Acute abdominal pain is often associated with a variety of disorders in small animals. Abdominal pain can be the result of
many different underlying diseases processes, many of which can be life threatening. Clinical signs can range from abdominal
distension, prayer-type postures, vomiting and diarrhea, to more serious findings such as collapse, hypovolemic shock, hypothermia,
and difficulty breathing. Acute abdominal pain thus requires rapid and efficient diagnostic evaluation with proper treatment
to facilitate patient survival.
Diseases causing severe abdominal pain can be categorized by the abdominal viscera:
√ Gastric dilation or volvulus
√ Mesenteric volvulus
√ Intestinal obstruction
√ Gastrointestinal perforation
√ Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
√ Biliary obstruction or stasis
√ Splenic torsion
√ Rupture or leakage
√ Prostatic abscess
√ Testicular torsion
√ Uterine torsion or rupture
Pain associated with any such disease processes can be the result of inflammation of the abdominal viscera or the peritoneum.
Inflammation can be secondary to infection, ischemia, distension or organ rupture or torsion. In addition, malperfusion or
poor perfusion of the abdominal region can result in tissue hypoxia and subsequent organ failure.
Diseases causing acute abdominal pain can affect multiple organ systems, specifically the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal
and neurologic systems. Physical evaluation of each system is paramount to successful therapy. Rapid stabilization techniques
should be instituted as life threatening problems are identified.