Help! Acute abdomen: what do I do?

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: An “acute abdomen” is defined as a condition of severe abdominal pain due to disease or injury of one or more abdominal organs, usually requiring surgery. The most common causes of acute abdomen in dog and cats are septic peritonitis and haemoabdomen. The purpose of this session is to consider different clinical presentations of acute abdomen, specifically the changes seen in different body systems, such as the cardiovascular system, and consider why this assessment is important.

A patient with ‘acute abdomen’ may have a condition, or conditions affecting different organs or groups of organs and many will require eventual surgery. The purpose of the pre-surgical evaluation is to stabilise the patient appropriately but also to help diagnose the pathology, so the surgeon is better prepared. This presentation discusses the assessment of these patients in terms of appropriate pre-surgical evaluation including blood, drugs and imaging including point of care diagnostics that might influence further therapy or provide prognostic information. The aim is to enable the surgeon to optimise surgical outcomes for their patients and improve their confidence in managing these difficult cases.

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