The abdominal cavity is lined with a skinny, watery membrane, known as the peritoneum. Once the dog's abdominal cavity is injured, the serous membrane becomes inflamed. Peritonitis is usually a painful condition, and the affected dog can react strongly once it's touched on its abdomen.
What causes peritonitis?
- The spread of an infection through the blood
- Opening of surgical sites
- Penetrating abdominal wounds
- Blunt abdominal trauma
- Severe inflammation of the pancreas
- Filling of the abdomen with pus
- Liver abscesses (inflamed swelling with pus)
What are the symptoms of peritonitis?
- Abdominal pain, due to which the dog positions itself in a “praying” position for relief of pain
- Low blood pressure and signs of shock
- Increased rate
- Possible abnormal cardiac rhythm (arrhythmia)
How is peritonitis diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will take a complete history and perform a physical examination on your dog, as well as a chemical complete blood profile, a whole blood count, urinalysis, associated a solution panel. Radiographic and ultrasound imaging are crucial for visualizing the presence of free fluid within the abdomen, free gas within the abdomen, and an abscess, if it's present. A fluid sample is taken from the abdomen for laboratory analysis.
How is peritonitis treated?
Dogs with peritonitis should be given fluid and electrolyte therapy. Your pet's diet must be modified to a salt-free diet if an underlying heart condition is detected. If the dog is needs nutritional support, a feeding tube is placed directly into the digestive tract, or fluids are administered by IV injection. Once the dog has been stabilized, your veterinarian will prescribe medication.