Peritonitis in German Shepherds: what it is and how to treat the disease

Peritonitis in German Shepherds, or canine peritonitis, is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the lining of the abdomen becomes inflamed and infected. This can be caused by a number of factors, including abdominal surgery, injury to the abdomen, or the presence of foreign objects in the abdomen.

German Shepherds are no more or less prone to canine peritonitis than any other breed of dog, but it is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

This condition is usually associated with trauma to the region or post-surgical complications. Although treatable, if the affected dog is not attended to quickly by a veterinarian, it may die.


What is peritonitis in German Shepherds?

First, it is important to understand that the peritoneum is a tissue that protects the entire abdominal cavity, including the viscera. Its main function is to carry out the absorption of liquids in that part of the body.

Inflammation of this region is called peritonitis in dogs and tends to develop after undergoing surgeries or being infected by diseases in the abdominal part of the dog.

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Types of Peritonitis in German Shepherds

There are different types of peritonitis in German Shepherds, classified according to the cause, extent, and degree of contamination of the infection. Therefore, it can be more or less serious depending on the above criteria.

Check out some of the types of canine peritonitis:

  1. Primary peritonitis: This type of peritonitis in German Shepherds is not caused by an underlying condition or injury. It is usually the result of an infection that spreads from the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the abdominal cavity.
  2. Secondary Peritonitis: This type of canine peritonitis is caused by an underlying condition or injury that leads to inflammation of the peritoneum. Causes of secondary peritonitis may include trauma, surgery, cancer, pancreatitis, and other conditions.
  3. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP): This is a specific type of secondary peritonitis caused by an infection of the peritoneum that occurs without an obvious underlying cause. It is more common in dogs with compromised immune systems or underlying liver diseases.
  4. Fungal Peritonitis: This is a rare type of peritonitis in dogs caused by a fungal infection of the peritoneum. It is most commonly seen in dogs with compromised immune systems or underlying conditions such as cancer or diabetes.

If you want to avoid this type of peritonitis in German Shepherds, you should read >>How to boost dogs’ immune systems naturally

Regardless of the type of canine peritonitis, prompt medical treatment is essential to prevent serious complications and improve the chances of recovery. If you suspect your dog may have peritonitis, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Peritonitis in German Shepherds: What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of peritonitis in German Shepherds are similar to those of other infections, like incontinence in dogs.

Symptoms of peritonitis in dogs may include:

  • abdominal pain and tenderness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Depression or lethargy

More serious cases can result in multiple organ failure and septic shock, so seek medical attention as soon as you notice any symptoms!

What are the causes of peritonitis in German Shepherds?

Just like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, peritonitis in German Shepherds is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the lining of the abdomen becomes inflamed. There are several causes of peritonitis in dogs, which  include:

  1. Infection: Canine peritonitis can be caused by bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Common sources of infection include the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract, and the reproductive system.
  2. Trauma: Physical trauma to the abdomen, such as a car accident or a bite wound, can cause peritonitis in German Shepherds.
  3. Foreign body ingestion: If your German Shepherd ingests a foreign object, such as a toy or a piece of food, it can become lodged in the intestine and cause peritonitis.
  4. Tumors: Abdominal tumors can cause peritonitis by disrupting the normal function of the organs in the abdomen.
  5. Inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or pancreatitis, can cause peritonitis in dogs.

However, it is difficult to identify peritonitis through symptoms, which is why an annual check-up and follow-up after surgery are essential not only for this problem but also for others.

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Is there a cure for peritonitis in German Shepherds?

Even when the diagnosis is serious, the inflammation can be cured. However, the sooner the problem is identified, the greater the chances of the animal getting around the condition and stabilizing.

If your German Shepherd is diagnosed with canine peritonitis, your veterinarian will likely recommend a combination of antibiotics to treat the underlying infection.

Your dog may also need to receive fluids intravenously to help restore hydration and electrolyte balance.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the source of the infection or repair any damaged organs.

It is important to follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations closely and bring your dog back for follow-up appointments as directed. With prompt and appropriate treatment, many dogs with peritonitis can make a full recovery. However, if left untreated, peritonitis can be fatal.

You now understand what peritonitis in German Shepherds is, as well as its causes, symptoms, and treatment. Share this with your friends on social media.