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Abdomen: peritonitis

Clapis

Introduction

  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum) in the rabbit can be acute or chronic.
  • Acute peritonitis is generally diffuse and severe.
  • Cause: bacteria mainly involved are E. coli.
  • If the rabbit survives this acute phase it will develop a chronic peritonitis generally characterized by the formation of abscesses.
  • Signs: abdominal distension/pain, anorexia, reduced fecal output.
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs, blood sampling, abdominocentesis, radiography, ultrasonography, explorative laparotomy, peritoneal lavage.
  • Treatment: fluid therapy, abdominal lavage, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: prognosis is generally considered poor due to the acute onset and high mortality rate.

Print off the Owner Factsheet on Peritonitis   to give to your client.

Presenting signs

  • Abdominal distension.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Anorexia.
  • Reduced fecal output.

Acute presentation

  • Shock.
  • Increased respiratory rate.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Scagnelli A (2017) Therapeutic review: Pentoxifylline. J Exotic Pet Med 26 (3), 238-240 ResearchGate.
  • Szabo Z, Bradley K & Cahalane A K (2016) Rabbit soft tissue surgery. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract​ 19 (1), 159-188 PubMed.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (2007) Gastric dilation and intestinal obstruction in 76 rabbits. Vet Rec 161 (12), 409-414 PubMed.
  • McGrotty Y & Doust R (2004) Management of peritonitis in dogs and cats. In Pract 26 (7), 358-367 VetMedResource.
  • Staatz A J, Monnet E & Seim H B 3rd (2002) Open peritoneal drainage versus primary closure for the treatment of septic peritonitis in dogs and cats: 42 cases (1993-1999). Vet Surg 31 (2), 174-180 PubMed.
  • Matute-Bello G, Frevert C W, Kajikawa O et al (2001) Septic shock and acute lung injury in rabbits with peritonitis: failure of the neutrophil response to localized infection.​ Am J Crit Care Med 163 (1), 234-243 PubMed.
  • Steinleitner A, Lambert H, Kazensky C et al (1990) Pentoxifylline, a methylxanthine derivative, prevents postsurgical adhesion reformation in rabbits. Obstet Gynecol 75 (6), 926-928 PubMed.
  • Bjotvedt G, Bertke E M, Hendricks G M (1979) Peritonitis due to pasteurella multocida in a rabbit. Vet Med Small Anim Clin 74 (2), 215-216 PubMed.
  • Welch E L, Navab M (1967) Standardized peritonitis in the rabbit. Dis Colon Rectum 10 (2), 125-128 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Richardson J & Keeble E (2014) Physical Examination and Clinical Techniques. In: British Small Animal Veterinary Association Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: A Meredith & B Lord.  BSAVA, UK. pp 80-107.
  • Saunders R (2013) Exploratory Laparotomy. In: British Small Animal Veterinary Association Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: F Harcourt-Brown & J Chitty.  BSAVA, UK. pp 157-171.
  • Varga M (2013) Basic Principles of Soft Tissue Surgery. In: British Small Animal Veterinary Association Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: F Harcourt-Brown & J Chitty.  BSAVA, UK. pp 123-137.
  • Schneider R (2011) Rodents: Ascites. In: Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. 2nd edn. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 552-553.
  • Ward M (2006) Physical examination and clinical techniques. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Meredith A & Flecknell P. 2nd edn. pp 18-36.
  • Saunders R & Davies R (2005) Vaginal prolapsed. In: Notes on Rabbit Internal Medicine. pp 8-10.
  • Swindle M & Shealy PM (1996) Common Surgical Procedures in Rodents and Rabbits. In: Handbook of Rodent and Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Laber-Laird K, Swindle M M & Flecknell P. Elsevier Science Ltd, UK. pp 239-254.

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