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Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook

PAINFUL ABDOMEN (ACUTE ABDOMEN)

An acute abdomen is an emergency that can lead to death unless treatment is started as soon as possible.

The condition is characterized by the sudden onset of abdominal pain along with vomiting; retching; extreme restlessness and inability to find a comfortable position; purring; meowing and crying; grunting; and labored breathing. The abdomen is extremely painful when pressed. A characteristic position is sometimes seen in which the cat rests its chest against the floor with its rump up in the air (prayer position). As the condition worsens, its pulse becomes weak and thready, its mucous membranes appear pale, and it goes into shock.


A painful abdomen indicates the need for immediate veterinary attention.

ONE OF THE FOLLOWING MAY BE THE CAUSE:

Urinary obstruction caused by bladder stones

Blunt abdominal trauma (being hit by a car) with internal bleeding

Rupture of the bladder

Perforation of the stomach and intestines

Poisoning

Rupture of a pregnant uterus

Acute peritonitis

Intestinal obstruction

A cat with an acute abdomen is critically ill and should have immediate veterinary attention.


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