Hernias in Dogs and Puppies


What are Hernias in Puppies?
Hernias (in general) are usually when there is a hole or opening in a muscle (where there should not be) and therefore allowing tissues, intestines, or even organs to pass through. Depending on the size and location will depend on how serious it is. Hernia's must be examined by a vet to determine if they are a threat to your pet or not. Hernia's have been described by people several ways such as: a skin covered bulge, bubble, soft bump, like a tiny hard button, or even just some puffiness that they aren't sure what it is.

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Types of Hernias
There are Several Types of Hernias ~ below are the most common:

  • Inguinal Hernia  located in the groin area. You can usually see them on the inner part of the rear leg.
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  • Belly Button Hernias  these are called "umbilical hernias."  You can see them right where the belly button would be. As we all know, the umbilical cord is what was connecting the puppy to the mother when in the womb. Alot of umbilical hernias can be caused by the mom pulling to hard when she is biting off the cord at birth.
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  • Abdomen or Chest Hernias  these are called "diaphragmatic hernias."  The body has a muscle that separates the abdomen & chest  That muscle is called a "diaphragm". Depending on how big the hernia is in the diaphragm, it can not only allow intestines to go through but other organs as well. Most of the time the diaphragmatic hernias take up the space where the lungs are suppose to be.
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  • Strangulated Hernias you may have heard of a strangulated hernia. This can happen to any hernia in the body. When a hernia strangulates it becomes extremely serious & life threatening. Strangulated hernias are basically when the size of the hernia (the opening or hole) is big enough to allow a loop of intestines to drop into the hernia and become trapped which makes the pet at high risk for death.

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How Do they Test for Hernias?
Most of the time you can visually see them. They can do a abdominal ultrasound to determine the size of the hernia, what it's contents are (fat, tissue, intestine, organs) & how serious of a threat the hernia is to your pet. Sometimes radiographs are used to determine if the hernia is strangulated.

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Symptoms of Hernias?
The main "sign" of course is that you most likely can visually see it. However, sometimes when they are really tiny or reducible (example: when it's pushed back into the abdomen), you don't notice them right off.  Symptoms for a Strangulated hernia would be: vomiting, abdominal discomfort or pain, anorexia, depression, maybe a large painful & warm hernia sac.

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Treatments for Hernia?
All hernias should be seen by a vet to determine if they are a threat or not to your pet. Sometimes if the puppy is young (under 6 months) and has a small umbilical hernia, they can close up on their own and other times they do not. Some hernias can stay the entire life with the pet without ever causing a problem, others can become life threatening. It's strongly recommended to have hernias repaired, especially if it's a larger one. Most vets can just fix the hernia at the same time they do the spay or neuter surgery. You should never breed a pet that has a hernia, even if it's been repaired.

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Are Hernia's Hereditary?
This topic is debatable and there is no actual "proof" either way yet.  A lot of breeds are predisposed to the different types of hernias.

.Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet.  If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.
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