Hernia (Diaphragmatic) Average Cost

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What is Hernia (Diaphragmatic)?

In dogs, the diaphragm separating the chest and abdominal cavity plays an important part in respiration and also acts as a barrier between the organs. If the diaphragm is torn or damaged, it allows the abdominal organs to protrude into the chest cavity. This is called a diaphragmatic hernia, or sometimes a diaphragmatic rupture. Hernias generally occur as a result of trauma to the abdomen, but some dogs can be born with an incomplete diaphragm due to abnormal development of the fetus. The most typical form of congenital diaphragmatic hernia is Peritoneal-Pericardial Diaphragmatic Hernia which can affect the pericardial sac surrounding the heart. Any diaphragmatic hernia can be a very serious and life-threatening condition. Migration of the abdominal organs into the chest cavity can cause severe breathing difficulty and abnormal heart rhythms. Some dogs may have milder symptoms that go unnoticed and the hernia will develop into a chronic condition with fibrous attachments connecting the abdominal organs in a misplaced location. With chronic diaphragmatic hernia, dogs will suffer from repeated vomiting, weight loss, and liver disease. Most hernias can be treated surgically but ultimate recovery will depend on the immediacy of treatment and the extent of other injuries.

A rupture or tear in the diaphragm means the abdominal organs can migrate into the chest cavity where they will interfere with breathing. This is called diaphragmatic hernia. In dogs, this is most commonly caused by trauma to the abdomen, but it can also be congenital.

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Symptoms of Hernia (Diaphragmatic) in Dogs

Getting treatment early is important, so watch for these signs in your dog.

  • Breathing difficulties especially when upset or stressed
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Severe respiratory difficulty
  • Muffled lung sounds
  • Muffled heart sounds
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Shock
  • Abdomen that feels empty
  • Weight loss or jaundice (chronic)

Types

Traumatic

  • A diaphragmatic hernia or tear that is acquired from trauma
  • The most common type of hernia in dogs, accounting for about 80% of cases

Congenital

  • Any hernia that is inherited

Peritoneopericardial Diaphragmatic Hernia (PPDH)

  • Most common type of inherited hernia that allows for communication between the abdominal cavity and the pericardial sac surrounding the heart
  • Weimaraners and Cocker Spaniels are predisposed

Hiatal hernia

  • Hernia around the esophageal connection
  • More common in Shar Peis and brachycephalic breeds

Pleuroperitoneal hernia

  • Rare in dogs

Traumatic and congenital hernias can be further characterized based on their symptoms.

Acute

  • Severe symptoms that can be immediately life-threatening

Chronic

  • An asymptomatic hernia that goes undiagnosed and develops into a long term condition

Causes of Hernia (Diaphragmatic) in Dogs

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias are inherited. Traumatic hernias are usually acquired from an accident that injures the abdomen.

  • Falling out a window
  • Car accident
  • Blow to the abdomen

Diagnosis of Hernia (Diaphragmatic) in Dogs

Diaphragmatic hernia will be suspected if your dog is showing symptoms of respiratory difficulty after a traumatic injury, especially one which affected the abdomen. Dogs that have suffered abdominal trauma should be examined regardless of whether they have symptoms since mild hernias that go unnoticed will become harder to treat. Any past traumas can also be relevant if your dog is showing symptoms of chronic gastrointestinal problems and liver disease. Breed and family history are important in diagnosing a congenital hernia; these will be more common in puppies although a mild congenital hernia could go unnoticed until later in life. Congenital hernias may often be combined with other abnormalities, such as a ventricular septal defect.

X-rays are the main tool for diagnosing a diaphragmatic hernia. The veterinarian may add a contrast dye to make the x-ray clearer. An ultrasound or CT scan may also be ordered to for a clearer picture of the abdomen and thoracic cavity. Blood and urine tests help to diagnose liver dysfunction in cases of chronic hernia.

Treatment of Hernia (Diaphragmatic) in Dogs

If your dog has suffered an accident or trauma, you should assess him for immediate injuries and attempt to stop any bleeding. Try to keep the dog comfortable and avoid movement as much as possible during transportation. Cover the dog with a light blanket, but avoid anything that restricts breathing.

The veterinarian will attempt to stabilize your dog as much as possible before administering anesthetic for surgery. Severe cases may require emergency surgery if the abdomen fills with gas and your dog is unable to breathe. Surgery can be quite complex since the abdominal organs will need to be put back into position and the tear in the diaphragm will need to be sutured closed. If it is not an emergency, the veterinarian may refer you to a specialized surgeon. Your dog will need to stay in a veterinary hospital for some time after surgery so that the veterinarian can make sure the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems have returned to normal. This period could be extended based on other injuries. Intravenous pain medication may also need to be administered to make your dog feel better. After returning home, there will be a recovery period of reduced activity based on the veterinarian or surgeon’s recommendation. You may need to return for stitch removal, or a post-surgery check-up.

