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What is Fluid in Abdomen?

Ascites is defined as the buildup of free fluids in the abdomen. It is characterized by a distended belly, which may be accompanied by nonspecific clinical signs such as lethargy. Ascites is itself a symptom of other conditions, most commonly liver disease or right side heart failure, and cannot be treated successfully without also addressing the underlying cause. The prognosis depends on the source of the ascites.

Free fluid can build up in the abdomen when blood flow is impeded, whether due to liver disease, heart failure, or other conditions. This buildup is referred to as ascites (or abdominal effusion) and is characterized by a distended abdomen. Treatment and prognosis will vary depending on the underlying cause, since removing the accumulated fluid will not fully resolve the condition and may, in fact, encourage ascites formation.

Fluid in Abdomen Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

When fluid builds up in the abdomen, your dog's stomach will be visibly distended. Other clinical signs rising from the underlying cause for ascites include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lack of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
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Causes of Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

Ascites is a symptom of many other conditions. One of the most common is liver disease, which leads to an increase in pressure in the vessels that lead to the liver. When blood flow is impeded, free fluid can build up in the abdomen. Fluid can also accumulate when the liver produces fewer albumins, a serum protein that helps keep water in the blood at the capillary level.

Another common cause of ascites is heart disease, specifically right side heart failure. With congestive heart failure, the heart is unable to pump blood out effectively, leading to a fluid build-up in other areas of the body. Other causes for ascites include hepatitis, kidney failure, and hypoproteinemia.

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Diagnosis of Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

The veterinarian may make a circumstantial diagnosis of ascites based on your dog's distended abdomen and other physical findings. Laboratory testing, including blood work and a urinalysis, may be conducted both to discover the cause of the ascites and to determine your dog's overall condition. Radiographs and abdominal ultrasounds can confirm the presence of fluid in the abdomen, and a sample of the fluid can be withdrawn with a needle for cytologic examination.

Further diagnostic tests may be required to reveal the extent of the underlying condition. If the veterinarian suspects that the ascites is a symptom of liver disease, a chemistry panel, and complete blood count may be performed. Other tests, such as serum bile acids and ammonia tests, are also very useful for measuring the liver function. In cases of heart failure, thoracic radiographs, and a Knott's test may be useful for diagnosis.

A full diagnosis of the underlying condition is vital to proper treatment.

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Treatment of Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

Treatment for ascites varies according to the underlying condition. The fluid can be removed via abdominocentesis, but this is only a temporary solution, as fluid can build up again if the cause of the ascites is not addressed. Unless your dog is having difficulty breathing because of the amount of fluid in the abdomen, the veterinarian most likely will not recommend this procedure. Your dog will lose albumins along with the fluid, and decreasing pressure in the abdomen may lead to an increase in the fluid buildup.

Instead, a diuretic to increase the loss of water through urine, combined with a low sodium diet, is more often used to manage ascites. During this time, the condition causing ascites will also need to be treated, with treatment ranging from special diets for dogs with liver disease to drug therapy to improve cardiac function.

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Recovery of Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

During the recovery process, provide your dog with a quiet and secure place to rest. Keep your dog calm and restrict activity in order to minimize stress. If your dog received treatment for the condition that is causing ascites, monitor him or her daily, and check that the ascites is resolving. Your veterinarian will provide you with instructions for care and let you know what to expect over the next few days. Follow-up exams may be recommended to ensure that your dog is healing well.

The prognosis for recovery is highly variable and depends on whether or not the underlying condition can be successfully treated.

