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What is Inguinal Hernia?

Inguinal hernias can have varying severity, but all involve the enlargement of the inguinal canal and the risk of abdominal contents spilling out through the canal, or opening in the dog’s groin. Although not the sole cause, inguinal hernias can have a genetic component and are most commonly found in the Pekinese, Basset Hound, Cairn Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Pinscher, Lhasa Apso, English Springer Spaniel, Collie, Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Pomeranian, Maltese, West Highland Terrier and Basenji breeds.

The inguinal canal is an opening of the muscle wall in a dog’s groin, which exists in order for blood vessels and the spermatic cord pass to the testicles in male dogs and for the vaginal process to pass through for female dogs. An inguinal hernia occurs when the opening of the inguinal canal widens, allowing abdominal contents to bulge out of or pass through.

Inguinal Hernia Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $800 - $4,000

Average Cost

$2,300

Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia in Dogs

The most remarkable symptom of an inguinal hernia is the protrusion itself, which appears as swelling on one or both sides of a dog’s groin and can be exacerbated by certain activities such as standing, barking or straining. However, additional symptoms correlate with severity of the condition, and they include:

  • Noticeable pain
  • Warmth at the swollen site
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Malaise or depression
  • Frequent attempts at urination
  • Bloody urine
Types
Reducible

Typically smaller in size, a reducible inguinal hernia is one in which the protrusion is simply abdominal lining or fat and may safely be pushed back into the abdomen by a veterinarian. In the majority of cases, the only symptom displayed is swelling of the site itself.

Irreducible

An irreducible inguinal hernia is one in which part of one or more abdominal organs are protruding from the opening. If your dog exhibits symptoms beyond swelling at the site, it may be indicative of an irreducible hernia. This type of an inguinal hernia is more severe, as the affected organ(s) involved may become entrapped, compromising their function. In severe cases, blood flow may be completely cut-off from an organ, leading to tissue death. This is known as organ strangulation.

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Causes of Inguinal Hernia in Dogs

Inguinal hernias can be both congenital, or present at birth, and acquired. While the majority of inguinal hernias are congenital, acquired inguinal hernias are caused by obesity, physical trauma, and pregnancy. Knowing if hernias run in your dog’s bloodline can help you identify a problem early.

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Diagnosis of Inguinal Hernia in Dogs

The veterinarian typically diagnoses inguinal hernias easily upon palpation of the groin area. In irreducible inguinal hernias, x-rays and/or ultrasounds are required in order to determine if there is any organ entrapment. Irreducible inguinal hernias commonly involve complications of the uterus, intestines or bladder.

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Treatment of Inguinal Hernia in Dogs

In rare cases, you and the veterinarian may decide not to treat very small, reducible inguinal hernias. However, this is unlikely, as trauma, pregnancy, activity and weight gain may exacerbate the opening and cause complications. In most cases, particularly with irreducible hernias, prompt surgery will be required. The veterinarian will remove any scar tissue that has formed at the site, push any entrapped organs back into the abdominal cavity, and use stitches to reduce the inguinal canal to its proper size.

It's vitally important that both diagnosis and treatment transpire swiftly, as untreated irreducible hernias can lead to strangulated organs, tissue death, and infection. In some strangulation cases, the dead or affected section of tissue may be removed, and the organ or intestine may be repaired with tissues. The success of this procedure depends heavily upon what tissue and how much tissue is affected.

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Recovery of Inguinal Hernia in Dogs

If your treatment did not involve surgery, it’s important to keep close tabs on the site for any changes. If you notice any changes or issues, seek veterinary attention.

If your dog underwent inguinal hernia surgery, carefully follow the veterinarian's follow-up instructions to guarantee full recovery. Be sure to give your pet plenty of time and space to rest. Limit activity to letting your dog outside only to relieve itself. It will be tough, but do not allow your dog to run or jump for ten days to allow the wound time to heal. In the first few days post surgery, it's normal for your pet to experience sleepiness, lack of coordination, mild whimpering or crying, and coughing. Expect this behavior, but closely watch your pet for additional signs of stress or pain or the continuation of expected signs beyond four days.

Check the incision site daily for drainage and redness, as they are signs of infection, and you will need to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. If the incision doesn’t appear to be holding, or if any intestinal material protrudes through the incision, seek attention immediately. Careful feeding is very important the first few days after surgery, so monitor your dog while feeding small portions. In the case of vomiting, remove and withhold food for twenty-four hours and consult the veterinarian if your dog cannot hold food down.

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Inguinal Hernia Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $800 - $4,000

Average Cost

$2,300

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Inguinal Hernia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Boston Terrier

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7 Weeks

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Unknown severity

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11 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Inguinal Hernia

Hi. I'm looking to buy a Boston Terrier puppy that is 7 weeks today. I received an email saying he had an Inguinal Hernia that was fixed today via surgery. While they were at it, he was also neutered. 2 questions. Will the hernia be an issue going forward and what kind of effect will neutering him this early have on his growth and development, if any? Thank you. Reed Henrich

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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11 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If the inguinal hernia was repaired properly, and does not recur, then it should not have any long-term effects. Neutering a small breed dog at 7 weeks should also not cause any long-term problems. I hope that all goes well for your puppy!

Sept. 29, 2020

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Chihuahua

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6 weeks

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dog has 2 little lumps on the lower side bottom stomach . It doesn't hurt her and she acts normal but they're just large and never seen that before on a puppy

Sept. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. The lamps you are describing in your in your puppy may be a normal part of her Anatomy, or she may have hernias or swellings that need attention. If she is eating and drinking normally otherwise, it may be something that you can ask your veterinarian at her next preventive care appointment. She will need vaccines soon, and at that appointment you can ask if the lumps are normal or if they are a problem. I hope that all goes well for her and she is healthy.

Sept. 20, 2020

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Inguinal Hernia Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $800 - $4,000

Average Cost

$2,300

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