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Hernia in a dog: how to recognize and treat it [vet Krystyna Skiersinis

Hernia in a dog

Hernia in a dog, what is this?

Pets are quite often affected by a strange ailment.

Well, on the surface of the body shells, there is a "bulge" of various sizes, which is often called by the owners tumor.

It can show up in different places, e.g. under the skin of the abdomen, chest, groin, leg or groin.

Such a lesion has a soft, plastic consistency, it can disappear under pressure, sometimes enlarging or decreasing.

Many caregivers associate this type of deformity with hematoma, abscess or even cancerous tumor.

Before you start desperately searching the internet for more malignant neoplasms, take your dog to a doctor and let him examine it.

It may turn out that what is disturbingly "protrudes " from the abdomen or abdomen of your ward is not a malicious change, but just hernia.

It applies to dogs of all ages, however, it is very often found in puppies.

Animals are either born with it, or it develops as a result trauma, pregnancy if obesity.

What is a hernia in a dog, what are its types, methods of treatment, and also the consequences - you will learn about it by reading the article below.

  • What is a hernia in a dog?
  • Construction of a hernia
  • Classification of hernias
    • Division due to etiogenesis
    • Breakdown by location
    • Breakdown due to complications
    • Classification due to the structure of the hernia
  • Causes of a hernia in a dog
  • Hernia in a dog: characteristics
    • Abdominal hernia in a dog
    • Umbilical hernia in a dog
    • Inguinal hernia in a dog
    • A scrotal hernia in a dog
    • Femoral hernia in a dog
    • Perineal hernia / pelvic hernia in a dog
    • Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia in a dog
    • Diaphragmatic peritoneal-pericardial hernia in dogs (PPOO)
    • Congenital pleural hernia in a dog
    • Hiatal hernia in a dog's diaphragm
    • Iatrogenic hernia in a dog

What is a hernia in a dog?

The very concept of "hernia "(Hernia) is a fairly broad description of any abnormalities that lead to the protrusion of an organ or its part (e.g. intestine), through the connective tissue or the wall delimiting a given cavity in the body (e.g. abdominal cavity), which under normal conditions should be "tight" and prevent this type of displacement.

All types of hernias (and there are many of them) are the result of two opposing forces present in a given place and time in the body.

These are:

  • the pressure force acting on an organ, which in a way pushes it outside;
  • the force limiting the muscles or fascia, which under normal conditions gives adequate resistance and prevents the movement of tissues or organs.

In the event of a hernia, it means that the muscles or fascia normally restricting the organs in their correct position have either been significantly weakened or even torn at some point, with the result that the internal organs - under the influence of pressure and thanks to own movements (e.g. peristaltic) - slipped through the hole formed in the shells.

This happens for a variety of reasons, which you will read about below when characterizing each type hernias.

Generally, however, it can be said that anything that increases the pressure in a given space of the body and any factor that weakens the muscles and fascia can lead to a hernia.

Before we go into details, however, I would like to familiarize you with the basic concepts and types of hernias.

Construction of a hernia

Hernias can affect different organs and occur in different locations, but each hernia has some permanent elements.

They are:

Hernia gates

It is a fissure, hole or defect in the body's integuments through which tissues and organs are squeezed.

Most often it is a place that is a "weak link", a point where the tissues have a lower strength than the organs pressing against them.

Hernia channel

The hernia channel is the way through which the contents of the hernia enter the skin.

Most often, the hernia channel is created thanks to the peritoneal diverticulum paving its way, which is squeezed between the tissues.

Hernial sac

A hernial sac is a bulging of the peritoneum (if it concerns an abdominal hernia) in which the contents of the hernia are located.

It is divided into 3 parts:

  • the neck, which is located in the gate and the canal and is also the narrowest element of the bag,
  • stem,
  • the bottom of the hernial sac.

It is an element of a hernia of significant importance, and - depending on the tissues forming it - it can be built:

  • from two layers: skin and parietal peritoneum; if the hernial sac has this structure, the hernia is called true hernia,
  • one layer made of leather; then we speak of pseudo hernia.

The contents of the hernia

The contents of the hernia are everything there is in it.

