What is Inguinal Herniorrhaphy?

Inguinal herniorrhaphy is a surgical procedure used to correct irreducible inguinal hernias in dogs. These hernias occur in the inguinal canal, which is situated at the opening of the muscle in a dog’s groin. When hernia occurs, the inguinal canal becomes wider. This causes intestines or other contents in the abdominal cavity to pass through into the inguinal canal. Inguinal hernias are more common in female dogs, particularly in those that are pregnant. They are considered rare in male dogs.

Book First Walk Free!

Inguinal Herniorrhaphy Procedure in Dogs

  1. The dog will first be anesthetized.
  2. The surgeon will make the initial incision into the abdomen in order to visualize the hernia.
  3. The intestines will be put back into their correct position.
  4. If necrosis has occurred in any part of the protrusion, the surgeon will resection the dead tissue before reconnecting the intestines with sutures.
  5. The surgeon will ensure everything is in its correct position before suturing the inguinal canal with absorbable sutures.
  6. In some cases, a muscle graft may be required to repair the hernia.
  7. A Penrose drain is then put into place.
  8. The initial entry site will then be sutured.
  9. The surgeon will place an abdominal wrap bandage to promote healing and comfort.
  10. Dogs may be hospitalized for a short time following surgery to recover.

Efficacy of Inguinal Herniorrhaphy in Dogs

Inguinal herniorrhaphy is typically very effective at correcting inguinal hernia. The prognosis is generally good to excellent following surgery, and postoperative complications are generally rare. Common complications include infection and/or swelling of the surgery site. 

Inguinal Herniorrhaphy Recovery in Dogs

Dogs will be lethargic and uncoordinated for the first few days following surgery. An Elizabethan cone may be required to ensure the dog does not irritate the surgery site. Owners should ensure their dogs do not engage in activity, particularly running and jumping. Wound rupture can occur if dogs engage in these activities, and may require a second surgery to correct. Dogs are usually placed on a limited diet, and owners should follow the surgeon’s dietary recommendations closely to prevent vomiting and other complications. Postoperative pain may be managed with analgesics. Approximately three to five days following surgery, the owner will need to take their dog back to the vet so the drain can be removed. Additional follow-up appointments may be required to monitor healing and ensure the condition has not recurred.

Cost of Inguinal Herniorrhaphy in Dogs

The cost of treating inguinal hernia will vary based on any additional costs incurred, including medications and supportive care. The cost of inguinal herniorrhaphy typically ranges from $800 to $4,000. The average cost of inguinal herniorrhaphy is $2,300.

Dog Inguinal Herniorrhaphy Considerations

Inguinal hernia must be treated promptly. If left untreated, the condition can become life-threatening very quickly. Inguinal herniorrhaphy is typically very effective, although the prognosis will vary for each individual case. Condition recurrence, hematoma, inflammation of the abdominal lining, and sudden death are considered rare complications of inguinal herniorrhaphy. Owners should check the surgery site daily to ensure no swelling, bleeding, or inflammation has recurred. If the protrusion reappears, owners should consult their veterinarian immediately.

Inguinal Herniorrhaphy Prevention in Dogs

For male dogs in particular, inguinal hernia can be difficult to prevent as it is usually a congenital condition. Affected dogs should not be allowed to breed. Spaying female dogs may help prevent the likelihood of inguinal hernia. Owners should also manage their dog’s weight if it is an underlying cause of acquired inguinal hernia.