Peritonitis in dogs can be life threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention. Primary peritonitis is uncommon, typically spread to the peritoneum by blood from another location. Secondary peritonitis is more common and is a result of surgery, injury or disease.
The peritoneum is the thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers all the abdominal organs.
A bacterial, fungal or viral infection of the peritoneum is called peritonitis. It occurs in humans, dogs, cats and other animals.
When your dog has an infection, disease, ulcers or lesions effecting organs, peritonitis can spread from the original site to the peritoneum though the blood vessels. Primary peritonitis usually develops slowly and can take days or even months to show symptoms.
Secondary peritonitis develops fast and spreads quickly. It is caused by bacteria, foreign objects, fecal matter and other infectious agents introduced directly through surgery, injury or trauma to the abdominal area.
Dogs with peritonitis may have the following symptoms: dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, weakness, swollen abdominal area, depression or shock. Shock symptoms include pale gums, weak pulse, fast heart rate and rapid breathing. Immediate veterinary care is necessary to prevent death.