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  • Author or Editor: Merilee F. Costello x
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Objective—To determine the underlying cause, pathophysiologic abnormalities, and response to treatment in cats with septic peritonitis and identify differences between cats that survived following treatment and cats that did not survive despite treatment.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—51 cats with septic peritonitis.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for clinical findings; results of clinicopathologic testing, microbial culture, and radiography; diagnosis; treatment; and outcome.

Results—Signs of pain during palpation of the abdomen were reported for only 29 of 47 (62%) cats. Eight (16%) cats had relative bradycardia (heart rate < 140 beats/min). The most commonly isolated organisms included Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp, and Clostridium spp. The most common cause of peritonitis was gastrointestinal tract leakage (24 cats). No definitive source could be identified in 7 cats. Treatment, including exploratory surgery, was pursued in 23 cats, of which 16 (70%) survived and were discharged. There were no significant differences between survivors and nonsurvivors in regard to heart rate, age, rectal temperature, serum lactate concentration, WBC count, PCV, blood glucose concentration, or serum albumin concentration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that clinicopathologic abnormalities and outcome in cats with septic peritonitis are similar to those reported for dogs. However, certain features may be unique, including an absence of signs of pain during abdominal palpation, relative bradycardia, and apparent spontaneous peritonitis in some cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:897–902)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association