What is Body Wall Herniorrhaphy?

Body wall herniorrhaphy in dogs is a surgical procedure used to correct hernias. A hernia is a projection or protrusion of an organ through the body wall of the cavity that contains said organ. All hernias should be considered a medical emergency as trapped organs or tissues caught in the open body wall have poor blood circulation, and tissue death may occur over a short period of time. A body wall herniorrhaphy is performed by a veterinary surgeon and only after a successful surgery will the dog have a positive prognosis. 

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Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Procedure in Dogs

Body wall herniorrhaphy surgery, or open inguinal hernia repair, is carried out under general anesthesia. The veterinarian will perform pre-operative blood work to ensure the dog is in good health to have anesthetic administered and for the surgery itself. 

  1. The canine will be administered an injectable sedative before going into the pre-surgical area. 
  2. Once the canine is sedated, a member of the veterinary staff will take the dog to the pre-operative area to have a tracheal tube placed. A tracheal tube will be placed to allow oxygen and gas anesthetic to be delivered to the dog. 
  3. The dog will be taken to the surgical area where she/he will be placed on the surgical table and place in dorsal recumbency. 
  4. The canine’s fur will be shaved over the affected area and scrubbed with an antimicrobial solution. 
  5. The canine will be hooked up to oxygen, followed by a gas anesthetic to allow her to relax and rest comfortably without pain during the surgical procedure. 
  6. The area around the hernia will be draped with surgical cloth and the procedure will begin. 
  7. The veterinary surgeon will make an incision over the hernia. 
  8. The loop of affected bowel or fatty tissue will be pushed back into place. If necrotic tissue is present, the dead tissue will need to be removed. 
  9. A mesh will then be placed in the abdominal wall to prevent the tissues from protruding from the weak spot in the future. 
  10. The open area of the dog’s skin will be cleaned and the veterinarian will place sutures as needed internally, followed by skin closure. 
  11. The canine will be removed from gas anesthetic and gas anesthetic as soon as the anesthetist is positive the dog’s vital signs (heart rate, breathing rate, temperature) are normal. 
  12. The tracheal tube will be removed and the canine will be allowed to recover in a quiet area. 

Efficacy of Body Wall Herniorrhaphy in Dogs

Body wall herniorrhaphy in dogs is the best standard care for surgically correcting the tear in the abdominal wall. The prognosis for a canine hernia is initially guarded, but once the canine is stabilized and the surgical repair was successful, the odds of a full recovery are in favor of the canine. 

Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Recovery in Dogs

Body wall herniorrhaphy in dogs will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete, but the canine may require a period of hospitalization after the surgery. During this time, the veterinary staff will monitor the dog and administer pain management medications paired with antibiotics to prevent infection. Once the canine is allowed to return home, her/his physical activities will be restricted and an Elizabethan collar will likely be worn to prevent the dog from ripping out the stitches. Prescribed medications will continue at home as directed by the veterinarian. 

Cost of Body Wall Herniorrhaphy in Dogs

A nonemergency body wall herniorrhaphy procedure can cost approximately $150-$400, minus pre-surgical lab work. If the hernia is a medical emergency, pet owners can expect to pay on the higher end of $500 as the veterinary professionals will do everything they can to save your dog’s life. 

Dog Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Considerations

Body wall herniorrhaphy in dogs does require anesthetic, which may be a concern for some pet owners. General anesthetic is always a controlled substance and almost all dogs handle anesthetic well. 

Body Wall Herniorrhaphy Prevention in Dogs

A hernia can be the result of an injury to the abdomen, a defect after an invasive surgical procedure, or can occur for unknown reasons. Dietary management, oral antacid preparations, and other medical treatments can aid in mild signs of a body wall hernia, but always seek professional veterinary attention before treating.