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What is Umbilical Hernia?

If you notice an abnormal outward bulge sticking out from your kitten’s naval area, he or she could have an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias can occur shortly after birth if the opening in the abdomen that was once used for nutritional passage does not close. The majority of umbilical hernias will not cause any harmful effects to the infant and will go away on their own when the feline reaches six months. Unfortunately, other umbilical hernias can trap part of the intestine and the hernia soon becomes a medical emergency.

Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

From 376 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,200

Average Cost

$950

Symptoms of Umbilical Hernia in Cats

All umbilical hernias will cause an outward bulging in the area of the umbilicus or belly button. The hernia is soft to the touch and easily pushes inward, bouncing back to its original outward position. Some umbilical hernias make a gurgling sound when pressure is applied, indicating that a section of intestine has seeped through, whereas other make no sound. The majority of feline umbilical hernias do not show any additional symptoms other than the visible abnormality of the abdomen. However, some hernias can cause symptoms such as: 

  • Depression 
  • Anorexia 
  • Vomiting 
  • Pain in the swollen area
  • Unusually large umbilical hernia that is warm to the touch

If your kitten is experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if you hear a gurgling sound when pressure is applied to the affected area, seek the advice of a veterinary professional promptly. Your young cat could be suffering from a more serious type of umbilical hernia in cats, called a complicated umbilical hernia. 

Types

An umbilical hernia in cats can either be classified as uncomplicated or complicated. 

Uncomplicated Umbilical Hernia

An uncomplicated umbilical hernia is a hernia that may come and go, appearing as a soft swollen protrusion from the abdomen. An uncomplicated umbilical hernia does not cause the feline to deplete in overall health and may correct itself on its own when the kitten reaches six months of age. 

Complicated Umbilical Hernia 

A complicated umbilical hernia appears as a soft protrusion from the abdomen, but in this case, the abdominal organs have passed through the abdominal muscle within the hernia. The section of intestine entrapped in the hernia can lose blood circulation and die, causing the young cat to become ill. Complicated umbilical hernias will not go away on their own and require surgical care.

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Causes of Umbilical Hernia in Cats

An umbilical hernia in cats is caused by an incomplete closure of the feline’s abdominal muscles shortly after the time of birth. Inside the womb, a kitten’s abdominal muscle are open to allow the passage of nutrients from mother to infant. This abdominal opening is called an umbilical ring and the umbilical blood vessel, or cord, attaches baby to the mother. As the kitten is born, the umbilical blood vessel is pulled, eventually snapping off, which in turn pulls the abdominal wall. In most cases, this naturally occurring action of birth doesn’t result in a hernia, but for unknown reasons, some infants develop the condition.

Some feline bloodlines do show a pattern of umbilical hernias, suggesting umbilical hernias could be part of a genetic predisposition. Orphan kittens have developed umbilical hernias due to incidental trauma and over handling by their caregivers. Rubbing the underbelly of the kitten to stimulate defecation and urination, for example, could easily cause trauma to the naval region.

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Diagnosis of Umbilical Hernia in Cats

An umbilical hernia in cats can usually be identified through a physical examination, as the 1-2 ½ cm abdominal protrusion can be visually noted. During the physical examination, your veterinarian may ask you questions such as:

  • When did you first notice the umbilical hernia?
  • Has it grown since the first day you noticed it?
  • Has your kitten been eating, drinking, defecating, and urinating on a regular basis?
  • Has the feline expressed any pain or discomfort in her abdomen? Has she bitten or scratched you during handling? 

Depending on your kitten’s symptoms and the diagnostic findings your veterinarian made on the physical exam, an abdominal ultrasound or x-ray may be requested. Through an ultrasound or x-ray, your veterinarian will be able to determine if a section of the intestine has been entrapped within the hernia. The diagnostic findings your veterinarian makes will aid him or her in treating your kitten appropriately.

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Treatment of Umbilical Hernia in Cats

Treatment is not always necessary in umbilical hernia cases. Uncomplicated hernias often correct themselves before the time of sterilization (removal of reproductive organs) at about six months of age, and do not recur. If the hernia does not correct itself by the time of sterilization, however, your veterinarian may recommend surgical correction. Complicated umbilical hernias are also always treated with surgery, as necrotic tissue of a section of the intestine is a potential threat. In an umbilical hernia surgery, any scar tissue that has formed will be removed and the umbilical ring closed with sutures. 

