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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

dog-name-icon

Dots

dog-breed-icon

mixed

dog-age-icon

1 Week

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Red Puffy Bulge

Will my week old kitten live if it has a hole were its belly bottom should be. It's seeping fluid and momma won't stop licking it. But she isnt killing the kitten.it is still nursing and still going potty.

Aug. 20, 2018

Dots' Owner

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0 Recommendations

If there is a hole at the umbilicus you should visit a Veterinarian for an examination as there is a concern of secondary infection; if there is a bulge or anything else it may be an umbilical hernia or there may be an infection/abscess. This is something you should visit a Veterinarian about immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

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Sugar

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Tiger striped farm cat

dog-age-icon

2 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Hiccup/Gag

Hi, I have a 2 month old kitten. We think she has an umbilical hernia, though it hasn't officially been diagnosed by a vet. We noticed the hernia just a day or two ago. Within just the past 12 hours, I've seen her having two bouts of this hiccupping/gagging. It only lasts a minute. She seems to have no pain around the hernia area (about the size of a dime or nickle), including when I push it back in. Could this hiccupping and gagging thing she does be related to the hernia and/or conclude whether it is complicated or uncomplicated?

Aug. 17, 2018

Sugar's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

The hernia and hiccuping are likely not related. If you are able to push the hernia back in, it needs to be repaired, and we usually do that at the time of a spay. The hiccuping/gagging may be a short term problem if she is otherwise healthy, but can be related to parasites, and it might be a good idea to have her examined by a veterinarian.

Aug. 18, 2018

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Jeremiah

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Barn cat

dog-age-icon

12 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

Jerry has an umbilical hernia. It doesn’t hurt him at all and all functions are normal. It gets big and then small. Very weird. Waiting until he gets clipped to have it surgically fixed. Could it be something else since it changes size?

Aug. 9, 2018

Jeremiah's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Umbilical hernias will often change in size, as fat can move through that space. Depending on how large it is, there may be a danger of intestines coming through, but your veterinarian can assess that for you and let you know if he should be neutered and have that repaired earlier than planned.

Aug. 9, 2018

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Ginger

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Main Coon

dog-age-icon

8 Weeks

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen
Has A Red Lump On
Swolleb

So i think my kitten has either umbolical or abdominal hernia because i just noticed that it has a small sort of red lump on his belly. I want to know how can i treat and cure the kitten without surgery or is it necessary?

July 26, 2018

Ginger's Owner

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0 Recommendations

A red lump at the umbilicus may be due to an infection there or something else like an umbilical hernia; generally umbilical hernias require surgical correction since very few will resolve on their own, there is no ‘at home’ treatment for umbilical hernia. However, you should visit your Veterinarian in case the lump is an infected umbilicus. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2018

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Jerry

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Barn cat

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Quarter Size
It Is A Quarter Size Hern
It Is A Quarter Size Hernia

Jerry is 10 weeks old and had a hernia. He has no pain even with manipulation. He plays really rough with his sister so I know it doesn’t bother him at all. When we hold him up it disappears. It is growing with him, maybe quarter size. Any suggestions?

July 11, 2018

Jerry's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

That sounds like a fairly large hernia that Jerry has, and the best thing to do would be to have it surgically repaired. There is the possibility with a hernia of intestines becoming entrapped in the hernia if it is large enough, and is seems that this one may be. You can have a veterinarian look at it to make sure since I cannot see him, but having it surgically repaired is often needed.

July 11, 2018

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Lala

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Persian Cat

dog-age-icon

3 Months

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Loss Of Appetite, Skinny, Lethargy

Hi! I am very worried about my kitten lala. She has this hernia when i brought her home. The last owner said that she had it since birth. She's so small for being 3 months. She doesnt like to eat that much. She does't poop at a regular basis. She's so skinny. What should i do? Thank you very much.

Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$950

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