It may vary depending on your location.

Initially it may be empty, as the condition continues, various tissues and organs are invaded into the bag.

In case of abdominal hernia the most common hernia contents are:

  • bowel loops,
  • fat tissue,
  • fragments of the web.

By perineal hernia its contents may constitute bladder, and at inguinal hernia - e.g. uterine horn.

A common feature of all hernias is the fact that their contents blaze their path by using weaker areas in muscles or fasciae.

As a rule, these are places through which large blood vessels, nerves or other structures pass from one area of ​​the body to another, most often constituting various types of conduits.

So even umbilical scar it is also such a less structured place, especially in the early stages of a dog's life.

Classification of hernias

Division due to etiogenesis

Congenital hernias

Congenital hernias - being a developmental disorder.

As a result of errors in embryogenesis, the body shells or tissues limiting the body cavities do not "close" properly, and as a result, small or more extensive cavities remain, constituting the gates of a hernia.

These types of disorders are most often detected right after giving birth or in early puppyhood.

Since many of them have a genetic background, dogs with birth defects should not be allowed to breed.

Acquired hernias

They can appear at any age and are caused by many reasons.

Most often they arise as a result trauma (e.g. traffic accident, impact, fall from a great height), during which the continuity of the muscular wall of a given area of ​​the body is broken.

Others occur as a result high pressure, prevailing in the body cavities (e.g. in the abdomen).

One type of acquired hernia is the one that complicates some surgical procedures.

Breakdown by location

External hernias

External hernias - during which internal organs slip, e.g. from the abdominal cavity under the skin.

Depending on the location, the following can be distinguished:

  • umbilical hernia,
  • abdominal hernia,
  • inguinal hernia,
  • femoral hernia,
  • perineal hernia.

Internal hernias

Internal hernias - these are hernias, the contents of which do not point outwards, but change their position inside the body.

This is when an organ - topographically assigned to a specific body cavity - slides into another cavity or recess.

Due to the fact that these hernias occur within the tissues that make up the ring (e.g. diaphragm), we include here, among others:

  • diaphragmatic hernia,
  • hiatal hernia.

Breakdown due to complications

Drainable hernias

Drainable hernias - with the help of skillful (and delicate!) of compression, the contents of the hernia can be discharged through its gates to the correct position.

Irreversible hernias

In chronic conditions, when the content of the hernia remains in the hernial sac for a long time, these two structures may fuse together and, consequently, the tissue or organ may not be able to return to its natural location.

This is a very dangerous condition that can lead to the so-called. hernia entrapment.

Trapped hernias

The organs are constantly pushed into the hernial sac under the influence of the abdominal press or other pressure forces (pressure on the stool, coughing, intense barking of the dog).

In addition, the mere movement of certain organs (e.g. intestinal peristalsis) may cause them to slide further and further into the hernial sac.

Trapping occurs when the content of the hernia is so large that it is not possible to slide it back through too narrow gates, which additionally put pressure on organs and tissues lying within them, which results in reduced blood supply to the organs forming the hernia.

At this stage, your dog may experience symptoms such as:

  • vomiting,
  • diarrhea,
  • lack of or difficulty passing stools or urine,
  • lack of appetite.

Additionally, visible tissue elevation at the site of the hernia it is painful, about increased warmth, the skin in this area may turn red.

This type of hernia is definitely not removable anymore, and the condition can also lead to very serious, irreversible consequences.

The blood vessels within the hernia are not yet closed, but the longer this condition lasts, the greater the risk of the hernia gets stuck.

Cramped hernias

As the gates of the hernia constantly press against its contents, the blood vessels of the structures that are in the hernial sac are tightened.

The inevitable consequence of this is ischemia, and then tissue necrosis lying in this area.

If it is the intestine, passage is impaired and symptoms appear intestinal obstruction.

Strangulated hernia is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate surgical correction.

Classification due to the structure of the hernia

Real hernias

True hernias, the contents of which are most often found in the peritoneal sac.

Pseudo hernias

Pseudo hernias - their contents are rarely found in the peritoneal sac.

