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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18155
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My male Jack Russel (13 1/2 yrs old) suddenly developed an

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My male Jack Russel (13 1/2 yrs old) suddenly developed an distended abdomen.This condition appeared overnight(Thursday 22nd) and extremely fast.He had been weighed at the vets for travelling 2 weeks ago and weighed in at a healthy 11kgs,due to this condition he was weighed again at the local vets (Sat 24th) and was 12.08 kgs.The vets ran a basic scan+ a catalyst-full profile GHP+P+Elect+Haem.Bloods showed mild increase in ALT/ALKP,mild low globulin,marked increase White Blood Cells.
Basic scan showed -free fluid-abdominocentesis revealed serious looking fluid-NOT fresh blood,Liver appears enlarged-extends beyond the costal arch,but hard to assess due to extensive fluid.Peristalsis present in intestine from what can be seen.Circumstances leading up to this incident was that at play(Wed 21st) with another JR,my dog was accidentally crushed with back legs splayed outwards causing extreme pain,appeared to recover but not quite fully,had immediate difficulty in climbing stairs at home,whereas no problems before.Abdomen today appears even larger,dog more and more unresponsive as time goes on,stands with difficulty due to weight of fluid in abdomen,has to be carried -unable to cock leg etc.Another Vet appointment today,confidence in their diagnostic procedure quite low due to rapid deterioration of dog.Expect weight of my dog to have increased even more !! Would appreciate any advice.Medication-issued with diuretic but stopped after 2 days -dog unable to stop drinking!!and as I was informed his stomach was clear, he seemed to be over-pressurising his internals to the point that when attempting to defaecate(rarely) its under incredible pressure.Thanks for any advice.

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to see that you have been waiting quite a while for an answer. I believe that your question was posted late at night when few veterinarians were available to answer. If you still need advice I'd like to try and help Seamus.


Given how quickly he became symptomatic I would be concerned that Seamus has one or more liver cysts that were ruptured secondary to the trauma suffered playing with his XXXXX XXXXX buddy. That would explain the serous fluid in his abdomen, enlarged liver with mildly elevated liver enzymes and his low globulin levels and increased white blood cell count.


Liver cysts are fluid filled cysts on the liver that tend to grow slowly and are usually benign. They can be present from birth or develop later. They don't usually interfere with liver function much as the rest of the liver takes over, and if there is a single cyst removal is curative.


If the cyst ruptures then fluid can fill the abdomen and the dog can become shocky due to changes in abdominal pressure on his other organs. I highly recommend that your fellow see a veterinary internal medicine specialist or board certified surgeon as soon as possible. I believe that he needs surgery to explore his abdomen and remove the leaking cyst.


Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks for your response. Approximately 4 years ago,whilst being scanned for another ailment,I was informed of the presence of various liver cysts.As you mentioned in your answer they appeared to be benign,but I was totally unaware of the possibility of rupturing,and to have such an energetic fellow as he was,the chances were high of such an outcome.To this end I believe you have confirmed my fears of the cause of this tragedy.We had the fluid drained from his abdomen (1 and 1/2 litres )and re-scanned by another vet,this confirmed a large anomaly present on the liver.As I could feel this shape easily with the fluid drained and am convinced that no such growth was present prior to this situation,I can only agree with your suspicions.We had Seamus put to sleep yesterday evening.Thankyou for your assistance at this sad time.

Kind regards

Thank you for letting me know how things turned out for Seamus, my deepest condolences on your loss. I understand how difficult it must have been to watch a vibrant, happy fellow turn into a very uncomfortable, lethargic boy so quickly.
If multiple cysts were present and more then one had ruptured even immediate surgery may not have been enough to turn things around. I understand what a difficult decision that must have been but I believe it a very humane one taking into account his best interests. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts, take care, Dr. Kara.
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