Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Ascites in dogs

3 June 2021

Ascites is a condition in which too much fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity of the dog. It's a very uncomfortable situation for the animal and is accompanied by intensive vomiting and loss of appetite. As ascites is caused by a variety of reasons, there's no clear-cut cure. Everything depends on the individual case and the needs of the affected animal.

Ascites occurs in both dogs and cats. In the following text, however, we will deal with cases of dogs - their causes, risks and possible treatments.

Ascites in dogs

A dog suffering from ascites can communicate it in many ways. First of all, weakness and lack of energy appear, sometimes even passing into a state of lethargy and apathy. Large fluctuations in body weight occur - the dog may gain or lose kilograms rapidly. In extreme cases it may even lead to anorexia.

Ascites in dogs - causes

Fluid can accumulate in the abdomen for many different reasons. This includes ailments such as abdominal cancer or bleeding in the abdomen, as well as damage to certain internal organs such as the liver and bladder. It can also be caused by low protein levels in the blood. Fluid accumulation in the abdomen is also a result of heart failure. Renal syndrome is also common.

ascites in a dog prognosis

Ascites in dogs - prognosis

In order to find out the causes of the complaint and determine the appropriate treatment, it is first necessary to perform the appropriate diagnostic tests. To do so, the doctor will take samples of fluid from the abdomen of the affected dog. A blood count and urinalysis are also performed. In some cases, X-ray examinations are useful.

When making a diagnosis, of course, all other symptoms are taken into account - not just the test results. Only so you can determine whether the fluid collecting in the abdomen is the result of liver or bladder damage, heart failure or any other cause. Only after accurate determination of the nature of the problem can decisions be made regarding further treatment.

Ascites in dogs - treatment

There is no one standard method of treating ascites in dogs. Everything depends on the specific problem and its causes. Often, the first step is to remove the accumulated fluid from the abdomen. It is very important especially in the case when there is a lot of it, which means great discomfort for the animal.

In some cases, surgical treatment is required. This method is used primarily to treat the tumor present in the abdomen. The operation will also be necessary in the situation when there is a strong bleeding in the abdomen that needs to be controlled.

Various medications are also used to treat ascites. Their selection, of course, depends on the specific type of disease. Antibiotics are used in the case of ascites resulting from a bacterial infection. Every drug therapy carries the risk of weakening the dog's body again. It is therefore very important to choose the right remedies to minimize this risk.


Prevention of ascites is quite difficult, because there are many different factors that can cause it. You can of course limit some of these factors, such as damage to organs in the abdominal cavity. You should not keep your dog in cramped quarters.It is worth remembering that this is very bad for your dog's health and can lead to serious injuries. On the dog must be careful during walks, so that he does not accidentally damage his body - such injuries often lead to internal bleeding.