They allow organs to fall out, e.g. abdominal hernias caused by trauma.

Causes of a hernia in a dog

Birth defects that appear during the embryonic period

Consequent hernias are manifested mainly in the adolescent period in dogs.

Unfortunately, they are very often associated with other anomalies, so if a puppy is diagnosed with a congenital hernia, it should always be checked whether it is also accompanied by other disorders (e.g. cryptorchidism, diaphragmatic-pericardial hernia, ventricular septal defects and others).

Enlargement of natural holes, rings, gaps or crevices inside the body

They can occur as a result of disturbances in embryogenesis, as well as as a result of weakening the tension of tension structures (e.g. due to obesity, pregnancy and even advanced age).

A classic example of this type of hernia is hiatal hernia.

Reduced flexibility and strength of tissues

Reduced flexibility and strength of tissues predispose to the easier formation of various types of cavities, dilatations or stretch marks within the limiting tissues.

Such a decrease in turgor may result from the aging of the organism, but it also accompanies diseases of the connective tissue (e.g. collagenopathies).

Injuries that cause tissue disruption

Increased intra-abdominal pressure

Especially frequent pressure on the faeces or its difficult defecation in non-castrated male dogs may consequently lead to a hernia of the pelvic diaphragm.

Hernia in a dog: characteristics

Diagnosis of hernia in a dog

Abdominal hernia in a dog

Most often, an abdominal hernia occurs as a result trauma, e.g. as a result of a traffic accident or bitten by another animal.

In such situations, the abdominal wall is torn at a given place and internal organs are wedged into the resulting fissure.

As a rule, this type of injury occurs on the sides of the body or in the pre-pubic area.

It happens, however, that the abdominal hernia is congenital - then it is usually located cranially from the navel as a congenital anterior abdominal hernia.

It is not uncommon for this type of disorder to accompany other abnormalities in the dog, especially peritoneal-pericardial diaphragm hernia.

Such developmental anomalies can be inherited with Weimaraners.

Location of the abdominal hernia

An abdominal hernia can appear in various regions of a dog's abdomen and takes the corresponding names depending on its location:

  • anterior abdominal hernia,
  • pre-pubic hernia,
  • subcostal hernia,
  • subchondral hernia,
  • pericostal hernia,
  • lateral hernia,
  • anterior pubic ligament hernia.

The content of abdominal hernias is not in the peritoneal sac, so they are pseudo hernias.

Symptoms of an abdominal hernia in a dog

It comes to the fore - noticed by the owner - asymmetry of the outline of the abdominal integuments.

Such a bulging of the abdominal wall can appear in different locations and have different sizes - depending on the content of the hernia.

Initially, the prominence may not be noticed, but as the process continues, organs and tissues become wedged, and the deformation is likely to become enlarged.

If the hernia is removable, then with gentle pressure the swelling should disappear and reappears when the pressure is released.

It also happens that this happens when you change the position of the dog.

Caregivers report that the "tumor " disappears or becomes smaller the moment the pooch lies down on his back.

If the abdominal hernia is acquired, it is very common for the owner to report a previous injury in the interview.

However, the lack of data on this subject should not be the basis for excluding a traumatic hernia - the caregiver may not have noticed the accident, which happens quite often.

If loops of the intestines have entered the hernial sac, they may have become trapped, usually accompanied by general symptoms such as:

  • lack of appetite,
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhea,
  • strong apathy,
  • reluctance to move.

In case of a hernia strangulation it may develop quickly shock:

  • the animal shows symptoms of severe apathy,
  • mucous membranes may be pale or injected,
  • it is accompanied by tachycardia, anxiety.

Identifying an abdominal hernia

Abdominal hernias are most often diagnosed in young animals, however, if they arise from trauma, they can occur at any age.

On clinical examination, bulging or deformation of the abdominal wall is observed.

During palpation, its content is determined - the veterinarian must check which organs have entered the hernial sac.

The most common are:

  • bowel loops,
  • bladder,
  • fragment of the spleen.

Then, the defect of the abdominal wall is precisely located and its extent is determined.

When palpating a hernia, it is also checked whether it is drainable or whether there is a possible entrapment of organs.

