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Abdominocentesis is a procedure where a needle attached to a syringe is inserted through the skin, and into the abdominal cavity to remove fluid (peritoneal effusion) from within the abdominal cavity. Normally, the abdominal cavity is void of fluid.

Accumulation of fluid within the abdomen can occur with a number of serious diseases, including liver failure, kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel perforation, cancer, bleeding disorders, and congestive heart failure.

Any fluid removed is evaluated for evidence of cancer, infection and inflammation by a veterinary pathologist.

Ultrasound guidance is frequently used during the procedure to direct the needle and minimize complications such as lacerating an abdominal organ. Pain medications, sedation and occasionally general anesthesia are used when performing an abdominocentesis.

Your pet may need an abdominocentesis if your veterinarian has diagnosed your pet with peritoneal effusion.