Painful Abdomen in Dogs

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

Most common symptoms

Diarrhea / Difficulty Walking / Lethargy / Poor Appetite / Seizures / Vomiting

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Rated as moderate conditon

62 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Diarrhea / Difficulty Walking / Lethargy / Poor Appetite / Seizures / Vomiting

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

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What is Painful Abdomen?

A painful abdomen is known to be caused by many possible disorders. Acute episodes of discomfort often indicate an underlying disorder that will have to be addressed in order to resolve the problem. Though abdominal pain experienced by your dog may be difficult for you to recognize, a change in your pet’s behavior should always be paid attention to. Take your dog to see the veterinarian by scheduling an appointment any time that you suspect your pet is acting differently. In the case of abdominal pain, an underlying pathology will need to be treated without delay because there may be a risk of illnesses such as obstruction, tumor or organ disease.

Painful abdomen in dogs is also described as acute abdomen. Behavior indicating pain can point to a serious disorder that must be investigated promptly. A diagnosis may lead to an intervention of a medical or surgical nature, in order to prevent a life-threatening situation.

Symptoms of Painful Abdomen in Dogs

Through the observance of your dog on a day to day basis, you may recognize changes that could signal abdominal pain. Because abdominal pain is occurring due to a secondary condition, there can be several symptoms accompanying the signs of pain as listed below:

  • Your dog may show a change, alteration, or extreme difference in posture; with a painful abdomen the hind end is often held upwards while the forelegs are close to the floor
  • Your dog may appear to have difficulty rising from a lying down position
  • Vocalization of pain
  • Abnormal breathing pattern
  • The abdomen may be swollen and/or tender to the touch
  • Restlessness, because a comfortable position to settle cannot be found
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • There may be diarrhea, sometimes with blood or mucous
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Dehydration
Types

The abdominal pain experienced by dogs is broken down into two types, which are classified as infectious or noninfectious. Within these two categories there can be various types of abdominal pain:

  • Metabolic

    - such as kidney failure

  • Peritoneal Cavity

    - like a trauma

  • Urinary

    - example can be urethral obstruction

  • Digestive

    - like pancreatitis

  • Reproductive

    - such as a disease

  • Infectious Disease

    - from a toxicity for example

  • Musculoskeletal

    - such as trauma to abdominal muscle

Causes of Painful Abdomen in Dogs

There can be a myriad of reasons that your dog may experience abdominal pain. The presence of this type of pain is serious, and can quickly lead to a dangerous condition if not addressed immediately. Some of the possible causes are listed below:

  • Liver disease
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease)
  • Cystitis
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining)
  • Ischemia (inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body)
  • Malabsorption
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Constipation
  • Bloat
  • Cancer
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parasitic infection
  • Distension of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Prostatitis
  • Gastritis
  • Gastrointestinal ulcer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intervertebral disk disease

Diagnosis of Painful Abdomen in Dogs

The veterinarian will begin the diagnostic analysis by asking you for a recent history of your dog’s behavior. Be prepared to describe any symptoms or signs of abnormality that have caused you recent concern. You may be asked for details on your pet’s diet; if you feed your pet table food, for example, this is an important piece of information for the veterinarian to be aware of. Other facts that will be helpful in the diagnosis of a painful abdomen are recent travel details, tips on possible exposure to toxins, and clues as to recent injury or trauma.

The veterinarian may choose to do a complete blood count, chemical profile, and urinalysis. The information from these tests may prove to be a valuable part of the diagnosis.

The physical examination will include checking the mucous membranes, listening to the lungs for sounds like abnormal crackling, and checking of the heart for pulse quality. Neurological tests will be done; rectal tone, gait, and mentation can be optimum indicators of specific illnesses as well. The veterinarian will also look for evidence of trauma on the body, in the form of blood or bruising. Palpitation and additional examination of the abdomen will be left to the last because interference in the examination may result if severe pain is experienced by your dog when touched or handled.

Imaging of plain and contrast radiographs or fluoroscopy might be necessary, as will cytology tests and abdominocentesis to analyze fluid in the stomach. Throughout the entire diagnostic period, the veterinarian will monitor your dog closely, in the case of the deterioration of your pet’s condition.

