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What is Hernia?

Hernias are caused by a defect in the muscle that allows the internal organs to penetrate through it. Some cats are born with this condition, while others develop hernias later on in life. Certain hernias can be reduced, but the majority will require surgery to repair the defect. The good news is that hernias in cats are typically not serious when caught early on.

Cat owners must be on the lookout for anything that can adversely affect the health of their beloved pet. When playing with or petting your cat, take notice of any unusual lumps and bumps that appear as it may be a sign of a medical condition that requires treatment. While it is not common, cats can have hernias that can be serious if left untreated.

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Hernia Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Hernia in Cats

The symptoms associated with hernias in cats vary depending on the type of defect. Here are some symptoms you may notice if your cat has a hernia:

  • Groin swelling
  • Protrusion in the abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody urine
  • Depression

Types

Three types of hernias most commonly affect cats. 

Inguinal Hernia

If your cat has an inguinal hernia, his intestines or other contents of the abdomen are pushing through the inguinal canal which is located in the groin. This condition can be classified as uncomplicated, which may not require corrective surgery. It is considered a complicated case if intestines or internal organs become trapped within the muscle wall, which is life-threatening. 

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when the muscle wall has an opening near the belly button. Intestines and organs may press through this opening, creating a bulge underneath the belly button. Like inguinal hernias, umbilical hernias can be complicated or uncomplicated. 

Hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernias are located at the diaphragm, where the stomach and esophagus meet. When this occurs, a portion of his stomach slips through the opening. Most hiatal hernias are congenital and appear before the kitten reaches one year of age. 

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Causes of Hernia in Cats

The cause of hernias in cats depends on the type of hernia present. Below are some of the primary causes of this condition:

  • Congenital
  • Acquired due to traumatic injury
  • Weakness in the abdominal wall
  • Straining to defecate
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic bloating
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Diagnosis of Hernia in Cats

Before examining your cat, your veterinarian will ask you a few questions about your cat's health. Be sure to include any unusual birth events, medications taken daily, traumatic injury and pre-existing medical conditions. After taking a medical history, your doctor will examine your cat and feel his groin area or abdomen. Vital signs such as weight, heart rate, temperature, and respiration rate are taken and recorded at each visit. He will also take blood for a CBC or complete blood count and a chemical profile to determine your cat's level of health. He may also perform diagnostic X-rays to confirm his diagnosis.

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Treatment of Hernia in Cats

Uncomplicated hernias may not require any corrective treatment. However, because hernias can create life-threatening situations if the intestines become strangulated, most veterinarians recommend surgery to repair the defect.When an intestine becomes trapped inside the abdominal wall, it dies and begins to release dangerous toxins that can kill your cat. If your cat has not been spayed or neutered, your doctor may recommend repairing the hernia during that surgery. During the surgery, your doctor will repair the hole in the abdominal wall and cover it with mesh to keep it strong.

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Recovery of Hernia in Cats

The overall outlook for cats with hernias are very good after corrective surgery. You will need to keep your cat from being extremely active for several weeks following the procedure. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication that you will need to give your cat immediately after surgery. He will provide you with information so you can recognize any complications that may arise. In most cases, doctors schedule follow-up appointments within 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. It is very important to attend this visit because any problems can be addressed before more time elapses. He will also need to remove any staples or stitches at that time, as well. 

If your cat had surgery to correct a hiatal hernia, there is an increased risk of aspiration pneumonia. The symptoms associated with this type of pneumonia include coughing, problems breathing, rapid heart rate, trouble exercising, vomiting and altered mood. This is a long-term complication that can occur in cats and you must learn to recognize it to avoid serious illness or death. Most cats do very well after surgery and go on to live full and normal lives. 

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Hernia Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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Hernia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Alice

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Domestic long hair

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9 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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7 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bulge Below Incision Site

Alice is about 8-10 weeks old. She was spayed 5 days ago. After some mild grogginess post-surgery, she was back to her old self: playing, eating, purring, evacuating. She has an e-collar so she doesn’t lick her incision site, and so far the wound appears to be healing normally. No redness, no oozing, etc. She is confined to a small room, but is still very active as she is a kitten. Yesterday, I noticed a small, bulge below her incision. It is palpable, but only visible in some positions. It feels a bit hard, but it does not bother her—she has no reaction when I touch it. I want to make sure it’s a normal part of the healing process, and hopefully not something that would require a second surgery. The clinic she was spayed at is not currently open, though I have left them a voicemail since this particular issue was not mentioned on her discharge paperwork. I am trying to determine if I should take her to a vet before the clinic reopens or if this is a normal response to a spaying.

Sept. 25, 2018

Alice's Owner

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Bellatrix

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Cat

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3 Months

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Mild severity

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4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On Stomach

Our kitten Bella had an umbilical hernia when we found her. We took her to the vet right away and they operated the next week when we got her spayed. The hernia was still very swollen after two days so the vet performed another surgery to resew the internal stitches. Another 2 days later, the lump is still present and we take her in again. The vet says he thinks she is having a reaction to the internal stitches and he needs to go in again because the stitches are dissolving too quickly. So she has gone under surgery for the same procedure three times and we are praying this is the last. Does it sound like she was having a reaction? Any other advice for us, or a second opinion? Thank you!

Sept. 12, 2018

Bellatrix's Owner

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Hernia Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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