If the hernial sac is warm and painful and its contents cannot be put back into the abdominal cavity, it is likely that the hernia is trapped.

In case of anterior pre-pubic ligament hernia Palpation is difficult due to severe swelling and pain in the area.

It is extremely important that if a hernia is suspected, the patient is carefully examined to see if he has any other injuries, e.g. abdomen, chest or pelvis.

Since this condition arose as a result of an injury, it is possible that the damage is more extensive and also applies to other places.

If a hernia is present in a young animal with no evidence of previous trauma, it may be suspected that it has an inherited background.

The dog should then be examined for other defects (e.g. diaphragm abnormalities).

Imaging tests - X-ray and ultrasound examination

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In the case of abdominal hernias, it is recommended to perform review x-rays at least in two projections:

  • side,
  • ventral - dorsal.

Radiographs may show:

  • damage to the abdominal wall and / or chest (e.g. the presence of intestinal loops under the skin, disturbances in the course of the lower abdominal line, the presence of intestinal loops in the hernial sac),
  • fluid in the abdomen,
  • diaphragmatic hernia,
  • an ultrasound examination may be helpful in determining the contents of the hernia.

Laboratory tests rarely provide specific diagnostic information, unless there is an intestinal entrapment or obstruction.

Treatment of abdominal hernia in dogs

Treatment of abdominal hernias consists of surgical closure of the torn edges of the abdominal wall or sewing together muscle abdomens that have separated.

Before closing the fissure, the contents of the hernia are drained to its correct position.

If adhesions have occurred, first release the contents before discharge into the abdominal cavity.

In more severe cases of a trapped hernia, the so-called herniotomy is required - that is, incision and surgical dilation of the hernial gates in such a way that it is possible to place "everted " internal organs in their correct position.

The procedure is generally prolonged if the organ (e.g. intestine) got stuck in the hernia gates.

In such a situation, the surgeon must not only properly "mend" the defect, but also - most importantly - save the ischemic organ.

Often, the already dead part of the intestine is resected and the changed tissues are excised.

Sometimes specials are used hernia mesh, which are supposed to prevent relapse and help keep internal organs in their natural position.

If the hernia was bitten, the wound may become infected - then it may be necessary to perform bacteriological examination with the determination of the antibiotic profile.

On its basis, the type of antibiotic is determined.

Sometimes it may be necessary to apply drain and / or abdominal lavage.

Trapped or, even worse, hernias require immediate surgical intervention.

In this situation, before the procedure is performed, it should be ensured that the patient is stabilized in terms of shock.

In other cases, surgery may be slightly delayed.

However, an abdominal hernia should be developed as soon as possible.

Post-operative care

After the procedure, the patient should recover calmly.

It is recommended to provide him with peace and quiet.

The postoperative wound should be checked daily for infection or its edges.

Hygiene in the cutting area should be based on changing the dressings and disinfecting the wound.

To prevent the dog from licking the wound, it is best to place the patient on the patient for the entire period of convalescence and wound healing Elizabethan collar or postoperative clothes.

The dog's movement should be limited for several days after the procedure.

Walks should be controlled, on a leash, with no possibility of jumping or running.

It is also very important to prevent sudden or intense work of the abdominal press.

All kinds of gastrointestinal (vomiting, obstructed defecation, constipation) or circulatory and respiratory problems (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) should be corrected as much as possible.

Often, after surgery for an abdominal hernia, the patient is brought home fecal relaxants.

Complications after hernia plastic surgery in a dog

Possible complications after the procedure - although rare - are possible.

Most often it happens:

  • recurrence of hernia - luckily, these are not common situations; however, they can happen due to the following factors:
    • incorrect technique of the procedure,
    • incorrect postoperative care,
    • further action of predisposing or causal factors.
  • wound infection; a rare complication, as most patients receive antibiotics after the procedure; the greatest risk of infection is if the hernia is bitten or there is a strangulation and necrosis of the intestine,
  • peritonitis accompanied by vomiting, fever and / or leukocytosis.
The prognosis for abdominal hernias is good.

