Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Abdomen: distention

Synonym(s): Abdominal enlargement

Contributor(s): Alfred Merritt, Graham Munroe

Introduction

  • Cause: enlargement of the abdomen brought about by increased intra-abdominal pressure or by abnormalities of the abdominal wall.
  • Signs: variable, dependent on cause.
  • Diagnosis: physical examination, rectal examination, auscultation, laparoscopy, abdominocentesis, radiography, ultrasound, exploratory laparotomy.
  • Treatment: dependent on cause.
  • Prognosis: dependent on cause can be serious and life-threatening.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • One of the 'Seven Fs', ie:
    • Fat.
    • Fluid.
    • Food.
    • Feces.
    • Fetus.
    • Flatus.
    • Foreign body.

Gas accumulation

Fluid accumulation

Intra-abdominal mass

Body wall abnormalites

Specific

  • Crib-biters: aerophagia.
  • Carbohydrate overload: bloat.
  • Sandy soils: sand impaction.
  • Pregnancy.

Pathophysiology

  • Increased intra-abdominal pressure from fluid or gas accumulation or a tissue mass    →   abdominal distention. 
  • Abnormalities of the body wall itself can   →    an increase in abdominal size.

Timecourse

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Mair T, Divers T & Ducharme N (2002) Manual of Equine Gastroenterology. W B Saunders.
  • Brown C M & Bertone J J (2002) The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult Equine. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.


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