mia, died from this just a couple of years ago. He did make it to the vet but not in time to save her. He should be able to give you the details.
    Rob

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    Our primary training partners and friends had a dog that experienced the same thing. They fixed the initial problem by actually removing a small portion of the colon where the twist occurred. The vet told them straight up the likely hood of the twist occurring again was pretty much guaranteed. He was not sure why, but all of his past cases the colon acted up again. And indeed it did a month or two after the initial operation. Unfortunately the dog had to be put down. Hope you get some more positive responses and best of luck.
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    Senior Member Trifecta's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, has this dog had a gastropexy before? A small retrospective study published in 2010 looked at 6 cases and found that this was a risk factor. I have only read the abstract this AM, but you can probably find it on pub med. The 5/6 that underwent surgery survived. 1 was euthanized prior to surgery.

    GI tract for the most part is pretty forgiving, but the large intestine is probably the worst to deal with because of the bacterial load. It sounds like you and your vet ID'd the problem very quickly which is awesome. Hope he (she?) is feeling better this morning. Did they pexy the colon?
    Natalie Fraser, DVM
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    Senior Member wheelhorse's Avatar
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    Was this a twist of the colon or the entire root of the mesentary. Because those are two completely different things. Torsion of the mesentary has about a 99.9% death rate.

    BTDT with a 15 month old in training.
    Kathleen

    "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you're not, in fact, just surrounded by a**holes" -William Gibson

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who's answered. The dog is still with us. We're anxiously watching for signs there might be necrosis going on, but right now he's eating and seeming to steadily improve in how he feels. Very sobering that a vet with experience says it's likely to recur.

    This dog has not had a gastropexy, and they did not try to tack the intestines. The vet felt given the nature of intestinal tissue it would be risky to try. He did say that if the dog formed adhesions that might decrease the risk of things moving out of place in future.

    Amy Dahl

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Oh, and I think one end of the twist was actually at the end of the small intestine just before the join, and the other was around a third to half way down the colon.

    Amy Dahl

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    I have been told by owners/vets that they have seen genetic pre-disposition for this disorder. I do not have stats to support this. I do know of prominent dogs who died from this condition. 30+ years involvement. Any comments pro/con on genetics from others? Good luck.

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swliszka View Post
    I have been told by owners/vets that they have seen genetic pre-disposition for this disorder. I do not have stats to support this. I do know of prominent dogs who died from this condition. 30+ years involvement. Any comments pro/con on genetics from others? Good luck.
    Were these prominent dogs working retrievers? The vets here have very little experience--out of four vets, one has seen one prior case. I wonder if it's one of those things that are more common in the working retriever world than in the general pet world. And in turn, if being in lean condition and working every day may be a risk factor.

    Other conditions I think we see more commonly than the average vet: limber tail, panosteitis.

    Amy Dahl

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    The only ones I am aware of were in fact titled FC/AFC /Qualy dogs. I suggest you folks contact the University of Minnesota/Wisconsin Vet Schools for extra opinions. These dogs were not necessarily regional dogs because of our limited registry issues - they all come from the same sources.

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