Overview of Feline Peritonitis (Abdominal Infections)
The peritoneum is a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and produces a small amount of fluid that lubricates the abdominal contents. In addition, the peritoneum is also responsible for forming adhesions, or scars, in the presence of an inflammatory process.
Peritonitis is an inflammatory process that affects the peritoneum and can be very serious, or even life-threatening. It results in the accumulation of excessive fluid within the abdominal cavity. It can be associated with abdominal trauma, abdominal surgery or pancreatitis.
What to Watch For
Diagnosis of Peritonitis in Cats
Various diagnostic tests are performed to help determine if peritonitis is present and the severity of the infection. Tests may include:
Treatment of Peritonitis in Cats
Peritonitis can be treated medically or surgically, depending on the underlying cause of the peritonitis. Medical therapy includes:
Surgery is performed if moderate or severe peritonitis is present.
Home Care and Prevention
After treatment, animals are often continued on antibiotics for a period of time. The animal is monitored for vomiting, lack of appetite or depression.
Peritonitis can be difficult to prevent but prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of underlying illness can help reduce the risk.
In-depth Information on Feline Peritonitis (Abdominal Infections)
Peritonitis is an inflammatory process within the abdomen that involves the peritoneum and can be localized or generalized. Localized peritonitis can occur following surgery, trauma or mild pancreatitis and usually responds to medical therapy.
Generalized peritonitis is very serious and potentially life threatening and is due to inflammation that overwhelms the body’s normal responses. Fluid accumulates within the abdomen and eventually, dehydration, weakness and metabolic abnormalities occur. Some animals may progress to septic shock. The dehydration often results from a lack of available body fluid. These losses occur associated with vomiting, diarrhea, pooling of abdominal fluid and fever. Generalized peritonitis can occur following gastrointestinal surgery, penetrating injury and severe pancreatitis. Generalized peritonitis requires aggressive medical and often surgical therapy.
Causes of Feline Peritonitis
There are a variety of causes of peritonitis. Peritonitis can be primary or secondary. Primary peritonitis is uncommon and is caused by a direct infection of the peritoneum. Feline infectious peritonitis is the only significant cause of primary peritonitis in cats. Secondary peritonitis is more common in companion animals. Secondary peritonitis is caused by contamination of the abdomen. Some causes include ruptured urinary bladder, ruptured bile ducts or gallbladder, ruptured tumors or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) leading to leakage of pancreatic enzymes. Other causes include penetrating abdominal injury, perforated gastrointestinal ulcers, gastrointestinal foreign bodies, ruptured infected uterus, ruptured liver or prostatic abscess, severe pancreatitis and breakdown of a recent intestinal surgery site.
The most common cause of peritonitis is a loss of integrity of the bowel. This can occur due to perforation or dehiscence and is a main cause of peritonitis.
In-depth Information on Diagnosis of Feline Peritonitis
Various diagnostic techniques are used to diagnose peritonitis. These include: