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Comparison of dogs with septic peritonitis: 1988–1993 versus 1999–2003


  • Presented at the 2006 ACVS Symposium, Washington, DC.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Cynthia M. Otto, MJR-VHUP, 3900 Delancey St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Objective: To describe and compare the patient population, treatment, and outcome in dogs with septic peritonitis from 2 time periods at the same institution.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: The Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

Animals: Dogs treated surgically for septic peritonitis between 1988–1993 and 1999–2003.

Interventions: None.

Measurements: Preoperative physical and clinicopathologic data, surgical findings, anesthetic parameters, treatment, and outcome.

Main results: No significant difference in survival among dogs treated surgically for septic peritonitis between 1988 and 1993 (21/33 [64%]) and 1999–2003 (29/51 [57%]) was detected. The patient populations of the two time periods were similar. Changes in treatment between the study periods reflected availability of new antibiotics and synthetic colloids, as well as greater attention to pain management and ulcer prevention. Duration of hospitalization was not significantly different between the two time periods, but the daily cost adjusted to 2005 dollars was higher in 1999–2003. Potential prognostic indicators were compared between survivors and non-survivors after combining the data from both time periods, and although several parameters reached statistical significance, of greatest clinical significance were the higher blood pressure and preoperative serum albumin in survivors.

Conclusions: Although new treatments were added to the supportive care of dogs with septic peritonitis, survival did not change sufficiently to detect a significant difference between the time periods evaluated. Identifying reliable prognostic indicators for septic peritonitis remains a challenge, but hypotension and decreased preoperative serum albumin were associated with non-survival in this group of dogs.