Ascites may develop in any dog but are most common in dogs having a low level of protein or any organ failure. There is a wide range of causes of ascites and the fluid seeps out into the abdominal cavity from different diseased organs, leaks out from tricuspid valves of the heart, migration of parasites, and because higher blood pressure in the blocked vessels. This fluid accumulation can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty in breathing because Fluid exerts pressure on different organs of the body. It can be treated with a combination of multiple therapies but can redevelop if the original cause is not treated successfully.
Freely floating fluid in the abdominal cavity is known as ascites which cause abdominal distention. Ascites are a secondary sign of some serious issue such as liver disease, heart failure, or cancer and need to be diagnosed with the original cause of ascites to be treated.
Symptoms of Ascites
The main signs of ascites are as follows:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Decrease appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Weight gain
Causes of ascites in dogs
The main causes of ascites are as follows
- Congestive heart failure
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Chronic Liver failure
- Congestive heart failure
- Renal failure
- Low level of albumen
- Worms infestation specially hook worms
Diagnosis of Ascites
A physical examination by your veterinarian and X-Ray recommendation if there is free fluid in the abdominal cavity then ultrasound may also be performed to diagnose the original cause. Blood tests and Urine analyses are also required to further evaluate the reason for abdominal fluid. Insert the needle into the abdominal cavity and suck fluid for further laboratory evaluation that helps to find out the original cause of ascites.
The treatment of Ascites varies according to the original cause of ascites. Sometime surgery is required to diagnose the original cause of ascites with various medications and a special diet with restricted sodium given to animals. For immediate relief from discomfort drain the fluid from the abdominal cavity by your veterinarian and this process is known as abdominocentesis. But if the original cause of ascites is not corrected by diet change, medication, and after surgery, this abdominocentesis is performed on regular basis. Abdominocentesis usually does not require sedation or anesthesia.
Ascites Prevention in Dogs
It is very hard to prevent ascites in dogs because there are too many reasons for ascites in dogs. But the things you can do to help your dog prevent ascites are regular health checkups and blood tests to look out for any abnormality in the body. This can help you diagnose the disease at an early stage and prevent fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity.