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.
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