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Recovery of Umbilical Hernia in Cats

The prognosis for felines with an umbilical hernia is excellent, even for those who have undergone surgical correction. To avoid complications following the procedure, your veterinarian may ask you to check the surgical site a couple of times a day. If you note any bleeding or signs of infection, contact your veterinarian immediately. Keep your kitten clean, comfortable and safe in a small area of the house to prevent the sutures from coming out of place. In general, very few kittens experience post-surgery complications and the hernia does not reoccur. 

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Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

From 376 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,200

Average Cost

$950

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Umbilical 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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none

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Persian

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3 Months

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Does Not Bother Her.

HI, I am hoping to get a little insight. I am about to take a kitten who is 3 months old. She has a dime sized umbilical hernia. The owner said the kitten is fine, it doesn't bother her a bit and it's easy to get repaired when she is spayed. I have no problem doing this. My question - is it an expensive surgery? If it's not a complicated surgery and can be done while she is being spayed how much is a ball park to expect? A few hundred? The owner is a vet tech, while I am not, so I will have to pay this expense. I realize it depends on the severity, and the area and Doctor. But, just a guesstimate would help me decide if I want to take this on. I don't mind if it's a few hundred, I just can't afford a thousand dollar surgery.

Sept. 9, 2018

none's Owner

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Fermion

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Russian Blue

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13 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Weight Loss
Lethargy
Vomiting
Lack Of Appetite

Can umbilical hernias affect an old cat? My cat is 13, and her whole litter has umbilical hernias as kittens. They all had surgery. I adopted her from a breeder, who told me about the surgery, but said I didn’t need to worry about it. I soon forgot. 13 years later, my cat has been a regular vomiter for probably 12 years. But recently it has increased to multiple times per day. She has other health issues, and this piece went untreated until she began losing weight and not eating. I got her an ultrasound, and ultrasound vet’s results were pancreatitis and “moderate diffuse infiltrative small intestinal disease DDx Lymphoma vs IBD, less likely eosinophilia enteritis.” I have not yet gone in for a second opinion from another vet. She has been getting steroid injections every 3-4 weeks, and had all but stopped puking. The last 4 days she has vomited 7 times. Is it possible she’s had a looped hernia this whole time, and only now experiencing symptoms worse than regular vomiting? Would that have been apparent from the ultrasound if the vet was unaware of her history? I am afraid to ask my regular vet because I don’t trust her.

Sept. 2, 2018

Fermion's Owner

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Olley

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Siamese

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8 Weeks

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bulging Hernia

My mother just brought home a kitten who is now 7-8 weeks old now. He is extremely active, eats well, uses the bathroom frequently, drinks water, and every other thing kittens usually do. However, his hernia is between the size of a quarter and half dollar and bulges away from his belly about an inch and the usual kitten things like jumping from couches and tumbling around freaks me out even if it doesn't seem to bother him, it feels a bit squishier in the weekish we have had him. What advice would you give? Our vet said that he would be fine until he got fixed, but I am concerned and looking for a second opinion.

Aug. 28, 2018

Olley's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If he seems to be doing well, you should be fine to monitor him until he is neutered and have the hernia repaired at that time. The only down side to waiting is the possibility that intestines might get caught outside of his body, and that is a very painful emergency. If he is acting normally generally, it doesn't appear that you need to rush the repair.

Aug. 28, 2018

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Nala

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Not sure

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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Has Symptoms

Laying Around Alot

my cat gave birth about 4 weeks ago and after 2 weeks of them being born she quit feeding them and kept leaving them, shortly they all died. and now she has an outward bulge on the bottom of her belly on both sides. she doesn't show any pain when I pick her up or push on it. but he nipples are really swollen too. what is it? what can I do?