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Cost of Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

There are a few different treatments that the veterinarian may suggest. One of which may be abdominocentesis. This treatment is only a temporary fix and is usually only recommended if your dog is having trouble breathing. It can cost between $420 and $720. The other option that the veterinarian may suggest is the use of a diuretic. A diuretic can help increase the amount of water lost through urination. Combining a diuretic (i.e. Furosemide) with a low sodium diet can help reduce the fluid buildup in the abdomen. Furosemide 40mg/80mg can cost $13/$18 per 100ct. There is prescription dry dog kibble that promotes cardiac health that would be low in sodium. An 18 pound bag of this special kibble can cost $55-$78. The veterinarian may be concerned about your dog’s cardiac function and may prescribe cardiac improving drugs such as Spironolactone. Spironolactone 25mg can cost between $16 and $26 per 100ct. bottle. In total, the cost of all of these treatments can range from $504 to $549. Fluid buildup in the abdomen is nothing to take lightly and should always be treated by the veterinarian.

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Fluid in Abdomen Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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Fluid in Abdomen Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pitbull and shar-pei Mix

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10 Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bloated Stomach

Hi, my baby has anemia, liver and kidney desease. My vet only gave him Furosemide because he has bloated abdomen but his tummy won't go down with the medication and he said theirs nothing else we can do. He is still happy, wagging his tail, he eats pretty good but he is always tired and loosing weight. What else can I do? Thanks

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is really difficult for me to comment on what else might be able to be done for your dog without knowing more. If you are not sure that there are no other options, it might be best to have a second opinion. Another veterinarian being able to look at your dog, look at the blood work, and talk to you about it may have a different perspective. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

July 16, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Noisy Breathing

My girl was diagnosed with heart worms last year during her physical even though she was on a preventative. We opted to do slow kill because of her age. We switched her heartworm prevention. In the past year I’ve also been trying to get her to loose some weight as she is a little over weight. She gets 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup at night of a weight loss food. No treats. She hasn’t lost any weight in the past year and I’ve noticed her breathing a little heavier, I feel as though her stomach/Abdomen is a little extended too but does not get bigger than it is. Is it the heart worms?

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. There is no way for me to tell you if the heartworms are causing problems without being able to see her, unfortunately. I would need to listen to her heart and lungs and assess her cardiovascular function to be able to tell you that. If she has not lost weight on her weight loss diet, it might be a good idea to check her thyroid. Thyroid disease in older dogs can cause weight gain, panting, and lethargy. Her problem may not be related to her heartworms at all. It might be worth a follow up with your veterinarian to see what more might be going on. I hope that she is okay.

July 16, 2020

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Mario

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cross

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Twelve Months

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bloated Stomach

My dog has been ok for the past month's, about a week ago he has stopped being active and he has stopped eating, his tummy won't go down with the medication and he is just looking sad, he is scared most of the day what can i do to help him? I can't lose my baby 😢😢he is all I look forward to..

April 2, 2018

Mario's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

A bloated stomach is a symptom not a condition and may be bloated due to fluid, gas or fat; you should visit your Veterinarian if you haven’t already for an examination and blood test (particular liver function, kidney function and albumin levels if the bloating is fluid). There are a variety of conditions which may cause a bloated stomach, but without a diagnosis I cannot give any recommendation or suggestion for treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 3, 2018

My dog have the some problem she started just fe days ago took her to the vet this morning they did XR and blood work.Dr says that everything looks normal.protein levels and all blood work are ok.Dr says that theyhave to chekc for liver problems but all test from today are normal. should i go to another dr?

April 12, 2018

Frany F.

