To identify potential prognostic factors affecting outcome in septic peritonitis caused by gastrointestinal perforation in dogs and cats.


A retrospective study. Animals operated on for septic peritonitis because of gastrointestinal perforation were evaluated. Risk factors assessed included age, duration of clinical signs, recent prior abdominal surgery, recent prior anti-inflammatory drug administration, placement of a closed-suction drain and location of perforation.


Fifty-five animals (44 dogs and 11 cats) were included. The overall mortality was 63·6%. No association was found between age, duration of clinical signs or prior abdominal surgery and outcome. Animals with a history of prior anti-inflammatory drugs were significantly (P=0·0011) more likely to have perforation of the pylorus (73·3%). No significant difference in outcome was found between animals treated with closed-suction drains and those treated with primary closure or between pyloric perforation and perforation at other gastrointestinal sites.

Clinical Significance

Administration of anti-inflammatory drugs in dogs and cats is a significant risk factor for pyloric perforation. Pyloric perforation was not associated with a poorer outcome than perforation at other gastrointestinal sites. Placement of a closed suction drain did not improve outcome compared to primary closure.