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Canine Hernia


A 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:
Umbilical hernia
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 wall.
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 repair.

Inguinal hernia
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.

Diaphragmatic hernia
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.

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