Hernia in Dogs

Hernia in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Fever / Lethargy / Poor Appetite / Swelling / Vomiting

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Rated as mild conditon

50 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Fever / Lethargy / Poor Appetite / Swelling / Vomiting

Hernia in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Hernia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Albert

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Shih Tzu

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2 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

None

My dog is two years old. He has had his umbilical hernia since birth. I have never had it repaired as he has never showed any symptoms of pain, distress, redness, swelling or irritation. All I read is that they have to be neutered when they have a hernia fixed? Is that correct? I don't want him to be neutered, he's a pure breed & might breed with our female one day. Do I need to fix the hernia if he has never had problems? I get slightly worried it being there.

Sept. 21, 2018

Albert's Owner

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Coco

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Fair condition

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1 found helpful

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Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Lump

My Dog gas a bulging near this umbilical region and looks very much like a hernia. We noticed it on 4 weeks and asked his vet. But be said that it is nothing to be concerned about. 2 years passed and he still has it. But he does not seem to show any symptoms and is completely fine. I pressed the area and he does not seem to experience pain either. Should i consult another vet?

July 24, 2018

Coco's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If there is a hernia, it is always best (in my opinion) to have it repaired as a simple repair is a lot cheaper than emergency surgery if there is a strangulation or other complication from the passage of abdominal contents. Some dogs live their whole life with hernias without incident whilst others may have complications. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 25, 2018

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No Name Yet

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Mini Bernedoodle

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8 Weeks

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

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Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Small Hernia

I am looking to buy an 8 week puppy, but it has a small Inguinal hernia. The breeder has offered to operate before we purchase her, but want to make sure I shouldn't worry about hernia recurrence or any other effects after surgery and removal of the small hernia. Would love some advice.

July 20, 2018

No Name Yet's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Normally inguinal hernias have a low recurrence rate after surgery and there is little to be concerned about, normally these types of hernias don’t self resolve and I would certainly recommend having it corrected. I wouldn’t have any concerns about purchasing a dog with a repaired inguinal hernia. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 20, 2018

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Doug

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Dachshund

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3 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

None

We have a 3 year old dachshund who underwent a laparotomy and enterotomy for foreign body removal when he was around 1. Just today we noticed he has a small (1 cm diameter) and reducible ventral incisional hernia. I am a general surgeon and know that in people, it is generally okay to watch these. Our dog has had poor experiences with general anesthesia in the past and my question is, so long as this remains small and reducible, is an observational approach appropriate in dogs as well? Mike

July 8, 2018

Doug's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If the hernia is small, it should be fine to monitor the hernia, as many small hernias do not cause problems in dogs. My only concern is why has the hernia suddenly appeared? It isn't normal to have a herniation as a surgery site 2 years post-op. While it doesn't seem emergent, it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on the area, and have your veterinarian take a look at it at Doug's next regular appointment. If he shows signs of pain or distress, then it would be a good idea to have him seen right away.

July 8, 2018

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Leo

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Pekingese

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9 Months

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

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

Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Nothing

Our 9 month old Pekingese male has had a smallish hernia since we got him at 8 weeks old. It doesn't seem to bother him and he is very playful and has always been eating and drinking fine. He hasn't been neutered yet, why is it necessary to neutere him (we aren't planning to breed) and will can happen if he doesn't get neutered (we obviously don't want anything to happen to him?

July 4, 2018

Leo's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Neutering is recommended for many reasons including preventing any unwanted pregnancies (with another dog not him obviously), preventing aggressive behaviour, tumours (if there are no testicles a testicular tumour cannot develop), prevention of benign prostatic hyperplasia among other positives; I would recommend neutering regardless as the positives outweigh any negatives which may be thought of. As for the hernia, Leo may go his whole life without an issue or it may one day turn into a medical emergency; it is best to have it corrected to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 4, 2018

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Rocco

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Poodle

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6 Months

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

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Fair condition

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 condition

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0 found helpful

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

Fair condition

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 condition

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0 found helpful

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

Serious condition

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 condition

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0 found helpful

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Fair condition

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 condition

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0 found helpful

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

Serious condition

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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