Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening disease. The precise cause is unknown, but several predisposing factors have been identified. Breed is important, with some large- and giant-breed dogs having a lifetime risk of 24% and 22%, respectively, and 42% for Great Danes. Greater risk for GDV is also associated with increased age, high degree of breed purity, deep chest conformation, and a first-degree relative with a history of GDV. It is believed that a stressful event in a predisposed dog may lead to an acute episode of GDV. Although seasonal variations have been documented in a population of military working dogs, it was not known if specific climatic conditions could be identified as a risk factor, and the goal of this study was to investigate that possibility. The records of all cases of GDV presented at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Zurich between January 1992 and December 1999 were evaluated. The Swiss Meteorological Institution provided data including the minimum, mean, and maximum daily temperature; minimum, mean, and maximum daily humidity; and minimum, mean, and maximum daily atmospheric pressure for the study days. More cases of GDV were recorded in the months of June, July, August, October, and December than throughout the rest of the year, but no statistically significant differences in the month of the year were detected. Mean temperatures were significantly higher on days with GDV admissions than on days without GDV admissions, although the difference was only 0.8°C and is probably not clinically relevant. No significant association was found between GDV occurrence and atmospheric pressure or humidity.

COMMENTARY: Weather conditions have been found to affect angina, asthma, and urinary stone colic in humans, and an association between colic in horses and weather changes has also been reported. Thus, it seemed possible that weather conditions would affect dogs with a predisposition to GDV, but this study failed to find a clinical relationship.

Climatic conditions as a risk factor in canine gastric dilatation-volvulus. Dennler R, Koch D, Hassig M. VET J 169:97-101, 2005.