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Pippa

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Dalmatian

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Fluid In Abdomen

Hi. I've got a Dalmatian who just turn 1 2 weeks ago. At the end of the year she ate a Sago palm that we had in the yard. We took her to the vet as she wasn't well and they did not know sago palm is toxic for dogs so they just gave her something to stop her from vomiting and settle her tummy. After a week she wasn't getting better so I did some research on the internet and found out the plant was toxic so we rushed her back to the vet and they kept her overnight, they did blood tests and found out her liver levels were crazily high and that in fact she was suffering from poisoning. Thy medicated her and gave her vitamin k tablets as well. Pippa started recovering slowly until about a week ans a half ago when her tummy started getting really big, we took her back to the vet and after now 5 days of taking her in every day for a check up and lots of blood test the vet has come up with nothing. All she said was that the initial blood test showed her white cell count was high and the red cell count low. Liver function and other organs she said are ok and the blood test did show normal for her liver. She was given again vitamin k tablets and has been taking them since Saturday. Today had more test and the vet said readings show red cells are regenerating and liver levels look normal. She tried an x-ray but there's too much fluid and she could not see anything. We are so worried and will be taking her to the specialists clinic tomorrow, we don't want to lose her but at the same time don't want her suffering. Do you thing her fluid is a consequence of her poisoning with the sago palm in New Year's Eve? Could that be a side effect? Are there any questions I should be asking tomorrow? Would cancer show up on the tests they did? Please let me know anything you can. She is super hungry and eats well, poo and wee look normal and going toilet not a problem. Her tummy is so big and scary... she is not whining or crying so I guess she is not in pain. Has not had fever but is super thirsty all the time. The vet we have been taking her too has been very unhelpful and doesn't say much to us unless we ask and ans and chase ans chase, please help!

March 6, 2018

Pippa's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Cases of sago palm poisoning need to be treated aggressively from the beginning to get the best prognosis; in saying that the mortality rate for sago palm poisoning in dogs is around 50% and many people are unaware of its toxicity. Any therapy given from now would be supportive and symptomatic to try to allow the body to recover as a whole, it is encouraging that red blood cells are regenerating but Pippa isn’t in the clear yet and anaemia isn’t a typical symptom of sago palm poisoning. The visit to the Specialist will allow for another hands on opinion about Pippa’s current state of health and will allow for additional testing; questions to ask at the Specialist would be to confirm that all the current symptoms are related to the poisoning event and to ask the rationale behind any other treatment given (so you fully understand what is happening). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/condition/sago-palm-poisoning http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/sago-palm/

March 6, 2018

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2004. I was given antibiotics, which seemed to help. However, I still suffer from some of the symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, joint pain, and even neurological problems in controlling hand and leg movements. The inability to walk right etc, are temporary and generally happen when I am really tired and have been working hard. I lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medication I Went off the antibiotics (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started on Lyme disease natural herbal formula I ordered from GREEN HOUSE HERBAL CLINIC, I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in USA and they all gave a positive response, my symptoms totally declined over a 6 weeks use of the Green House Lyme disease natural herbal formula. I’m 70 now and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed! (Visit their website www . Greenhouseherbalclinic . com) I am thankful to nature, herbs are truly gift from God. I can now go about my daily activities and the pain is greatly diminished. Don't give up hope, fellow sufferers. Share with friends!!

March 23, 2018

Joan D.

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Buttons

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Portugese Water Dog

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

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Fluid In Abdomen
Weakness
Leaking Intestines

we discovered this about 5 days ago in my dog, he was about 8 years old, he was very playful and he died yesterday, we put him down, what did we do wrong where we couldn't save him? apparently there was about 10-15 pounds of fluid leaking from his intestines to his stomach (he got an ultrasound and an x-ray or something). the doctor said they don't know what causes this and they don't know how to fix it. so we just kept him alive for a couple days but things just got worse so we... yeah. Well i was just wondering what could we have done and why some people are finding this not severe at all but ours just didn't go well at all?

March 5, 2018

Buttons' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are many causes for ascites (fluid in the abdomen) with some causes being relatively manageable to other causes which are not; without examining Buttons (by necropsy at this point) I cannot say what the specific cause of the fluid accumulation was or if there was a way to manage the symptoms. If your Veterinarian was unsure about what the cause was and you are looking for peace of mind that you made the right decision you should ask for a necropsy to determine the cause of the fluid and to identify any lesions found on x-ray or ultrasound. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 5, 2018

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Silly

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Irish Red and White Setter

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10 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Tumor
Liver

My dog recently got diagnosed with multiple tumors on her liver. She's been releasing a yellow fluid from her butt or pee hole every night. What is the liquid and why is this happening. What can I do to help her?

