May 27, 2024


Peritonitis in dogs is extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

dog peritonitis

Peritonitis in dogs is also called peritonitis. The peritoneum is a thin layer between the lining of the abdomen and the organs. In the worst case scenario, if this area becomes inflamed, it can lead to your dog’s death.

  • Inflammation of the peritoneum can be serious under certain circumstances. It can also occur as a result of an infection, in which case it is called septic peritonitis. It is very important to act quickly now.
  • Septic peritonitis can have a serious impact on organ health. If you suspect peritonitis, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
  • Peritonitis cannot be avoided or prevented. There are a lot of different triggers that are out of your control.
  • However, peritonitis is not always life-threatening. It depends on the type of disease and the likelihood of recovery. Septic peritonitis is the most severe form of peritonitis. Approximately 20 to 48 percent of affected dogs die.

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Peritonitis in dogs: requires careful examination by a veterinarian.Adult image/perspective

Peritonitis in dogs: symptoms

Each clinical picture presents specific but also nonspecific signs. In the case of peritonitis, symptoms vary depending on its cause.

  • In the early stages of peritonitis, symptoms are often not clearly identified. Only as the disease progresses do signs indicative of peritonitis appear.
  • This primarily includes poor general condition of the dog. You may have a fever and have lost your appetite.
  • Other signs may include significant abdominal pain. If a dog is suffering from abdominal pain, it usually exhibits the so-called prayer position. Extend your front legs forward and tilt your upper body toward the ground.
  • Similarly, dogs can suffer from diarrhea and vomiting. If you notice a rapid pulse and rapid breathing, you may be experiencing life-threatening shock. Therefore, consult your veterinarian immediately.

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How is peritonitis diagnosed?

It is important to contact your veterinarian immediately at the first signs of peritonitis. Only prompt treatment can help the dog.

  • If necessary, take note of any symptoms you notice. Your veterinarian will ask about this.
  • A general examination will then be performed to determine the dog’s general condition. Next, palpate the abdomen. It feels hard when there is pain.
  • If the affected animal is already apathetic, you may be able to feel the internal organs from the outside. In this way, peritonitis can be isolated first.
  • An X-ray or ultrasound is required for your veterinarian to find further evidence. If organs are difficult to see in the image, this may be a sign of peritonitis. This is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. The veterinarian will take a sample from it and test it. If there is a large accumulation of proteins and cells, this is a clear sign of peritonitis.
  • Last but not least, the final result for detecting peritonitis is obtained through a blood test. Usually there are too many white blood cells here.

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Causes and treatment of peritonitis

Peritonitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection. However, this is not always the case, so inflammation is classified into two different types.

  • So-called primary peritonitis is caused by blood. This is fairly rare and usually occurs in conjunction with a weakened immune system.
  • Secondary peritonitis is more common. It is caused by an infection in the abdomen. It can also be caused by bacteria that entered the body through an injury.
  • Secondary peritonitis is again differentiated into aseptic peritonitis or septic peritonitis. The former is caused by mechanical or chemical damage to the peritoneum. In this case, the cause is a foreign object in the stomach or a drug.
  • Septic inflammation of the peritoneum is most common. It is caused by damage to the gastrointestinal area. Bacteria can enter the abdominal cavity from here. Bacteria can also enter if the wound opens.
  • Peritonitis is usually treated with intravenous fluids, painkillers, antibiotics, anti-nausea drugs, and balancing the acid-base balance.
  • If the dog’s condition is stable, surgery will be performed. Open the abdominal cavity and investigate the cause. It is removed and a sample is taken to determine the pathogen. Dead tissue is also removed and the abdominal cavity is flushed out.

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Peritonitis in dogs requires surgery. imago images / imagebroker/theissen



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