UQ veterinary surgery sets police canine crew up for healthy service

German shepherd PD Maui and his canine colleagues are lean, keen policing machines, thanks to important surgery at the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus.

UQ Veterinary School
Healthy and happy: Police Dog Maui underwent the preventative surgery (Photo credit: UQ)

The UQ Veterinary School Medical Centre Small Animal Hospital is treating Queensland Police Service dogs to minimise their risk of developing gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV).

Police Dog Maui has had laparoscopic surgery to prevent GDV, a life-threatening condition that requires emergency veterinary treatment.

Animal surgery senior lecturer Dr Jayne McGhie said GDV, also known as bloat, occurred when the stomach became dilated and twisted into an abnormal position.

Dogs can die quickly without prompt medical attention.

“GDV is common in large, deep-chested dogs such as great danes, German shepherds, weimaraners, setters and standard poodles,” she said.

“High drive dogs such as working dogs, anxious dogs, dogs that eat rapidly and dogs with a first-generation relative that have had the condition are at higher risk,” Dr McGhie said.

The Brisbane Dog Squad’s PD Maui had his day surgery at UQ’s Veterinary Medical Centre Small Animal Hospital, where he was treated by a team of veterinary surgeons, anaesthetists and nursing staff.



“The procedure, known as a gastropexy, creates a permanent attachment between the stomach wall and the body wall to reduce the risk of the stomach twisting,” Dr McGhie said.

“We perform this surgery on dogs such as police or military working dogs and other at-risk dogs to greatly reduce their risk of developing GDV at some time in their life.

“This is an elective procedure, performed when the dog is healthy and at a time that suits the Police Dog Squad to have one of a handlers and their dog rostered off duty.

“Surgeons insert a small-diameter laparoscope into the abdominal cavity via a small cut in the abdominal wall. This alleviates the need for large open incisions which are more painful and take longer to heal.

“The dogs are discharged the same day, have less pain because they have very small surgical incision sites, and police and military working dogs have less time off work,” Dr McGhie said.

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Are you interested in veterinary science? UQ’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science program is one of the most sought after in Australia, attracting the very best students and producing veterinarians that are in high demand, both domestically and internationally.

The UQ Veterinary School has full accreditation with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and with both the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, enabling UQ graduates to also practice in North America, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Hong Kong and most of Asia. Graduates of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science program may sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination in order to be qualified to practice veterinary science in North America.

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