Aug. 26, 2018

Nala's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Nala I cannot determine whether the bulges are due to hernias (inguinal hernias are uncommon in cats) or another cause; the mammary glands may be inflamed due to lack of nursing and applying a warm compress to the glands may offer some relief. However, it would be advisable to visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 26, 2018

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Cheech

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Ragdoll cross

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25 Weeks

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Fair severity

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Has Symptoms

Swollen Bloated Belly

My 5mth old kitten was diagnosed with an uncomplicated umbilical hernia vet said that the repair could be done alongside the operation for spaying her when she is 6/7 months old my kitten shows no signs of discomfort appetite great toilet needs brilliant no concerns until last couple of days I'm sure her belly seems swollen bloated like I'm assuming she isn't old enough to be full term pregnant my concern is my older female was in a coma for 3 days nearly died took 8 days to stabilise her vet adamant poisoned not a clue what could my kitten be showing symptoms of poison

Aug. 25, 2018

Cheech's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

At 25 weeks, it is nearly time for spaying and you should visit your Veterinarian for a discuss on this; however, the bloating may be caused by a variety of conditions and if it is determined to be ‘poisoning’ it can be difficult to narrow in on what specific poison was consumed. Bloating may be caused by parasites, infections, diet among many other conditions; visit your Veterinarian on Monday for an examination but if there is swelling or pain around the umbilical hernia site you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 26, 2018

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Sol Dal Rey

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domestic short hair

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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Ambilical Hernia

Intact male cat about 6 months old showed up to eat at my house. We live in the country so people dump animals out here. Am a human nurse but was an animal nurse years ago. So I do alot of my own medical care aside from spay/neutering and rabies shots. This beautiful odd boy showed up last week. At 1st glace I thought it was a female due to the almost callio look to him. He is red / orange with a weird brown mixed in and dark copper eyes. He has a upper respiratory infection, he is thin and has been fighting. But he has a tennis ball size umbilical hernia almost feels like two small ones next to each other. I can reduce them some. Being I just found him am not trying to upset him too much yet. I started him on antibotics, dewormed and defleaed him. No ear mites. He was a house kitten at some point I can tell. Am looking up prices for hernia repairs and WOW they very alot ! I live in Northern Indiana and would love any suggestions of affordable surgical procedures. I did contact the low cost spay and neuter clinic I have used but they said it's too big and he is too old for simple hernia repair. I just bought him in tonight so am waiting to see if he eats and drinks without vomiting and or dirrehea. Also I know I need him healthy before surgery. But he is staying in a large dog crate away from everyone till he is better and vaccinated and neutered. No spraying in my house thank u ! But am worried about cost. I can affored up to $300 maybe $400. Again any suggestions are appreciated

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Barreny

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DOMESTIC

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11 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Having A Hard Time Laying Down

I have an 11 year old cat an he has a large umbilical hernia. had it since birth an now he is having a hard time laying down an breathing very hard. last few days he was fine. an now he has pain an eats very little

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Cocoa

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2 Weeks

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Skinny
Swollen
Red Bulging Belly Button
Meows A Lot

Hi. I recently took my kitten and was playing with her, when I noticed a bulging red belly button. Asking my mother for advice, she didn't know what to do. Since there are no vets around my locality, and they take a lot of cash, I've been researching on the Internet. I pressed the belly button, but the kitten just stays silent, and it feels ok (it's not warm). The mother cat takes care of the litter, but Cocoa is the skinniest of the lot. It meows a lot, even when the mother is with it. It doesn't have a loss of appetite, does the excretion normally, but it trembles a lot. Cocoa's red bulging belly button is small, about the size of a coin, but it seems swollen. I think it's going to die, though. Please help in any way.

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Archie

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Tabby Cat

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6 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Hernia

I happened to notice you haven't shared the recovery time. I cat got neutered adnhis hernia done at the same time. He's currently not to thrilled to be in a cone. Approx how long should they keep the cone on?

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Rosie

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moggie

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On Stomach

i recently noticed a lump on my cats stomach. we took her to the vets and they said something about it being a hernia, as it’s ‘meetline’ ?? they were pretty vague and i’m still very confused. they sent us home and said if she showed my symptoms then to come back (another £25 :/) but i’m still wondering what they meant? how do they know it’s a hernia from just touching it? what if it’s something worse?

Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

From 376 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,200

Average Cost

$950

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