Sepsis and septic shock cause significant morbidity and mortality in critically ill animals. Infections are usually caused by gram-negative staphylococcal organisms and gram-positive infections have received less attention in veterinary medicine, even though they have been on the increase in intensive care units for humans. This case serves as a reminder that urethral catheterization is not an entirely benign procedure.

A 6-year-old standard poodle with a urethral obstruction was treated by decompressive cystocentesis after retrograde urethral catheterization failed. Within hours the dog became ill with septic peritonitis resulting from the introduction into the peritoneal cavity of gram-positive staphylococcal organisms from a urinary tract infection. After surgical exploration under anesthesia, therapy for shock, intravenous administration of antibiotics, removal of multiple cystic calculi from the urinary bladder, and placement of a cystotomy tube, the animal was managed with an open abdomen for 2 days before surgical closure because of the extent of peritoneal contamination.

Acute staphylococcal peritonitis following cystocentesis in a dog. Specht A, Chan D, O'Toole T, et al. JVECC 12:183-187, 2002.