Inflammation of the Abdomen Due to Bile Leakage in Dogs

Bile peritonitis is the condition characterized by inflammation of the membrane which lines the inside of the abdomen and all of the internal organs due to leakage of bile into abdominal cavity. 

Bile is a bitter-tasting, dark green to yellowish brown fluid, produced and released by the liver and stored in gallbladder. After a meal is taken, the bile is released into the duodenum — the small intestine — where it helps in the digestion process by breaking down fats into fatty acids.

The biliary system consists of the organs and ducts (bile ducts, gallbladder, and associated structures) that are involved in the production and transportation of bile. After production of bile from liver cells, it is collected into right and left hepatic ducts through a system of ducts. These ducts drain into a common hepatic duct which joins with cystic duct from the gallbladder to form the common bile duct, which runs from the liver to the duodenum. Importantly, not all bile runs directly into duodenum. About half of the bile produced is stored in a pear-shaped gallbladder which is located directly below the liver. When food is eaten, the gallbladder contracts and releases the bile into duodenum. This is the normal passage of bile from liver to the digestive system. However, certain conditions can cause the release or  leakage of bile into the abdominal cavity which results in the irritation of organ and inflammation. These conditions include injury, infection of the gallbladder, swelling of the gallbladder, blockage of the gallbladder’s ducts, or bile leakage.

Symptoms for infectious bile peritonitis are generally acute, while those for non-infectious bile peritonitis are long-term. Such symptoms include:

Abdominal pain

Loss of energy

Loss of appetite



Weight loss

Abdomen swollen, larger than normal

Yellow skin and/or yellow whites of eyes

Collapse (if infectious)

Fever (if infectious)

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