Hernia Repair in Dogs

Hernia Repair in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
Hernia Repair in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
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What is Hernia Repair?

Hernia repair is a surgical treatment used in dogs to repair various hernias that dogs may have occurred either congenitally or acquired later in life. The goal of hernia repair is to remove misplaced abdominal contents back into the abdomen and repair the defect that allowed communication between the abdomen and other body cavities to occur. Hernia repair is a common procedure in dogs. Hernia repair for common hernias such as perineal hernias can be performed by your primary veterinarian. More rare hernias or complex cases may be referred to a boarded veterinary surgeon. 

Hernia Repair Procedure in Dogs

Diagnosis of a hernia may involve physical exam only (for perineal hernias) or a combination of physical exam and diagnostic imaging (for internal hernias). Once the type of hernia has been determined, surgery is scheduled for your dog. Before surgery, it will be important to keep your dog off food for 12 hours to lessen the chance of nausea associated with certain anesthetic premedication agents. 

Some hernias may not require that abdominal exploration be done (perineal) and some hernia repairs are much more involved and involve the abdomen and thoracic space (peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia).

General hernia repair steps

  • Pre-anesthesia/anesthesia applied
  • Position animal for surgery (on back for abdominal/thoracic hernias, on stomach for perineal hernias)
  • Prepare incisional area (shave, clean)
  • Move to operating room (if prep is done in another area)
  • Drape in for surgery and sterilize skin to be incised
  • Incision made along appropriate plane for the hernia type (along abdominal midline or off midline by rectum)
  • Hernia visualized and necrotic tissue removed
  • Defect in muscle layers repaired (mesh indicated for large defects)
  • Abdomen checked for bleeding
  • Incision closed
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Efficacy of Hernia Repair in Dogs

Hernia treatment is generally effective and effects are permanent, especially if recovery is smooth. Alternative treatment of hernias are not generally recommended due to the risk of entrapped tissue becoming strangulated (blood supply cut off) and dying. Once this occurs there is a high risk of infection which could lead to sepsis.

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Hernia Repair Recovery in Dogs

After surgery, your dog will be given pain medication for any postoperative pain. You will need to keep your dog still (no jumping, running, rough play) for 10 days while the skin incisions heal to reduce the risk of dehiscence (sutures coming apart). Your dog will also be given an Elizabethan collar to prevent chewing at the incision site. After surgery, you will need to monitor your dog’s incision for signs of infection such as swelling, heat and discharge. Generally, after the suture removal appointment, there is no need to follow up with your veterinarian for the procedure. 

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Cost of Hernia Repair in Dogs

Hernia repair surgery can be expensive and price varies depending on the location of the hernia and the cost of living in your area. Hernia repair expenses range from $700 (for simple more common hernias) to $2,500 (more complex cases) with $1,600 being the average cost. These costs include diagnosis, surgery and aftercare. 

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Worried about the cost of Hernia Repair treatment?

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Dog Hernia Repair Considerations

Hernia repair, like all surgery, is associated with risks. The most common risks of hernia repair surgery are bleeding, dehiscence, and infection.  Keeping your dog still after surgery and monitoring the incision for signs of infection will help prevent these adverse effects from occurring. Hernia surgery is life saving and the benefits are long lasting. The potential for another hernia occurrence in the same location is low post-op.

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Hernia Repair Prevention in Dogs

In general, prevention of hernias that need surgical correction is difficult. Many hernias are due to traumatic events or are congenital anomalies. Choosing to not breed those dogs with congenital hernias could help prevent future pups from being born with hernias, but is not a guarantee. Perineal hernias are most often seen in intact male dogs and may be associated with straining to defecate due to an enlarged prostate or prostatitis. The best way to prevent this kind of hernia is to have your dog neutered if they develop an enlarged prostate or, ideally, as a puppy.

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Hernia Repair Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Catahoula Leopard Dog

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Eleven Months

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4 found helpful

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4 found helpful

Has Symptoms

My dog was diagnosed with cryptorchidism. We got him fixed and he had the surgery performed to remove the undescended testicle. A couple days later we noticed a bulge forming near the incision. He ended up popping the abdominal incision and a portion of his intestines fell through the abdominal cavity. He had a hernia repair surgery. We went to pick him up the same day of the surgery and when he stepped out of the kennel, his intestines fell back into the abdominal cavity again. He is having the surgery redone in the morning. Is this common? Will he be okay?

Feb. 16, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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4 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this and appreciate your concern. This isn't common but is a potential complication. Something like this would be more common in an older dog with weakened muscles or when a large incision had to be made. Hopefully the most recent surgery was a success.

Feb. 19, 2021

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mixed

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Four Months

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10 found helpful

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10 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Had umbilical hernia repair 11/19, concerned about how it’s healing, if it’a failing. It will occasionally look bulged out. No difficultly with eating, bowel movements, urinating.

Nov. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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10 Recommendations

Hello, this incision looks normal. It will be a little swollen as some dogs may have a mild reaction to the suture material.

Nov. 29, 2020

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