Hernias in Dogs: Diagnosis and Treatment

What is It?

A hernia is part of an organ or tissue protruding through a cavity wall. 

What Causes It?

A hernia can only occurs when there is a tear in a muscle wall. Part of an organ, fat or other body tissue gets trapped in the protrusion, cutting off circulation and leading to swelling, infection, and compromised function.

Hernias can be the result of an injury. They can also be hereditary. Dogs with congenital hernias are discouraged from breeding as they will likely pass down the abnormality.

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What Are The Symptoms?

  • Lump in abdomen or rear area
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Digestive issues
  • Lethargy

Is it Life Threatening?

Yes. While they are not all this severe, some dogs can die from exposure to bacterial infection from the hernia.

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How is It Diagnosed?

A vet will do a physical exam of your dog. Dependent on the location of the hernia either a rectal exam or an x-ray with contrast of the abdomen.

What Are The Treatments?

Hernias require surgery to get the protrusion back into the correct spot and close the tear in the muscle wall. Hernias that are considered reducible will receive a simple reparative surgery. Hernias that are considered non-reducible have partially adhered to the muscle wall and will have a similar surgery but if it has escalated to a strangulated hernia, where blood supply is cut off, it will be mandatory.

Additionally, surgery will ensure the tissue does not continue to attach itself to other organs. There are rare cases where surgery will not be necessary.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian. Or, consult a virtual vet here.

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