Recovery of Hernia (Diaphragmatic) in Dogs

Diaphragmatic hernia can often be successfully treated with surgery, and your dog may make a complete recovery. Immediate treatment is very important however. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that about 15% of dogs with diaphragmatic hernias from trauma die before they can be treated. Other complications, like additional injuries or several congenital defects, can greatly affect your dog’s prognosis. If the condition is chronic and fibrous connections have developed around the abdominal organs, this will make it much harder to separate and reposition the organs without damage. Your dog’s chances of recovery can be determined more accurately by a veterinarian upon diagnosis.

Hernia (Diaphragmatic) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Baby
Chihuahua
7 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

I have a 4.2 pounds femelle Chihuahua who is now around 7 years old . She has a diaphragmatic hernia the abdominal contents were completely overtaking the left side of the thoracic cavity . My question is : Do you think she will be okay to fly Airlines on a cabin for a long trip ?
can we take here with us on a trip to Paris France ?we leave in south Texas , the trip duration will be 20 h + .
Thank you

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
Any decision to fly would be based on the examination of the USDA Accredited Veterinarian signing the certificate or Pet Passport before travel; I cannot comment, however you should start looking into the regulatory side of this journey now by looking at the link below and contact a USDA Accredited Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/eu/pettravel-france www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/bring-pet-into-the-united-states

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Angie
Dachshund
2 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fast Breathing
Panting

Thank you so much for your quick response. Angie is still at the hospital. I am worried and anxious because she has a lot of fluid and air in her lungs, but it is being taken out every couple of hours. She is on painkillers and antibiotics, but the vets are not providing her with any oxygen. I understand her discomfort and pain but is it life threatening if panting continues to happen for a few more days? What is a general recovery time post diaphragmatic hernia surgery?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
Oxygen is only required if her body isn’t getting enough oxygen which can be checked with a pulse oximeter. It sounds like this diaphragmatic hernia occurred due to trauma (fractured pelvis) so it is more complex than a congenital hernia. Pain management is the most important part of post surgical care along with regular monitoring; I understand your concerns but I am unable to examine Angie to determine if there needs to be a change in post surgery management, I’ve added some links below on the procedure. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/treatment/diaphragmatic-herniorrhaphy www.acvs.org/small-animal/diaphragmatic-hernia www.acvs.org/files/proceedings/2012/data/papers/108.pdf

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Simon
Terrier cross
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Post operative

I am interested in adopting a dog that has had a diaphragmatic hernia repaired.
I am wondering if there are any problems that might arise later in his life that I should be aware of
Thanks

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
Generally, there is a high success rate with surgical correction with dogs leading normal lives; there is always the risk of recurrence but this is low. If Simon is otherwise healthy there should be no reason to adopt him, you should note that in cases of congenital hernias he should not be bred. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Buddy
Border Collie
Two Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

slight cough

My dog was diagnosed with diaphragmatic hernia after being ran over 8 months ago. He has a slight cough when he exercises and doesn't have as much of an appetite. He is happy otherwise and it doesn't seem to bother him one bit. Surgery isn't an option, so what is likely to happen if this is left untreated?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1403 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Buddy. I'm sorry that he had that injury. Diaphragmatic hernias can act a number of different ways, as there is basically a hole between the abdomen and the chest. It is possible that he will have minimal effects, if the hole is small and nothing happens to migrate into an area where it doesn't belong. He could also have significant problems breathing if his abdominal organs move into his chest. Without seeing him and the extent of his injury, I have a hard time commenting on which direction his hernia might take. I have some concerns about his decreased appetite, and suspect his cough might be related, but if he is doing well otherwise, he might be okay. If you have concerns about him, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

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Mac
Chihuahua
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Perforated hernia in left sode of rear belly

Does wrapping the spot where the hernia is with an ace bandage help until their appt for surgery

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations

If the hernia isn’t causing any issues, it maybe better to leave it be; it is possible to bandage a hernia, but it must be a reducible hernia (can be pushed back in) and the bandage cannot be too tight as it may cause further complications, also the area maybe difficult to bandage correctly; but please consult with your Veterinarian (can be by phone) before you attempt to bandage. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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rudy
Golden Doodle
5 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Our 5 year old golden doodle started throwing up his food on friday night, some on saturday and on monday we took him to our local vet. they ran some blood tests and an xray and said he could have a possible diapramatic hernia but not sure. he does not exhibit any breathing problems, wags his tail and does what he does everyday without problems. he is a eater meaning he trys and eat anything that will fit into his mouth. we have found shop rags that he has somehow gotten ahold of and eaten. they usually come out in the end. Our vet says they are not equipped to operate on something like this as its unusual and not very common. Can they be missing something in the x rays like an obstruction or something. we did locate another vet in lake city, mn that has experience in the hernias that i described. they are going to look at our dog tonight at 5:00 pm but she has reservations that our dog has a diapramic hernia as the breathing is normal, he acts normal, eats normal but throws part of his food up after eathing. thanks for any help in this matter.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
Diaphragmatic hernias are usually easy to see on x-rays as there is abdominal contents in the thoracic cavity; in the link below, if you open the diagnostics section you will see two normal x-rays and two x-rays with diaphragmatic hernia which you will be able to see the different around the diaphragm. Another opinion with a Veterinarian which has experience with this type of hernia is important to either confirm or rule it out. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/diaphragmatic-hernia

