Objective—To determine the outcome of and prognostic
indicators for dogs and cats with pneumoperitoneum
and no history of penetrating trauma.
Animals—43 dogs and 11 cats.
Procedure—Medical records of dogs and cats with
radiographic evidence of pneumoperitoneum and no
history of penetrating trauma were reviewed.
Information collected included signalment, previous
medical problems, initial complaint, duration of illness,
physical examination findings, radiographic findings,
laboratory abnormalities, abdominocentesis
results, bacterial culture results, concurrent diseases,
hospitalization time, and outcome. Abdominal radiographs
were reviewed, and radiographic severity of
pneumoperitoneum was classified. For those animals
that underwent exploratory laparotomy, time from
admission to surgery and results of histologic examination
of biopsy specimens were recorded.
Results—24 (44%) animals survived and were discharged
from the hospital, but none of the variables
examined was associated with whether animals survived.
Rupture of the gastrointestinal tract was the
cause of pneumoperitoneum in 40 animals. However,
cause and location of gastrointestinal tract rupture
was not associated with whether animals survived.
Twenty-three of 40 (58%) animals that underwent
exploratory laparotomy survived, compared with only
1 of 14 animals that did not undergo surgery.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that pneumoperitoneum in dogs and cats without
any history of penetrating trauma is most commonly
associated with rupture of the gastrointestinal tract
and requires immediate surgical intervention. Even
when appropriate treatment is instituted, the shortterm
prognosis is only fair. (J Am Vet Med Assoc