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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 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 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.

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 simply 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 one in which part of one or more abdominal organs are protruding from the opening. 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 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 neutering.

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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 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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Harley

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Jack Russell Terrier Shitzu mix

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10 Weeks

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Fair severity

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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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3320 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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Shirley

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Pug

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10 Weeks

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

I have just purchased a little Pug puppy, born on the 13th May 2018. I paid £900.00 for her maybe with the intention of breading her when she is older just to recover my money spent. I didn’t realise when purchased until the day after but she has a hernia on her umbilical area of her tummy. I have also noticed she limps at times. I have only had her three days and love her lots but when I spoke to the seller about This she did indicate that she would be prepared to reimburse me my money back. I would be very thankful of your advice please.

July 27, 2018

Shirley's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It does sound like an umbilical hernia and it is not advisable to breed a dog with a hernia since this may be an inherited trait plus increased intra abdominal pressure may make the hernia larger. I would recommend having Shirley spayed and the hernia may be corrected at the same time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 28, 2018

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Willow

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Sheepadoodle

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11 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Small Protusion On Belly

I discovered today that my puppy has what I THINK is an umbilical hernia. Everything I'm reading online - and talking with the vet - suggests that's what it is. She is 11 weeks old and has her next check-up in 10 days so I thought I'd wait until then for the vet to look at her. Only thing, everything online describes it as soft. But little bump (about the size of a knickle) is fairly hard. How worried should I be? Can I wait the 10 days for the vet to see her?

July 3, 2018

Willow's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Willow is eating and drinking and bright and happy, you should be fine to wait until your next appointment to have the lump looked at. Some umbilical hernias can be more firm than others. If the lump is growing in size, then it would be a good idea to have it looked at sooner, but if it stays the same and she is fine otherwise, you should be fine to wait.

July 3, 2018

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Leo

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chihuahua mix

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11 Weeks

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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Umbilical Hernia

My husband and I adopted a small chihuahua mix the first week of June. He was born 4/11/18. As a rescue he was neutered before he came home with us. We have been told by our vet that he will need surgery on an umbilical hernia he has. I asked if the hernia could close as he grows, but was told no. We have been told to get it repaired once he get a bit older. Is this something that should have been caught and fixed when he was neutered prior to us bringing him home? Or do umbilical hernias not appear until the puppy has grown a bit?

June 27, 2018

Leo's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Umbilical hernias may appear and may change in size depending on how much fat has passed through, some hernias may close but is unlikely; you should continue to monitor the hernia for now but plan on getting the surgery done at around six months of age, if it hasn’t self resolved by then it never will. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 28, 2018

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Rafael

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Chihuahua

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog just had surgery for 2 hernias last tuesday and now he has a bump the size of a lemon. The vet says its inflammation but it looks like a ball so im worried that its something else. Do you think its really inflamed or something else? Wish it could add a picture.

May 30, 2018

Rafael's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

A picture isn’t really useful since I can think of a mass the size of a lemon, but it is important to be able to palpate the mass to determine if it is due to a recurrence of the hernia, haematoma, fat or another cause. I wouldn’t imagine inflammation being that bad, but I haven’t physically examined it myself; if you have concerns regarding the advice given to you by your Veterinarian, you should visit another for a second opinion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 31, 2018

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Stella

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Miniature Schnauzer

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11 Weeks

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Fair severity

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bump

My 11 week on miniature schnauzer has an umbilical hernia - the breeder told me. She doesn’t cry when i touch it and is very active and friendly, likes to play. It’s about 1cm in size, is this dangerous for her health??

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ziva

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norweigen elkhound

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14 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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Non Painful Lump On Abdomen

We noticed a new lump on the side of our 14 yr old spayed female elkhound's abdomen, on the right side. I think it may be a hernia. She does not act like it hurts when we feel it. it is not hard. Why would a dog her age develop a hernia, and would surgery not be advised at her age? She is overweight and has arthritis.

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Summer

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Maltipoo

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lump

After her grooming notice a pea size lump bet her upper belly bet her lower rib cage. My dog is 2 years old weighs almost 6 lbs. No noticeable pain when I touch it. Her appetite seems to be the same. At times I can’t even feel the lump. I took her to her vet and right away she said umbilical hernia and surgery. No X-ray or any scan was done just surgery is my option. Should I observe the lump first or right away surgery or get a second opinion. Desperate for an advice. Thank You

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OG

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Constipation
Heart Flutter

I recently started helping a friend take care of her 9 year old Chihuahua. His name is OG and he was born with an umbilical hernia. It is pretty big, about the size of a nickle. We recently found out that he has a heart murmur as well which I read that an irregular heartbeat can be a complication of umbilical hernias. His hernia seems to have gotten slightly bigger in the last few months. He does not seem like he is in any pain. He tends to be always constipated and strains. Is the heart murmur and constipation likely caused/related to the hernia? His vet said that because of his heart murmur, he is not a candidate for anestesia so would not qualify for a hernia repair surgery. I'm just worried that with his heart issue that there wouldn't be anything we can do if the hernia became worse or if the bowel became pinched. If the constipation is related, is there a good remedy for constipation caused by umbilical hernias?

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Remington

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English Mastiff

dog-age-icon

9 Months

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bump

I have a 9 month English mastiff who has just had surgery for an umbilical hernia a week ago. His stitches seem to be dissolved but it’s crusty like a scab.. and it has a bump. Should I be concerned? It doesn’t seem like he’s in any pain when I touch it.

Umbilical Hernia Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,200