Ascites is a fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity. Paracentesis , (the removal of the abdominal fluid) can be not only therapeutic but diagnostic. In many cases a fluid analysis can be done that may help determine the cause, but the ultrasound seemed to give some direction.

In the case of a cat, one possibility is feline infectious peritonitis, which is a viral disease. Often accompanied by high fever, it is usually fatal. Your cat’s age makes me think her ascites was probably not due to FIP but rather a liver condition, some kind of abdominal cancer or heart failure. Blood work may have been diagnostic but ultimately either a cardiac evaluation or abdominal biopsies would have most likely given answers. Had the cause been identified, treatment may have consisted of various medications starting with a diuretic, low-salt diet and periodic abdominal fluid removal.

The problem is that, despite getting answers, sometimes we can still do nothing to improve a situation and that may well have been the case with your cat.

John de Jong, D.V.M., is the owner/operator of Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and CEO/director at Boston Animal Hospital.

One response to “Causes of Ascites in a Cat”

  1. Barbara Keys says:

    I have a16 yr. Old female, she is hungry & thirsty all of the time, drinks a lot of water..When she pees, often it is like clay, then gets like concrete. I can’t get her in box to take to vet. I,m on very low income too, if its too much to care for her’& if there’s nothing I can do @ home, just wondered if it sounds like kidney or diabetes. Thank you, Barbara Keys

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