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Understanding Feline Abdominal Distension

If your cat's abdomen has become larger, it may be suffering from abdominal distension. This term refers to an enlargement of the abdomen that is caused by problems other than obesity. There are actually several possible causes of abdominal distension, with treatment for the condition varying according to the cause of the disorder.

Causes of Abdominal Distention

One possible cause of abdominal distension is the accumulation of fluid. This accumulation can be caused by a number of different health issues. These include:

o Blood from an internal hemorrhage
o Urine from a urinary tract tear
o Exudate, a fluid caused by infection
o Transudates, which are fluids that are leaked from vessels

Abdominal distension can also be caused when an organ becomes enlarged, such as the spleen, liver or kidney. Your cat may also experience abdominal distension due to injury, during pregnancy or due to tension in the abdominal area or other organs.

Symptoms of Abdominal Distension

In addition to having an enlarged abdominal cavity, there are other signs and symptoms (some extremely serious) that are commonly associated with abdominal distension. Some other symptoms your cat may exhibit include:

o Change in urinary habits
o Change in bowel habits
o Decreased appetite
o Diarrhea
o Difficulty breathing
o Diminished activity level
o Loss of fat
o Loss of muscle
o Sudden weakness
o Vomiting
o Wretching

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away so your cat can be examined. Failure to act quickly can lead to an increase in the severity of the condition, unneeded surgery, or even death.

Diagnosing and Treating Abdominal Distension

Diagnosing abdominal distension involves determining the cause. As such, your veterinarian will likely complete a number of different procedures in order to determine the specific problem. These procedures include:

o Abdominal ultrasounds
o Abdominal x-rays
o Abdominocentesis
o Biopsy
o Blood tests
o Chest x-rays
o Physical examination
o Specific tests on organs
o Urinalysis

After determining the cause of the abdominal distension, your doctor will be able to effectively treat the disorder. If the distension was caused by fluid in the abdomen, the fluid will be drained or your veterinarian may choose to administer a diuretic to remove the fluid. If the abdominal distension is caused by organ enlargement, the veterinarian may need to perform surgery to investigate further.

If the abdominal distension is caused by liquid accumulation resulting from diseases such as heart failure or cirrhosis, the veterinarian will need to take steps to treat these diseases while also draining the fluids in order to alleviate the pressure.

Abdominal distension is usually caused by a very serious disease or disorder. Therefore, it is essential for you to seek medical treatment for your cat right away if you notice abdominal enlargement. Quick action on your part to seek treatment will increase the likelihood your precious kitty will get through the disorder safely. Waiting too long, on the other hand, can lead to devastating effects for you and your feline friend.

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