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bolt
labradore
5 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

throde infection
bleeding through vomit.

my lab dog 5year old has a lots of blood bleeding...he felt very week even he cant walk properly.my dr suggest to not give him a water and food.he is only on gulocose dirp and medicience.is he has hernia diaphramatic

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations

The symptoms you are describing may be attributable to a few different causes including infections, poisoning, obstructions etc… Conditions like diaphragmatic hernia would need to be diagnosed with an x-ray of the chest which would show abdominal organs in the thoracic cavity. Blood in the vomit may be caused by poisoning, stomach ulcers and other conditions, more investigation into the underlying cause is needed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jace
Morkie
10 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Today I took my dog to the vet for his yearly.. I notice a day last week he had raspy breathing but went away. The vet ordered an xray and he has a diaphragmatic hernia. The vet said he could not operate.. due to him only having done 12 in his 50 years but we live in a small town. Anyways they told him we could go to a specialist or take him home and just let him be. Hes not having any symptoms but that one raspy voice day. Anyways.. they think his hernia has slowly came about from a weaked diapragm.. not from trauma. My question is.. can a dog live like this?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1403 Recommendations
A dog can live like that, yes. If Jace lives a relatively quiet life, he may not be affected by the hernia. You may be able to call around in the meantime to larger centers and find a clinic that could do the surgery for you, or save up funds until you are able to have the specialist do the surgery, as it is obviously better for Jace to have the hernia repaired.

Well I would love to get him surgery however he is 10, and his vet is concerned about his kidney's during anesthesia. So I'm just not sure what to do at the moment.

Thank you so much for the reponse. I didnt know if my vet was sending me home to wait for the end or just figured he could live with it like this.

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Maple
Pug
6 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Difficulty gaining weight

My 6 month old pug has a diaphragmatic hernia in which her liver is stuck in but not purtruding into the lung cavity. Xrays look normal, this was found during surgery. Would you recommend surgery? Most of the advice I see is in regards to a hernia caused by trauma but this appears to be a birth defect. Thank you.

Symptoms- chronic diaherra and trouble gaining weight

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
In a dog Maples’ age we would be leaning more towards a birth defect over traumatic injury, I would recommend having the defect closed as it may cause issues later on in life; personally (depending on the severity of the defect) I would have corrected it on sight if it was possible. But I would put her in for another surgery to correct the defect and have her spayed if not done so already. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Puppy
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Papillion
10 Weeks
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bump

There is a 10-week-old puppy I am thinking about purchasing. I found out today that a few of the pups have hernias. They are a mixed breed: Mom is Papillion/Japanese Chin and Dad is a Cavalier King Charles. One of the boys has an umbilical hernia. But I am most interested in the female whose hernia is on the left side and higher than an umbilical. My concern is whether this may be pericardial or diaphragmatic ? She is one of 2 runts of the litter. The other was fine. I really like her I just don't know how serious this might be.

Thank you

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
I’m not sure where you’re referring the hernia is, diaphragmatic hernias as not visible from the outside and are diagnosed based on symptoms and need x-rays to confirm. If you have any doubts or concerns you should have a third party Veterinarian examine the pup before you commit to purchasing. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you very much. I did not know from my online reading that this type of hernia was inside. I still am unsure. The hernia is further up on the body, on the left side of the chest and definitely not at the bellybutton. Thanks again.

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Angie
Dachshund
2 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty
Panting

Hi, my question is. Why is my dog still panting/ heavily breathing and still in a lot of pain post 48 hours of Diaphragmatic Hernia Surgery? Is it normal for her to be panting like this? She also has fractured pelvic bone. How soon can we expect her to be pain free and heal completely?
Waiting for your reply.

Thanks

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
Panting and heavy breathing can be in response to pain from the surgery or the fractured pelvis; it is normal for a dog to feel discomfort after surgery and the pain response may cause panting. If the panting is excessive, then you may need to return to your Veterinarian for a check to make sure that Angie is getting an adequate amount of oxygen and isn’t in too much pain. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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