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Rex

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Golden retriever/ beagle mix

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8 Weeks

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

We adopted a puppy on Wednesday that presented with a swollen belly due to worms.... he was dewormed multiple times and his belly just kept getting bigger... we decided to take him into the vet and they found he had fluid in his abdomen. They did an ultrasound to confirm fluid, sent labs to IDECC which isn’t completed yet, and did blood work which came back completely normal. She listed to his heart as well and found no murmur. Fluid is also very clear. After $800 in vet bills we have absolutely no answers... wondering if this has happened to anyone... if we should wait to see best case scenario from specialty vet or put him down... pup was a birthday present for my 5 year old.. we’re all heart broken and at a loss.... Anyone have any suggestions on what it possibly COULD be?

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Chester

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cockapoo

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Bloated
Disoriented

My Chester is an 8 year old Cockapoo. He was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma (liver) inoperative on Nov. 13.. He had been doing well. We tried chemo (Pallidia ) for 5 weeks.. Had a scare on NYeve and thought we would lose him.. Rushed him to hsp. They rehydrated him and he was like a new fur baby. Since Jan. 3 he has been great - eating, playing drinking water etc.. He is on NO meds, we stopped the Pallidia. Yesterday we took Chester and his sister to park. He ran and played, was happy... My husband picked him to put back in car and within seconds he vomited a bit... That was 24 hours ago and he is lethargic, VERY bloated, won’t eat, seems dazed and disoriented, has a bit of diarrhea. Wants to drink massive amounts of water. Even though he has been eating great (up to 24 hours ago) we have notced he is very boney.. It happened SO sudden . Why? Too much exercise? Should I get his belly drained? He is terminal and I just don’t want to put him through a procedure for a very temporary (if it even is) recovery... He seems more bloated then he was...

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Forest

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Beagle

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11 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Hi ! My dog, Forest, is 12 years old and his kind a of a Beagle mix Lab. Last spring of 2018, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. After developing a serious cough, a cardiologist preformed a heart ultrasound and x-rays to confirm his condition and noted the heart was larger than normal and the lungs contained a little bit of fluid. He was treated with a prescription of 6 mg of Melatonine, 7.5 mg Pimobendan twice a day, 25 mg Furosemide twice a day and 20 mg Benazepril once a day. A week ago, his stomach became so bloated and hard that we decided to go to the Emergency Vet Hospital. An ultrasound and puncture of the abdomen confirmed his stomach was filled with white fluid. A fluid drainage was not mentioned as a treatment. To help him, the vet ordered to triple his Furosemide pills going from 50 mg a day to 120 mg a day (that is 2 pills of 20 mg 3 times a day). The swelling went down, but here we are 1 week later and now his stomach is just as bad as last time... We can see his discomfort (he has trouble resting, lying down and even walking) and he's breathing with difficulty and rapidly. He still eats well, and wags his tail when ready to go outside ! Will his stomach just keep expanding or will the stretching stop at one point ? If not, what will happen to his stomach or general condition ? Can this fluid build up eventually cause death ? This concerns me so much. I can't imagine his stomach getting any bigger...And, I can sense this is painful for him. Thank you for any advice you can give me. I've been reading a lot on his condition, and I know the acetis can be hard to control, but I can't seem to find any information regarding how long a dog can tolerate such stomach expansion and if not resolved, what will happen. Many thanks for your time and consideration.

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Alba

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Fluid In Abdomen

My chihuahua has been diagnosed with chf. It has been devastating as we just lost our other chihuahua on dec 13th to a seizure.. I'm wondering she has fluid buildup on her abdomen she is on a diuretic already she eats pees, and still eats quite a bit she has always been a table scrap eater. She is on iams. She is always thristy. I have noticed her abdomen is not going down it seems to be getting bigger. She had a blood buildup knot on her leg it busted and she went on antibiotics. The dr said the blood will start to build up in other spots .. I love her sooooo much .

Fluid in Abdomen Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000