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Ascites in Dogs

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Ascites in Dogs

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It is important to spend time with your dog every day. Not only because they are animals who need affection and socialization for their well-being, but because being in touch with your dog will allow you to quickly notice any signs that may indicate a disease or disorder.

Just looking at your dog is not enough to be aware of these signs: Contact is necessary, since through various displays of affection you will be able to tell if your dog has any wounds, inflammation or edemas.

In this AnimalWised article you can learn all about the causes and treatment of ascites in dogs; a condition that can be obvious and also very serious.

You may also be interested in: Ascites in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
  1. What is ascites?
  2. What are the causes of ascites in dogs?
  3. What are the symptoms of ascites in dogs?
  4. Diagnosis and treatment of ascites in dogs
  5. Can you prevent ascites in dogs?

What is ascites?

Ascites is also known as abdominal effusion, although this term simply indicates the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Ascites by itself is not a problem, unless the swelling is so severe that it presses against the diaphragm causing breathing difficulties.

However, what can be very serious is the disorder that causes this symptom. The accumulated fluid in the abdominal cavity can enter the internal organs, blood vessels or lymph nodes. To assess the severity of ascites it is crucial to determine the underlying causeand the current state of the dog's body tissue.

Ascites in Dogs - What is ascites?

What are the causes of ascites in dogs?

Ascites in dogs can have multiple causes, so it is essential that a vet performs the necessary tests to determine where the problem originates. Of all the possible causes, the following should be highlighted:

  • Low protein levels in the blood
  • Heart failure
  • Trauma rupturing internal organs
  • Coagulation disorders
  • Bleeding tumours
  • Liver diseases
  • Inflammation of the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal viscera)
  • Rupturing of blood vessels
  • Kidney disorders
Ascites in Dogs - What are the causes of ascites in dogs?

What are the symptoms of ascites in dogs?

Ascites mainly manifests itself through abdominal distension, that is, swelling. However, sometimes it is also accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Signs of pain
  • Whining at bedtime
  • Breathlessness
Ascites in Dogs - What are the symptoms of ascites in dogs?

Diagnosis and treatment of ascites in dogs

Ascites can be diagnosed through diagnostic imaging tests such as X-Rays and abdominal ultrasounds; however, the veterinarian can also perform a urine analysis. Usually, they will also drain the accumulated fluid in the abdomen, which must then be analysed in order to establish the underlying cause.

The treatment of ascites will vary depending on each case. In the event of an infection, antibiotic drugs will be used, whereas if the cause is a tumor, surgery may be necessary. Only a vet can advise the most appropriate treatment for each individual case.

You should pay close attention to how your dog responds to treatment. At home, you can help by restricting the amount of salt in its food, as sodium compounds facilitate the accumulation of body fluids.

Ascites in Dogs - Diagnosis and treatment of ascites in dogs

Can you prevent ascites in dogs?

There are so many possible causes of ascites that there is no method that can completely ensure prevention. However, you can reduce the risk by taking into account the following considerations:

  • Keep your dog in a safe environment and take them for walks on a lead to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Feed your dog with high quality dog food.
  • Never try to medicate your dog yourself.
  • Strictly follow the established vaccination program.
Ascites in Dogs - Can you prevent ascites in dogs?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Ascites in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Ascites in Dogs