Also known as ‘abdominal effusion,’ ascites in dogs appear when – abnormally – fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity. While it would not be a problem in itself, what worries veterinarians is the disorder that causes it. In this article, we inform you about this canine disease.
Ascites in dogs: definition and causes
As a first step, we must know what ascites is in dogs. Many say it is an ‘abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen,’ but it is more than that. Of course, since ascites itself is not a problem, but the disorder that is causing it.
This abdominal effusion may be caused by some pathology in the organs, blood vessels, or lymph nodes of the animal. Therefore, it is essential to take the veterinarian to have a complete health exam.
Among the different possible causes of ascites in dogs, the best known are:
- Heart failure
- Bleeding tumors
- Broken blood vessels
- Low blood protein levels
- Blood clotting disorders
- Kidney problems (for example, nephritic syndrome )
- Congestive heart failure (the heart does not supply enough blood to the body)
- Liver diseases
- Inflammation of the membrane that covers the abdominal viscera
- Abdominal cancer
- Bladder Rupture
- Abdominal hemorrhage
- Trauma that caused internal organs to break
Ascites in dogs: symptoms
The warning signs when there is ascites in dogs can be varied and many of the symptoms, in addition, cannot be detected with the naked eye. It is very important to pay attention to certain behavioral changes in your pet, as you will probably complain more than usual even when lying down. Some signs of ascites are:
- Unexplained weight gain (swollen appearance in the abdomen)
- Abdominal distension
- A progressive loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath, agitation
- Reduction of physical activity or games
- Moans and signs of pain at bedtime or getting up
- In males, also the accumulation of fluid in the penis or scrotum
- Pleural effusion due to fluid accumulation in the chest wall
Ascites in dogs: treatment and prevention
If you notice some symptoms in your dog, it is a priority that you take him to the consultation with the veterinarian. The professional will be in charge of carrying out the studies he deems appropriate to diagnose the condition. The most common exams in these cases are radiography and abdominal ultrasound. You can also ask for a urine test.
When ascites is diagnosed in dogs, the next step is to extract the accumulated fluid in the abdomen. It can be done in different ways, although puncture is the most frequent. This is taken to the laboratory for analysis.
If the cause of this disease is due to infection, the veterinarian will also prescribe antibiotics to fight it and, if the trigger is a tumor, he may recommend an operation to remove it. It is important to know that ascites in dogs has a cure to the extent that what has produced it can be ‘attacked.’
Many owners wonder if ascites can be prevented, and the answer is the same as the previous one: it all depends on what originates it. The best way to avoid diseases in pets is to take them to the veterinary office once or twice a year.
In addition, we recommend that you correctly choose the feed you give the dog to avoid low levels of blood protein and sodium accumulation, take it out on a leash to prevent accidents or trauma, and follow the plan to the letter. Of vaccination In this way, it will be less likely – although not 100% impossible – for the animal to suffer from ascites or any other health problem.