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What is Hernia?

A hernia is an abnormal opening in a muscle in which other tissues can pass through to reach other body parts. In dogs, hernias are usually found near the "belly button" area, the groin area near the rear legs or the chest/diaphragm area. In over 90 percent of medical cases, hernias are due to genetics and very rarely the result of trauma or pressure. The only exception to this is hiatal hernias.In most cases, veterinarians treat hernias in puppies less than 1-year-old due to inherited traits. Conversely, hernias can be the result of significant trauma at any age. If you notice swelling in the groin area or serious vomiting, consult a veterinarian immediately. Do not take a wait and see approach when swelling or frequent vomiting is occurring.

Hernia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $700 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,600

Symptoms of Hernia in Dogs

Pet owners will usually notice signs of hernias in their dogs due to:

  • Food and/or water vomiting
  • Loss of appetite (although water may still be attractive to them)

Physical signs include:

  • Cramping
  • Fever
  • Leg numbness
  • Lethargy
  • Swelling (noticeable when the dog barks, cries, stands or strains)

In the worst case scenarios, a dog may die if bacterial toxins are able to make their way into a dog's body after tissues break down. This could happen as quickly as 24 to 48 hours if the dog is not treated immediately.

Types

Hernias in dogs are usually one of three:

  • Diaphragmatic hernia (liver or stomach pass through diaphragm opening to chest cavity and move into the area of the lungs)
  • Hiatal (stomach contents pass through diaphragm, and esophagus moves to stomach)
  • Inguinal hernia (groin area on the inner area of one of the rear legs)
  • Perineal hernia (abdominal contents pass from a pelvis tear to the anus)
  • Umbilical hernia (belly button area where a puppy was once connected to its mother). Abdominal organs (intestines or fat) travel through a muscle opening underneath the skin.
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Causes of Hernia in Dogs

Unfortunately for some dogs, genetics play a large part (over 90 percent) in the reasons that they develop hernias. Veterinarians may suggest to pet owners to spay or neuter dogs immediately to avoid hernias traveling on to a potential set of puppies. Even dogs who have had a surgical repair on their own hernias are generally shied away from breeding again.

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Diagnosis of Hernia in Dogs

The veterinarian will first inquire about whether the dog has already been spayed or neutered. If not, this will be recommended in addition to finding out the area where the hernia is located via X-rays.

Contrast studies, which are completed orally or by needle injection, confirm the diagnosis before proceeding with treatment. The contrast study will highlight where the hernia is on X-ray film or digitally, depending on available equipment. Considering hernias consist of tissue moving into the wrong place; veterinarians will be on the lookout for what doesn’t look quite right in certain regions of the body.

The veterinarian will also look for any signs of respiratory or abdominal disorders, as well as hard or painful bulges. Because those hard bulges could lead to fatalities if bacteria is able to travel through the muscle tissue, those areas will be focused on immediately before moving onto any other possible hernia areas.

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Treatment of Hernia in Dogs

Spaying or neutering a dog is the first procedure for pre-treatment. In the case that it’s too late for either procedure, if the hernia is reducible, then it can simply be pushed back into its correct area (example: abdominal wall). Oral antacid preparation, along with medical treatment, may also be used to treat hernias in nonlife-threatening cases. In both cases, the earlier a hernia can be detected, the higher likelihood that this can be done.

Nonreducible hernias are linked to incidents where body tissue may have grown together due to swelling or blocked in so much that it cannot easily be pushed back. If the hernia has escalated to a strangulated hernia, when blood supply is lost, surgery is a mandatory procedure. Surgery is also necessary to prevent tissue from attaching itself to other organs.

Male dogs may have the upper hand on inguinal hernias near the rear legs. Sometimes small inguinal hernias will close without medical attention, including with male pups. With female dogs, especially ones who are pregnant, this is not usually the case, and medical attention will be needed.

In the case of a hiatal hernia combined with pneumonia, it is imperative that pet owners follow antibiotic prescription instructions from veterinarians, along with any dietary needs.

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Recovery of Hernia in Dogs

In the case of a hiatal hernia, pet owners may have to feed a dog more frequently than normal due to slower digestion. Eventually, the dog should heal as usual, but times may vary.

As long as the surgery is successful, the dog should be able to go back to a healthy lifestyle. However, due to genetics, veterinarians will more often than not strongly recommend that the dog be spayed or neutered to avoid potential puppies having the same hernia problem as the parents.

Like other genetic disorders, there is currently no medical way to stop a genetic disorder that can easily be transmitted to offspring. If a pregnant female dog's hernia is found, the puppies and the mother should all be spayed or neutered as soon as possible to prevent the disorder from continuing to spread.

