Objective—To evaluate risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) in a large number of privately owned dogs across a wide geographic area.
Design—Internet-based, cross-sectional study.
Animals—2,551 privately owned dogs.
Procedures—A questionnaire addressed dog-specific, management, environmental, and personality-associated risk factors for GDV in dogs. Respondents were recruited through the posting of the electronic link to the questionnaire on websites for dog owners; the information was also disseminated at meetings of dog owners and via newsletters, e-mail lists for dog owners and breeders, owner-oriented dog publications, and e-mails forwarded by participants. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were performed.
Results—Factors significantly associated with an increased risk of GDV were being fed dry kibble, anxiety, residence in the United Kingdom, being born in the 1990s, being a family pet, and spending at least 5 hours a day with the owner. Factors associated with a decreased risk of GDV were playing with other dogs and running the fence after meals, fish and egg dietary supplements, and spending equal time indoors and outdoors. A significant interaction between sex and neuter status was observed, with sexually intact females having the highest risk for GDV.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In dogs with a high risk of GDV, regular moderate daily and postprandial activity appeared to be beneficial. Feeding only commercial dry dog food may not be the best choice for dogs at risk; however, supplements with fish or eggs may reduced this risk. The effect of neuter status on GDV risk requires further characterization.