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ABDOMINAL (Belly) SWELLING (abdominal distension)

Dogs (and rarely cats) with heart failure can develop fluid build-up in their belly (also called ascites). This results in enlargement, or distension, of their abdomen. It can happen gradually and sometimes is not apparent until there is a significant fluid build-up.

You may see that your dog’s abdomen looks round or “pot-bellied”, and some dogs show signs of restlessness or trouble breathing. These symptoms indicate that your pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian, as there are a variety of causes for abdominal distension.

These dogs have a large amount of fluid build-up in their abdomens (ascites), causing them to have a “pot-bellied” appearance

If your pet has had fluid build-up in their belly in the past, you can monitor for recurrence by checking the size of their waist with a floppy tape measure or by monitoring their body weight. Increasing trends may indicate that a recheck to remove the fluid, or a change in medication, is needed.