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Hernia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $700 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,600

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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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Maltese Yorkie

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7weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

I think she has a harnias

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. That may be a hernia, but without examining her, I cannot say for sure. If you are concerned, it would be be best to have her seen by a veterinarian who can see her and examine her, and they can let you know if that is a hernia or not.

Oct. 8, 2020

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Bully Basset

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Breathing

Has a hernia under her belly gets big and shrinks

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 21, 2020

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Rottweiler

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9 weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

N/A

I’m about to buy a Rottweiler puppy for a hefty price tag and the breeder just let me know that he was taken to the vet for a health check and the vet said he has a small hernia that will most likely go away on it’s own? Is this true?? The breeder said he felt for it and couldn’t find it himself but I’m wanting to know if I’m going into something where he’s going to have to end up getting surgery later or if it really will go away on it’s own or that there is a high probability that it will?

Sept. 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm not sure which type of hernia the puppy has, umbilical and inguinal hernias are somewhat common. Hernias don't tend to go away on their own, but if they are very very small, they may not require surgery. They tend to be hereditary, so if you are planning on breeding this dog it would probably not be a good idea, but if it is that small, then it may not be something that you need to worry about. I would imagine that your dog will come with a health guarantee of some kind, and it would be a good idea to follow up with a veterinarian once you have the puppy to make sure that you have all the information since they will be able to see and examine the dog. I hope that all goes well.

Sept. 10, 2020

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Mixed

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Fourteen Weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog got spayed last week now she has a small bump on her stomach what does that mean

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. The swelling is most likely a seroma which is an accumulation of fluid underneath the incision. It happens commonly ii puppies are being active post surgery. Though seromas are most common it is possible for a hernia to occur there as well so it is recommended that you have the incision rechecked by your veterinarian. They will be able to palpate the swelling to assess what the cause is.

Aug. 5, 2020

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French Bulldog

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6 weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Inguinal Hernia

I have a 6 week old puppy that my vet says has a tiny Inguinal hernia that doesn't require surgery and may close on its own. Everything I read says they don't close without surgery. Is there a possibility that being only 6 weeks old and tiny that it will close?

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Yes very small hernias in young dogs can close on their own. I usually recommend waiting until you get your dog spayed or neutered as your dog can have just one surgery to fix both problems.

July 30, 2020

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Rocco

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Poodle

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6 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Umbilical Hernia

My 6 month old Mini Goldendoodle has had an umbilical hernia since birth. The hernia is very small, maybe a little bigger than a pea. When we initially took him to the vet she said she would remove the hernia when he got neutered. He was neutered three days ago and I reminded the vets office that he was to have his hernia removed also. I just now realized that the hernia wasn't removed. I called the vets office and they told me that the hernia closed off on its own and there's no reason to put him through more unnecessary surgery because it doesn't pose a risk. I'm just concerned because I could still feel the hernia, and I'm a bit upset that they didn't explain/tell me this when I picked him up after his surgery. I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar situation happen and if it was okay to just leave the hernia the way it is or if I should consult another vet?

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Lucy

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Doxie

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

we just had our little rescue doxie spayed a week ago today. It was in a clinic 60 miles away. It is a state program that does it for a small fee. she has done ok until it started healing and itching. now there is a bump about the size of a dime or nickel. she eats good, pottys good and does not holler when we kind of mash on it. she is taken out to potty on a short leash or does it on pads in the home. it had a little drainage from it but not a lot.should we watch it for a few days before taking her to our local vet? I have a friend who goes to church with us that is a vet. she thinks it might be ok but I wanted your opinion.

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Trixie

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Yorkshire Terrier

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

None

I am in the process of adopting a rescue Yorkie who is probably about 5 years old. The dog has a huge (about the size of a spalding ball) bulge on her belly. When the rescue had her spade, the vet left it saying it is just fatty tissue. I had an x ray done today and it showed that the bulge contained part of her intestines. The x Ray did not show where the tear was. My vet and I feel that surgery is needed. My questions are...since the hernia has grown so large will it be possible to fix and is it possible that the intestines bypassed the bulge and healed itself

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Lucy

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Lab retriever mix

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Gain
Big Nipple

My dog has and umbilical cord hernia and I think she may be pregnant does having the hernia cause threat to her health during a pregnancy if so what can be done? I’m just worrying about her!

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Poppy

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Chihuahua

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Belly Swelling, Pain, Nervous

I have a 5year old intact male Chi who has an inguinal hernia with a tear in his abdominal wall. So far no complications but i am worried. His doctor wants to postpone surgery for months! Until he has lost enough weight, luke 4 pounds. Is it okay to wait so long to do the hernia repair? My dog has pain and his belly swells, it comes and goes. I am very worried that he might end up with organ strangulation or something. And what symptoms should I watch for to know he is in trouble? I greatly appreciate your time and help on this matter. My dog is my little world. Thank you, Lavonne

Hernia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $700 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,600

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