Abdominal Distension

Abdominal distension is often caused through obesity in dogs but this is not the only cause. Sometimes Cushing’s Syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) can cause redistribution of fat into the abdomen and Hypothyroidism (lack of the thyroid hormone) can cause enlargement of the abdomen; both of these causes are more common in dogs than cats.

Abdominal distension in cats and dogs can also be caused by the following problems:

  • Fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity
  • Liver disease
  • Cardiac disease
  • Abdominal tumours
  • Feline coronavirus disease (only in cats)
  • Internal bleeding/leakage of urine due to a trauma in the body

How is abdominal distension identified?

Your vet at Wellpets will begin by carrying out a thorough physical examination and lookat the history of your cat or dog. Blood and urine tests will also be taken to give an indication of how the liver and kidneys are working – the results of these tests will help to provide a diagnosis.

Will my pet need anymore tests?

This will depend on the test results. If the general tests throw back further problems, more extensive blood tests may need to be carried out to determine exactly what is wrong. Furthermore, if there are problems with organs such as the liver and kidneys then we will need to look at the serum bile acid levels or if the abdominal distension is due to a build up of fluid then we may need to perform fine needle aspiration to sample the fluid. In general, any further tests will be dependent on the results of the initial tests.