Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Fluid in Abdomen in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Fluid in Abdomen?

Ascites is defined as the buildup of free fluid in the abdomen. It is characterized by a distended belly, which may be accompanied by nonspecific clinical signs such as lethargy. Ascites can be 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 further ascites formation.

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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 (or the ascites itself) include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lack of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
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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 less albumin, 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 and culture.

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 for heartworm 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 albumin 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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Worried about the cost of Fluid In Abdomen treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

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.

Fluid in the abdomen in dogs can be expensive to treat. To protect your dog and yourself in case of an accident or emergency, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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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 (e.g. 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

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dog-breed-icon

doberman

dog-age-icon

Three Years

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17 found helpful

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17 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen

Her belly is full of liquid and it keeps getting better. The medicine she has works for a moment and then her belly keeps getting bigger. She has diarrhea and she pees a lot.

Jan. 10, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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17 Recommendations

Hi, Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen can be caused by various issues. This can range from liver, kidney, and heart disease. The drugs that were prescribed are called diuretics which help to drain the excess fluid. This excess fluid is passed out of the body as urine therefore the increased frequency in urination. I would advise you to take your pet to the vet for blood tests especially biochemistry to be able to diagnose the underlying issue. Draining the fluid only treats the symptoms. Good luck

Jan. 10, 2021

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dog-breed-icon

rat

dog-age-icon

Six Years

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12 found helpful

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12 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Bloating And Hard Stomach

My dog is female about 6 or 7 years old. I'm the past week her belly has been getting bigger and it's very hard to the touch. She's having trouble pooping and now she is having trouble walking

Jan. 3, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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12 Recommendations

Hello, so sorry to hear that your dog is having problems. This could be fluid in the abdomen from heart disease, Cushing's disease, a mass in the abdomen, or she may just be getting fatter as she is getting older. It would be best for your vet to see your dog. They can examine her and run tests to figure out what is going on.

Jan. 3, 2021

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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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