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Treatment of Painful Abdomen in Dogs

Treatment will depend on, and be correlated directly to, the underlying cause of the painful abdomen. If the required treatment is of a nonsurgical nature, therapy will begin with intravenous fluids to assure that electrolyte levels are balanced, and nutritional needs are met. Medication to stop or prevent nausea and vomiting will be administered. These steps can help to stabilize a pet that may be close to crisis.

Pain therapy is another crucial part of the treatment. Gastrointestinal protectants, antidiarrheal medications and antibiotics (if required) are important, too. Treatment of the specific underlying disease will vary, of course.

For example, Parvovirus will be treated with intravenous to replace the loss of sodium and potassium, and medication will be given to control persistent vomiting. A case of bloat, which can be very dangerous, will quickly be treated by the use of intravenous fluids and the passing of a tube through the mouth and into the stomach to release gas. It should be noted that surgery may be required if repositioning of the twisted stomach is needed.

If surgery is essential, for example in a severe case of bloat or a problem like a gastrointestinal obstruction, intravenous for stabilization, pain therapy (analgesics), fluid therapy, antibiotics and supportive care will be part of the treatment protocol.

Recovery of Painful Abdomen in Dogs

Many cases of illness result in a need for dietary management. Painful abdomen in dogs is certainly no different. The importance of what you feed your pet, and the need for a balanced diet (more or less fiber might be needed for instance) are paramount to maintaining health. The veterinarian will describe the dietary needs of your pet (hypoallergenic, elimination or bland, perhaps) and tailor them to your dog’s needs, based upon the cause of the abdominal pain.

Dogs who have had surgery to resolve pain will have a longer recovery time due to stitches, food and exercise restrictions, and the need for follow-up visits to assess wound healing. Anti-inflammatories, pain medication, and antibiotics may be part of the medication regimen to be followed upon release from the clinic.

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Painful Abdomen Average Cost

From 69 quotes ranging from $300 - $6,500

Average Cost

$1,800

Painful Abdomen Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

Poodle

dog-age-icon

Five Years

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Unknown condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown condition

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

My dog since about a week ago, has started to pant hard, breathe heavily at night and barely has appetite and eats at the pint where she barely eats. I also just saw that she has an ear infection and has developed a bit of tarta. (The yellow thing on her teeth, I’m not sure what it’s called.) And today she hasn’t wanted to get up from bed, and when I tried to carry her from her stomach, she yelped in pain.

July 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. If she yelps when you touch her stomach, we worry about pancreatitis or another GI issue. It would be best for your dog to see your vet. The signs that you are describing sound pretty severe. They may want to run bloodwork or take x rays to help them figure out what is wrong. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 8, 2020

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Daisy

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Discomfort, Anxiety, Clingy

I have a 7 year old female chihuahua/pomeranian mix. After making a bowel movement she is very uncomfortable. She won't sit or lay down for more than a few seconds. She will stand in one position and stare at the ground for a long time. This usually lasts about 30 minutes.

Aug. 8, 2018

Daisy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

That is not normal behavior after a bowel movement, I agree. Since I can't see her, it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her, do a rectal examination on her, and see what might be going on. They'll be able to determine if she needs any treatment to how to fix what is happening with her.

Aug. 8, 2018

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Kodah

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

12 Weeks

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Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Vomiting
Whining
Disoriented

my week old puppy is constantly whelping and whining off and on. he gets quite then he will start up again. he acts weak and he wobbles around. what do u think might be going on? Can it be something he ate?

Aug. 4, 2018

Kodah's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It is possible that Kodah ate something toxic, or he may be painful, or he may have a problem that needs attention. Since I can't see him, it would be a good idea to have him examined by a veterinarian to see what might be going on and if he needs treatment.

Aug. 4, 2018

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Bolt

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chihuahua mix

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1 Year

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Biting
Pain When Lifted
Sore

My dog when he is laying on my lap and I am petting him I went to move him and he tried to bite me. I felt on his right side of his ribs and he tried to bite me again. He is eating and drinking normal, but I’m worried. What could this possibly be.

July 25, 2018

Bolt's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Bolt may have a painful spot where you were touching that hurts when you touch it. Without seeing him, I can't say what might be happening, but if it continues and he doesn't seem to be improving, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian so that they can examine him and find out what is going on.

