Dog’s Swollen Abdomen Could Be Serious

Anytime a dog’s stomach swells suddenly, it calls for a trip to the vet.


Q. What would cause a dog’s belly to look a lot larger in just a short period of time. Our dog hasn’t had any contact with male dogs, so I was wondering what it could be other than pregnancy?

A. An unexplained enlargement or swelling of your dog’s abdomen may be a medical or surgical emergency, especially if it happens suddenly. If you called our emergency hospital, we would tell you to come right in.

It could be a uterine infection about to rupture, a spleen or liver bleeding into the abdomen, bleeding due to ingestion of mouse poison, fluid from liver or heart failure, or Cushing’s disease, a hormonal disease of the adrenal gland.
There is, in fact, no condition that would cause a harmless enlargement of the belly, except possibly excessive digestive gas or an episode of overeating.
At our emergency hospital, we are trained to “worry” about all of the bad things that can happen to pets. Since your female dog has not been spayed, I would be most concerned about a uterine infection. Untreated, these infections will result in sepsis, an infection of the bloodstream that is usually fatal. Please get in to see your veterinarian or go to a veterinary emergency hospital as soon as possible.


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Melissa   Suisun City, California

6/20/2013 2:52:32 PM

My 12 year old Pug has a swollen abdomen and swollen front and back legs. We have ruled out the most common diseases. We are spending a lot of money on all these tests and still dont know what is causing this problem.

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

6/12/2013 2:23:16 PM

Good information. We lost our 13 year old girl after she had a swollen belly due to enlarged spleen and it turned out to be cancerous.

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theresa   chicago, Illinois

5/29/2013 9:39:39 AM

I have a pit bull/labrador retriever mix; female, 10 years old who developed a swollen abdomen about 4 days ago. She had been constantly drinking water from the toilet for over 4 weeks (I had told my children to keep the toilet seat down). She still has an appetite; she walks, climb stairs. I will not have any money for a vet visit for 5 days and every facility that we call refuses to treat her without payment.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

5/1/2013 4:00:49 AM

Good information to know. I have a tendency to be cautions and if there is something I do not know about or understand that is going on with my dog's health always take my dog to our VET.

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