Peritonitis is an inflammation of the serous skin that covers the inside of the abdominal cavity and the abdominal organs.
Peritonitis usually develops over a number of days or even weeks, while symptoms such as abdominal swelling, lethargy, fever and anorexia become more intense. If the peritonitis is the result of another condition, further symptoms may be present concurrently. Later stages of the disease can be very painful for the animal.
Common causes of peritonitis: any rurpture or perforation of the abdominal organs, i.e., intestines, bladder, or stomach, as the result of an accidental piercing by a foreign body. Other causes are bacterial or viral infection, parasites or tumors.
Diagnosis is based upon clinical examination and laboratory testing. Stabilization of the patient with intravenous fluid is the first part of treatment. Subsequently, surgery is often required to remove any possible foreign bodies that may have entered into the animal's body, and to seal ruptured organs.
If your animal is showing symptoms of peritonitis, consult a veterinary clinic immediately.