Everyone knows that when it comes to health, prevention is always better than cure, and for this, there is nothing like being well informed. Our pets, unfortunately, cannot explicitly warn us that something bad happens to them when they get sick or get a certain infection. Therefore, our duty as owners is to know some of the most common diseases in dogs, their symptoms, how to prevent them, and above all take them to the vet for their periodic check-ups.
One of the most common diseases in dogs is peritonitis. Peritonitis is an inflammation of the serous membrane that lines the interior of the animal’s abdominal cavity and causes severe irritation in the area. This membrane is called the peritoneum (hence the name of the disease) and it is responsible for absorbing fluids that should not be filtered in the anatomical area.


This disease is one of the most serious that dogs can experience, however, depending on the cause, the evolution of the anomaly and its outcome can be very different. Initially, depending on the presence or absence of bacteria and viruses, peritonitis was classified into the septic (presence of bacteria) and non-septic (absence of bacteria) peritonitis. Within the non-septic ones they were subdivided into two groups:

Neoplastic peritonitis is those that are produced by the release of neoplastic content inside the abdominal cavity that causes an alteration of the serosa and leads to its inflammation.

Chemical peritonitis: caused by a spill of blood, bile, urine, or pancreatic enzymes.
However, currently, this disease has a simpler classification that is based on the process that causes alteration. Thus, peritonitis may be primary if the membrane alteration develops in the peritoneum; secondary, if the inflammation is caused by an alteration of the rest of the viscera that make up the abdomen; and tertiary when it comes to tumor rupture, neoplastic effusions, and trauma.


First of all, you should know that there is no way to prevent the appearance of this disease. However, the sooner symptoms are detected and a veterinarian is seen, the sooner pets can be treated, and the sooner they will recover.

Your dog can develop peritonitis from causes such as trauma to the abdominal area, from a bacterial infection, from an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), from a narrowing of the gallbladder ducts (stenosis), from developing some type of cancer, or even as a result of surgical interventions in the abdominal cavity.


Given the impossible prevention of peritonitis, it is essential that you know and be alert to the possible symptoms that your pets may experience. The common symptoms are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal distention

They do not have to occur all at once so, in the presence of any of them, it is best that you go to the vet to perform certain tests that allow you to get out of doubt as soon as possible.

At the veterinarian, the tests that the dogs will perform in case of symptoms of peritonitis will consist of a physical examination, an x-ray, an ultrasound that allows to observe the liver and, in most cases, will also carry out a blood test , a urinalysis and a complete blood count.

The blood test will allow us to know if the liver enzymes are high and if there is the presence of bile in the urine of our dog. On the other hand, by means of ultrasounds and X-rays, the veterinarian will be able to observe if there is a leak of bile in the liver. All these tests will help you to accurately diagnose if your dog has peritonitis and what type and severity it is.


Peritonitis can be localized or generalized, which will mean that it is more or less serious. In this way, the treatment of the disease will depend directly on the type of peritonitis that your pet suffers and on the severity of it. In any case, all peritonitis treatment must treat the disease infection -if there is one-, it must stabilize the physiological constants of the animal and, finally, it must find out and correct the cause of the problem. On occasions when, for example, there is an accumulation of fluids and abdominal drainage is necessary, the animal must undergo surgical intervention.

If you like this content, please share it with your friends