Signs and Diagnosis
More common in dogs than cats, especially older, large breed dogs such as German Shepherds and Labradors, the clinical signs of this condition are lethargy, lack of appetite, weakness, and abdominal distention. X-rays and an ultrasound are used to diagnose hemoabdomen. Other ancillary diagnostics like a cardiac ultrasound, EKG, and blood work should also be performed to identify and support the determination.
The first step in the treatment process is to stabilize the situation to stop further hemorrhaging. This is done through fluid therapy and a blood transfusion. A compressive bandage is then placed around the abdomen to slow blood loss. Once the condition is stabilized, the bandage can be removed. If your pet has lost a large volume of blood, oxygen therapy will be necessary. Pain medications are administered to keep your pet comfortable and calm. Vitamin K is administered for anticoagulant intoxication. Exploratory surgery may be necessary to stop the bleeding if there is an abdominal mass.
If your pet exhibits signs of spontaneous hemoabdomen or has suffered a traumatic injury, quick emergency care is essential for a positive outcome. We work quickly to stabilize your pet and perform diagnostic tests to confirm the condition. If surgery is required, we do more blood tests to determine which anesthesia to use. We carefully monitor your pet's heart rate, oxygen level, respiration, and body temperature during surgery. It is important that your pet's physical activity be restricted during recovery. After-care instructions will be provided, but it may be necessary to crate your pet or keep them confined to a small space.