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When is abdominal swelling in dogs an emergency?

A swollen abdomen can be caused by many different conditions with varying urgency, so it may be difficult to know when you’re dealing with an emergency. A good rule of thumb is that when abdominal swelling is accompanied by signs of pain, it is an emergency situation. These signs could include:

  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Collapse

If you observe any combination of these signs, it is important to call your veterinary clinic immediately, or to contact your local emergency clinic if it is after hours. In the meantime, keep your dog quiet and be careful handling them as they may bite since they’re in pain.

If your dog appears to have a swollen abdomen, and it is affecting their appetite or you notice any other changes in their behavior, it is important to contact your veterinary clinic to discuss what you are seeing, and based on their level of concern they may tell you to come in immediately or they may book you for the following day.

Pro Tip: Any signs of pain in combination with abdominal swelling is an emergency situation. Keep them quiet and take care handling them as they may bite.

References for Abdominal Swelling 

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