hernia is a protrusion or bulge of a part of the body tissue,
fat, or an organ through an abnormal opening of the surrounding
tissues. There are numerous types of hernias, each type named
after its affected area.
A hernia which can be pushed back into the abdomen is called reducible.
Hernias which are not reducible are called incarcerated. If the
blood supply to an incarcerated hernia is pinched off the hernia
becomes strangulated. A strangulated hernia is an emergency situation
and must be brought to the immediate attention of your veterinarian.
Some of the most common types of hernias are:
An umbilical hernia is the most common type of hernia found in
puppies. In the case of umbilical hernias, a portion of fat or
internal organs protrudes through an incompletely closed umbilical
ring. Umbilical hernias may be present at birth, or may be acquired.
The most common means of acquiring an umbilical hernia is as a
result of the umbilical cord being severed too close to the abdominal
In most cases umbilical hernias are small and reduce as the puppy
grows. Generally, by the time the pup is six months old the umbilical
hernia will shrink and disappear on its own. If the pup has a
large hernia, or one that can be pushed into the abdomen with
a finger, consult your veterinarian regarding possible surgical
An inguinal hernia is the result of abdominal organs, fat or tissue
protruding through the inguinal ring. Inguinal hernias are presented
as skin-covered bulges in the groin. They can be bilateral, involving
both sides, or unilateral, involving only one side.
Inguinal hernias are more common in females than males, but do
occur in both sexes. As with umbilical hernias most inguinal hernias
will shrink and disappear as the puppy grows, although you must
keep an eye on the size of the hernia(s).
Inguinal hernias can also occur in unspayed, middle-aged female
dogs. This may occur as the result of stretching of abdominal
tissue due to pregnancy, or atrophy of abdominal tissue and musculature
due to advanced age.
A diaphragmatic hernia is the result of a tear in the diaphragm
which allows abdominal organ portions to pass into the chest area.
The most common occurrence of a diaphragmatic hernia is following
an accident. If the tear is small, there may not be any obvious
clinical indications. If the hernia is significant, however, there
are indications such as strained respiration, lack of appetite,
difficulty swallowing or vomiting. If a large portion of the abdominal
organ have passed through the diaphragmatic tear the dog tends
to stand with an extremely "tucked up" abdominal area.