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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 are genetic conditions 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 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.

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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 are 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, so, the extent. 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, investigate veterinary attention.

If your dog underwent inguinal hernia surgery, carefully follow the veterinarians' 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, 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 down food after that period.

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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Lucky

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miniature poodle

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Constipation
Sleepy
Lack Of Appetite

I’m very concerned for my dog. He has a hernia right by his butt, it’s almost the size of a limon. I know it’s a hernia because I took him to the vet about a month ago and they did blood tests and X-rays on him and they said it was a hernia. I don’t know what to do because the vet told me the surgery would cost about 2,000 to 3,000 dollars to get it done and I don’t have that kind of money but I’m so scared for him and worried. They also told me if I get it done there’s a chance he might not make it through the surgery, but i still don’t want him in pain.. what is best to do, please help me... breaks my heart to think I’d maybe have to take him down.. :( help!!

May 11, 2018

Lucky's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Some dogs with perineal hernias can be managed with a change in diet and medication. I can't examine Lucky, so I don't have any way to know if that is possible for him, but it would be a good idea to discuss that with your veterinarian, or seek a second opinion if you are not sure. They will be able to look at the severity of his problem and discuss whether medical treatments are an option for him.

May 11, 2018

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regalito

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Chihuahua

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4 Months

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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

Peeing A Lot
Bump In Groin
Always Wants To Be Held

I got my dog 2 weeks ago, he is four months old. I took him in for his shots 2 days ago and the doctor told me he had a scrotal hernia. Can someone explain what this means and if it's fatal? She told me my dog needed surgery should i do the surgery right away??

May 2, 2018

regalito's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Common hernias in dogs include umbilical, inguinal, and perineal hernias. I'm not sure what a scrotal hernia looks like, or how it is affecting Ragalito. Since your veterinarian has examined him and knows more about his particular hernia, it would be best to ask those questions of her, as she can explain the possible outcomes. I hope that all goes well for him.

May 2, 2018

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Gus

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Maltipoo

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5 Weeks

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

I recently adopted a what i thought was a 8 week old teacup maltipoo, i took him to the vet to find out he was barely 5 weeks old - and has an Inguinal Hernia, he is going to the bathroom fine and was just told to watch him, but has had loss in apatite and very skinny only 1.6 pounds right now. He had a great apatite when i got him a week ago - but now i can barely get him to eat half of his bowl of food - we need him to put on weight. He doesn't seem to be in pain right now and is very happy and playful & waddles when he walks i think due to the hernia. the vet wants to wait until he is 4 months old to preform the surgery with his neuter but i am scared to wait that long, do you think this is too long to wait?

April 10, 2018

Gus' Owner

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1 Recommendations

Most cases of hernias (inguinal or umbilical) don’t cause much of a hassle and it is normal to combine the two surgeries at neutering, however you should keep a close eye on Gus and ensure that the hernia isn’t causing any health issues. If there is a loss of appetite, it may be related to the hernia but your Veterinarian would need to be consulted about that if it is new; if Gus isn’t eating you should try to feed him a smooth wet food mixed with water using a syringe bit by bit allowing him to lap it up, it may help boost his food intake. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 11, 2018

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Lulu

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

None
No

My dog had surgery for her inguinal hernia and a spay and she's been resting well and doesn't look sad or anything but after three days I was told to take off bandages that they wrap around after surgery. I did and she still has the bump from the hernia. It's like they could only reduce it a few and just spayed her. But they didn't say anything about only reducing it by a little. Could it be possible that it will shrink down as she heals more or is she always going to have a noticeable hernia?

April 7, 2018

Lulu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

You'll need to contact your veterinarian and ask this question, as I was not there for the surgery, and cannot see the incision at this time. There may be some swelling or scar tissue from the surgery, but your veterinarian will be able to give you a better explanation.

April 7, 2018

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Pancha

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Swelling
Bruise

My dog just had hernia surgery this past Friday and we got her home Saturday. They gave me some antibiotics and pain medicine for her. When we came back from work Sunday morning, she had ripped off her cone and I’m assuming she licked it. We took her back to the vet first thing Monday morning and they told me she irritated it. They said it was good though since there was no drainage, but it was very red/bruised and swollen. They gave her laser therapy and it looked like the swelling had gone down some. I have to go back on Wednesday and Friday to do more laser therapy. I’m looking at her incision site now and it looks like the redness/bruising is spreading upwards. She seems completely normal; she’s walking, eating, and drinking water. I just want to make sure she is okay.

Feb. 27, 2018

Pancha's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If she is acting normally and doing well otherwise, it may just be bruised as a result of surgery and post op trauma. Since you are taking her back tomorrow for laser therapy, it would be a good idea to have them reassess it at that time, to make sure that the bruising isn't more than is expected. I hope that all goes well for her.

Feb. 27, 2018

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Don

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Jack Russell Terrier

dog-age-icon

7 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

He Is Now Fine

Hi, my dog just had his inguinal hernia surgery repair, we were told that he will never be able to live a normal live, no running, jumping and thing like that. I know that couple of weeks after surgery,that went well, he needs to be calm but i cant understand why cant he have a normal life after few months. Whats your opinion?

Inguinal Hernia Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,300

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