July 26, 2018

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Puppu

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Chihuahua French Bulldog mix

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4 Years

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Mild condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Belly Flinch

Chihuahua French Bulldog (Stray puppy breed guess) Female 4yrs Spayed Disposition ranges from submissive, super sweet, loves belly rubs, runs wildly barking at people walking by, playful. Was a 6 or 8wk old stray. Historically weak bladder. Touch her before outside, she leaks. First, thank you for any help. Last week I gave her usual belly rubs and when my hand went to her soft belly, she yelped. She is historically skiddish, so I thought nothing of it. Today I was rubbing her very well and noticed her usual flat out position curled with her rear legs coming up when near the abdomen. I could see in her face she looked concerned. I gently rubbed the soft belly and her legs indeed came up again, abdomen flinching. I touched just under her right rib over the top of the soft belly where that first nipple is over the soft belly, she flinched, softly yelped and ran inside. I gave her maybe 10 sunflower seeds x2 last week. She is energetic, was just running wildly barking, and otherwise not showing ANY signs of illness. She eats the same kibble (Whole Earth Farms) for years. ANY insight? I am so glad I found this site.

July 22, 2018

Puppu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

It can be hard to determine where Puppu might be painful, as she can't tell you. It does seem to be fairly consistently at the middle of her belly, though, and it sounds like more than normal 'don't touch my belly' sort of behavior. I think it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian, as it seems to be going on and not improving, and they will be able to give her a good examination and abdominal palpation and see if the problem is with her bladder.

July 22, 2018

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chewy

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Constipation
Abnormal Breathing
Lathargic
Sensitive Abdom

My dog’s stomach is hard and when you touch it she starts to whimper. You can tell she has discomfort when laying down and she has her tail between her legs. Her breathing sounds abnormal/heavy and she sounds like she is in a lot of pain. She also hasn’t been going #2 as often as she used to. I am unsure of what to do and need help!

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Dante

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Great Dane

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5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Abdomen Pain
Lethargy
Excessive Salivation
Nausea
Short Periods Of Mild Heaving

My mother owns a 150-160lb large Great Dane who is also getting fairly old. His full sister died at the age of 6 and he will be this age in October of 2019. Tonight, he woke me up with what appears to be abdominal pain. When I place some pressure on his mid to lower abdomen he is in obvious distress and his stomach seem slightly descended as it is firm to the touch but I am not quite sure. He is salivating watery fluid along drooling more viscous fluid in excessive amounts. He seems lethargic and just exhausted like he has been trying to fall asleep but is unable to find a position that it comfortable. He seems extremely nauseated and he very mildly going through short periods of heaving. He also seems to have slight trouble breathing every time he swallows, almost as if he is having difficulty swallowing. He does have some joint and possible neurological issues due to his size which he is on some medication for along with many allergies which his most server allergies causing excessive itchiness. He is currently on a dose of 3 mls of Adequan monthly which has given him abdominal stress in the past, inducing vomiting type things but he has not vomited tonight and he only experiences these effects on the days it is given to him and his last dose was a week or two ago. I'm wondering if you have any advice as I don't really see it necessary to call our on-call vet at 1 AM. Thank you.:)

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Murphy

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Boston Terrier

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pain
Shaking
Abdomen Pain
Lethargy

My 5 year old Boston terrier was running around playing like normal, then jumped onto the couch and didn't get all the way on due to a stuffed toy in his mouth he was carrying. Immediately started crying, he has a small bump on his left side that is tender to the touch. He won't eat or drink and is just laying around and not really walking. If anyone knows what could be wrong please help.

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gracie

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

None

my 9 year old dachshund Gracie has been experiencing a major tummy ache for about a month now so I need some information. My dog also doesn't want to eat food or a special treat fresh fiji food water with three pieces of dog food.

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Stella

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Morkie

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

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-1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Thirst
Abdominal Discomfort

My 8 year old Morkie was recently diagnosed with Chronic Leukemia. When the oncologist looked at her May 2017 blood work results he said she had it then so as far as I know she has had it for about 2 years. The only reason I thought something was wrong with her was that she was drinking tons of water and her abdomen seemed tender. Blood work was done Dec. 2018 which confirmed Chronic Leukemia diagnosis. She then had ultrasound and urine culture done. She has an Ecoli UTI which is currently being treated. My concern is the abdominal pain. She shudders when I touch her abdomen on the left and right side. Ultrasound didn't show anything other than things consistent with her Leukemia like sludge in the gall bladder and slightly enlarged liver. Do you have any idea what could be causing the abdominal discomfort?

Painful Abdomen Average Cost

From 69 quotes ranging from $300 - $6,500

Average Cost

$1,800

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