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Which parameters are reliable diagnostic tools for septic peritonitis?
An important but difficult question - septic peritonitis in dogs and cats is a life-threatening condition and should be diagnosed as early and accurate as possible. In this study, different parameters that can be measured quick in the in-house-lab are evaluated, e.g. bicarbonate, lactate and glucose. And one was found to be simple, quick and reliable enough...

The study´s objective was to establish a reliable diagnostic tool for septic peritonitis in dogs and cats using pH, bicarbonate, lactate, and glucose concentrations in peritoneal fluid and venous blood. It was done as a prospective clinical study. Eighteen dogs and 12 cats with peritoneal effusion were included.

pH, bicarbonate, electrolyte, lactate, and glucose concentrations were measured on 1- to 2-mL samples of venous blood and peritoneal fluid collected at admission.

The concentration difference between blood and peritoneal fluid for pH, bicarbonate, glucose, and lactate concentrations were calculated by subtracting the peritoneal fluid concentration from the blood concentration.

Peritoneal fluid was submitted for cytologic examination and bacterial culture. Peritonitis was classified as septic or nonseptic based on cytology and bacterial culture results.

RESULTS: In dogs, with septic effusion, peritoneal fluid glucose concentration was always lower than the blood glucose concentration.

A blood-to-fluid glucose (BFG) difference > 20 mg/dL was 100% sensitive and 100% specific for the diagnosis of septic peritoneal effusion in dogs.

In 7 dogs in which it was evaluated, a blood-to-fluid lactate (BFL) difference < -2.0 mmol/L was also 100% sensitive and specific for a diagnosis of septic peritoneal effusion.

In cats, the BFG difference was 86% sensitive and 100% specific for a diagnosis of septic peritonitis. In dogs and cats, the BFG difference was more accurate for a diagnosis of septic peritonitis than peritoneal fluid glucose concentration alone.

CONCLUSIONS: A concentration difference > 20 mg/dL between blood and peritoneal fluid glucose concentration provides a rapid and reliable means to differentiate a septic peritoneal effusion from a nonseptic peritoneal effusion in dogs and cats.

The difference between blood and peritoneal fluid glucose concentrations should be used as a more reliable diagnostic indicator of septic peritoneal effusion than peritoneal fluid glucose concentration alone.


Source: Bonczynski JJ, Ludwig LL, Barton LJ, Loar A, Peterson ME (2003): Comparison of peritoneal fluid and peripheral blood pH, bicarbonate, glucose, and lactate concentration as a diagnostic tool for septic peritonitis in dogs and cats. In: Vet Surg. 2003 Mar-Apr;32(2):161-6.




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