Article Text

Companion Animal Practice
Emergency management of the acute abdomen in dogs and cats
  1. Amanda Boag

    Amanda Boag graduated from Cambridge in 1998 and undertook small animal internships at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the University of Pennsylvania in the USA. She returned to the RVC in 2000 to take up a residency in small animal internal medicine. She is currently a lecturer in emergency and critical care/internal medicine at the RVC.

  2. Dez Hughes

    Dez Hughes graduated from Liverpool in 1990 and subsequently spent 11 years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed an internship, residency and lectureship in emergency and critical care. He is currently a senior lecturer at the RVC and director of its emergency and critical care service.

1. Investigation and initial stabilisation


MANAGEMENT of an animal with an acute abdomen presents one of the greatest challenges in veterinary emergency medicine. This clinical syndrome has a large number of possible causes, many of which require urgent surgery to optimise the chances of a successful outcome. Rapid assessment of the patient's major body systems (particularly the cardiovascular system) and early institution of supportive medical therapy are a priority while a definitive diagnosis is sought and a suitable treatment plan is formulated. This article describes key aspects of the investigation and initial stabilisation of dogs and cats with an acute abdomen. An article in the next issue of In Practice will discuss the surgical treatment of acute abdominal conditions in small animals.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.