6-Year-Old FI Bull Mastiff

Signalment & History

A 6 year old FI Bull Matsiff presents with a 2 hour history of dry retching and abdominal distension.

DV abdomen Right lateral abdomen


There is craniodorsal displacement of the pylorus relative to the fundus of the stomach with evidence of compartmentalization.


These signs are compatible with a gastric dilation volvulus (GDV).

  • Be aware that GDVs can present with varying degrees of volvulus and may not present with the typical “popeye arm” shape of the stomach. These cases can be harder to diagnose, but flipping the dog over and taking further radiographic views, using radiographic information combined with diagnostic information (eg ability to pass a orogastric tube and deflate the stomach), clinical signs and exploratory laparotomy will help you to make the diagnosis.
  • Gastric-dilation volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening condition in dogs during which the stomach dilates and rotates around its axis. Mortality rates from 33- 68% are reported.
  • GDV occurs most commonly in large and giant breed dogs such as Great Danes, Rottweilers, German Shepherd dogs, Boxers and Standard Poodles.
  • Clinical signs include unproductive retching, restlessness, pacing, salivation, respiratory distress, depression, abdominal pain and abdominal distension. Signs can progress rapidly.
  • Early stabilization of shock with decompression of the stomach is imperative.
  • The right lateral radiographic view should be the first view that you take because the pylorus becomes air-filled and displaces to the left. Because gas rises, the right lateral view is most likely to show the typical “popeye arm” shape of the stomach. It is important to check for pneumoperitoneum on radiographs as this may indicate gastric rupture.