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Peritonitis in the Horse

By: Dr. Melissa Mazan

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Optimal treatment for the horse with peritonitis requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your horse doesn't improve rapidly.

It is always important to make sure that your horse receives antibiotics for the length of time prescribed. It is important to monitor your horse's temperature regularly. A fever spike may indicate that the antibiotic choice must be modified.

If your horse has spent time in a referral hospital, your own veterinarian may need to perform follow-up abdominocentesis examinations and will usually want to perform follow-up blood work. It may be necessary to repeat both ultrasound and abdominal x-rays as well.

Peritonitis often requires a lengthy treatment period. Don't expect your horse to be back to normal in a matter of days. It is important to monitor your horse's body condition while he recuperates. Many horses with peritonitis become thin, even emaciated. It will take many weeks and even months to regain the body mass and bloom that your horse has lost.

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