Sepsis is an infection which overwhelms the body, resulting in severe inflammation.  Without treatment, it can escalate into Septic Shock, causing multi-organ failure (kidneys, lungs, liver).

This condition normally occurs when a severe infection is not treated adequately or timely. 

If you suspect that your pet is experiencing sepsis or septic shock, get help immediately:


How Pets Get Sepsis and Septic Shock

Examples of situations that can evolve into sepsis, and then Septic Shock are:

  • Ruptured intestines (from intestinal cancer or a foreign body obstruction)
  • Kidney infection (e.g., pyelonephritis)
  • Uterine infection in intact females (pyometra)
  • Prostatic infection in male dogs (e.g., prostatic abscess)
  • Severely infected wound (e.g., abscess or bite wound)
  • Pneumonia
  • Bacterial infection in the vertebrae (e.g., diskospondylitis)
  • Joint infection
  • Bacterial infection on the heart valves (e.g., bacterial endocarditis)
  • Blood infection
  • Pancreatic infection (e.g., pancreatitis or pancreatic abscess)
  • Ruptured organs (e.g., a ruptured stomach secondary to gastric dilatation volvulus, a ruptured bladder secondary to bladder stones, or a ruptured gall bladder secondary to gall bladder stones)

Symptoms of Sepsis

Symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Not eating
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • An elevated heart rate
  • Dark red gums
  • Pale, pink gums
  • Dehydration
  • Panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Straining to urinate or defecate
  • Collapse
  • Excessive licking of the rear end
  • A foul odor from the rear end
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Fever
  • A distended abdomen
  • Death, even with treatment

If you suspect that your pet is experiencing sepsis or septic shock, call a veterinarian immediately.