Acute Painful Abdomen in Dogs

An acute painful abdomen is an emergency that may lead to death of the dog unless treatment is started at once. The signs of an acute abdomen are the sudden onset of pain, along with whining and crying, retching and vomiting, extreme restlessness and inability to find a comfortable position, grunting, and labored breathing. The abdomen is extremely painful when pressed.

Characteristically, the dog may assume a prayer position with his chest to the floor and his rump in the air. As the condition worsens, the dog's pulse becomes weak and thready, the mucous membranes become pale, and the dog goes into shock.

If you see any of these signs, call your veterinarian at once! Early surgical intervention is life-saving.

One of the following conditions may be the cause of acute abdomen:

  • Bloat
  • Urinary stones obstructing the bladder
  • Trauma to the abdomen with internal injury
  • Rupture of the bladder
  • Poisoning
  • Rupture of the pregnant uterus
  • Peritonitis
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Twisting of the intestines

This article is excerpted from “Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.