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What is Umbilical Hernia?

In the case of an umbilical hernia, there is an opening in the muscle wall at the dog’s navel potentially allowing contents of the dog’s abdomen to protrude. Although not the sole cause, umbilical hernias are genetic conditions and are most commonly found in the Airedale Terrier, Pekinese, Maltese and Basenji breeds.

An umbilical hernia is a protrusion of the abdominal lining, abdominal fat, or abdominal organs through the area around the umbilicus (navel). This condition is caused by failure of the umbilical ring to close after birth.

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Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

From 36 quotes ranging from $800 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

The most remarkable symptom of an umbilical hernia is the protrusion itself, which appears as swelling beneath the dog’s navel and can protrude further during certain activities such as standing, barking or straining. Further symptoms include:

  • Noticeable pain
  • Warmth at the swollen site
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Malaise or depression
Types
Reducible

Typically smaller in size, a reducible umbilical hernia is one in which the protrusion may be pushed back into the abdomen by a veterinarian. In this case, the protrusion is often limited to abdominal lining or fat. Typically the only symptom seen in these cases is the swelling of the site itself.

Irreducible

Typically larger in size, an irreducible umbilical hernia is generally larger and firmed. Sometimes, part of one or more abdominal organs or the intestines are present within the hernia. In these cases, the organ(s) involved may become entrapped and their function compromised. In severe cases, an organ may become strangulated, meaning blood flow is completely cut off resulting in the death of tissue. A dog with an irreducible hernia which involves organs typically exhibits more of the additional symptoms beyond the swelling of the site itself.

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Causes of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

Before birth, all dogs have an opening called an umbilical ring around their navels that allows the umbilical blood vessels to transmit nourishment to the fetus. In healthy dogs, this opening closes on its own after birth. The exact reason that the umbilical ring fails to close in some dogs is unknown. The prevalence of umbilical hernias in certain breeds and certain family lines indicates a genetic predisposition to the condition that can be passed on through generations.

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Diagnosis of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

The veterinarian typically diagnoses umbilical hernias easily upon feeling the protrusion. In irreducible umbilical hernias, x-rays and/or ultrasounds are required in order to determine if any abdominal organs are entrapped, and the severity of the entrapment.

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Treatment of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

Very small hernias (less than ¼ inch) in puppies under six months of age may be left to close on their own. Untreated hernias in young puppies typically close before six months. If your dog is outside of this age range, surgery may be required to close a small, reducible hernia and will likely be required in the case of an irreducible hernia. During surgery, the scar tissue that has formed around the hernia are removed, any organs that have become entrapped are returned to their proper place, and the opening in the muscle is closed with sutures. The only risks to this surgery are the general risks of anesthesia and surgery, such as bleeding and infection. Often, when caught early, umbilical hernia surgery is paired with spaying or castration.

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Recovery of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

If your treatment does not involve surgery, it’s important to keep an eye on the hernia site for changes. If you have a puppy under the age of six months, watch the site to see if it closes by the six-month mark. If not, consult the veterinarian. If you have an older dog and the veterinarian did not recommend surgery because of the small size of the hernia, monitor the site for any changes or issues, and seek veterinary attention if anything develops.

If your dog underwent umbilical hernia surgery, carefully follow the veterinarian’s follow up instructions to ensure full recovery. Give your pet time and space to rest, and closely monitor him for adverse reactions (beyond the typical behavior the veterinarian predicts, such as sleepiness, lack of coordination, coughing or crying in the first few days).

Check the incision site daily for drainage and redness, as they are signs of infection and you will need to see the veterinarian as soon as possible. If the incision doesn’t appear to be holding, or if any fat or intestinal material protrudes through the incision, seek attention immediately. During the first few days after surgery, feed carefully. Withhold food for a day if your dog vomits. Your dog’s appetite will normalize in a few days. Limit your dog’s physical activity for ten days in order to ensure proper healing. Take your dog outside on a leash to relieve itself, and do not let her run, jump or play.

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Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

From 36 quotes ranging from $800 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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Umbilical Hernia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Poodle

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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7 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hernia

My puppy has an umbilical hernia and I was planning on showing her, the hernia is small 1.1 cm. Should I wait until she's 5/6 months old before I get it fixed (she is not getting spayed) or should I schedule that as soon as possible.

Feb. 15, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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7 Recommendations

Hello, In some cases, hernias close up on their own with time. Unless it's causing any health issues, I would advise you to wait until 6 months to get it fixed.

Feb. 15, 2021

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Harley

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Jack Russell Terrier Shitzu mix

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10 Weeks

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

Fair severity

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6 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Soft Bump On Abdomen

My puppy has an umbilical hernia because he got stuck when he was being born so his mom's owner pulled him out and they pulled his umbilical cord too hard resulting in the hernia. It is not very big and does not seem to cause him any pain, nor does it seem to affect him negatively in any way. Mt question is, is there anything I can do to help insure it closes up on its own? Tye lady that sold him to us suggested pushing it in and gently rubbing it every so often. Us it true that thus could help? Is there anything else we could be doing to help? Thank you!

Aug. 27, 2018

Harley's Owner

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6 Recommendations

Some umbilical hernias may self resolve by the age of six months by the method you described, but it isn’t a reliable method. Normally we correct umbilical hernias at the same time as neutering as a little add on surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 27, 2018

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Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

From 36 quotes ranging from $800 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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