If relapse occurs, it is most likely to happen within a few days after surgery.

Umbilical hernia in a dog

Umbilical hernia is the most common type of hernia in dogs, usually diagnosed during the period of childhood.

It looks like a slight thickening of tissue, always around the navel, which sometimes gets bigger and sometimes disappears.

The joyful puppy does not pay attention to it at all, it does not hurt him and - if it is really small - it is only a cosmetic defect that does not endanger the dog's life in any way.

Such a defect is usually removed during the sterilization procedure (unless it closes itself earlier, which may occur more or less up to 6 months of age).

Causes of the umbilical hernia

Umbilical hernias are usually congenital and they occur as a result of certain developmental disorders.

During fetal life, very important structures run through the umbilical ring, connecting the organism of the fetus to the mother.

At birth, this opening closes, leaving an umbilical scar.

In a situation where the opening does not overgrow or is incorrectly formed, a hernia appears.

Due to the fact that it is lined with a peritoneal bag, it is classified as real hernias.

Umbilical hernias in dogs are therefore most often hereditary.

Certain breeds of dogs are strongly predisposed to hernias:

  • airedale terrier,
  • Basenji,
  • Weimaraner,
  • Pekingese.

If an umbilical hernia is diagnosed in an older dog, it is usually only a minor cosmetic defect.

The reasons for the formation of umbilical hernias are poorly understood.

Quite often, in male dogs that have a hernia, it occurs additionally cryptorchidism.

It may happen that the umbilical cord is pulled too much during childbirth, which predisposes a puppy to hernia.

Such a situation may take place as a result of the bitch biting the umbilical cord incorrectly or during the delivery in a standing position, when the canine baby "hangs " on the umbilical cord.

It is therefore important to prevent these from happening by acting as a midwife in the birth of puppies.

Umbilical hernia in a dog symptoms

As a rule, it is more of a "aesthetic disturbance" than a symptom, but atypical enough to escape the attention of a caring caregiver.

In most cases, the only concern reported by the caregiver is a noticeable and palpable soft lump around the navel.

This bulge can be easily restored to the abdominal cavity, although there are also irreversible hernias.

The hernia in young dogs is not visible from the very beginning, that is, from the moment of birth.

Therefore, the fact that the baby does not have this defect does not guarantee that it will not appear again.

In fact, the hernia is only noticed in puppies several weeks old.

Unfortunately, it also happens that as it gets into the hernial sac of tissues and organs, it increases in size.

Fat slides under the skin initially, but gradually the intestines and / or the net are pulled as well.

This is the case when the hernia gates are already relatively large (see above 0.5 - 1.0 cm).

Then, the general symptoms may also manifest.

If a fragment of the intestine gets into the hernial sac and - worse - it becomes trapped, the dog may be apathetic, vomit, refuse to eat, and in extreme cases - due to the development of peritonitis - it appears fever and poor general condition.

This is already a signal for immediate surgical intervention.

Diagnosis of umbilical hernia in dogs

The diagnosis of umbilical hernia is usually not problematic and there is no need to perform additional imaging tests.

Of course, diagnostic methods are selected based on the results of a physical examination.

For example, if the umbilical hernia is large in size and its contents are likely to be trapped and cannot be inserted into the abdominal cavity, and the dog additionally shows general symptoms, further investigation may be required:

  • blood count and serum chemistry - to determine the general condition of the patient;
  • radiological and / or ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity and the hernial sac to determine the content of the hernia, as well as to detect any accompanying defects.

Umbilical hernia treatment in a dog

Many small hernias close spontaneously within the first 6 months of life.

Then they can be treated as a common cosmetic defect and treatment attempts may be temporarily abandoned.

There are certain methods that are applicable to small umbilical hernias in young puppies:

  • One of them is sticking a button or a folded piece of gauze at the height of the navel (with a patch).
  • Another way is to simply monitor the hernia and drain its contents into the abdomen.

However, if the hernial gates are large or enlarged, surgery is required.

It is usually carried out in 2 - 3 months of the dog's life.

Do not wait too long with it, because leaving a hernia without plastic surgery may result in serious consequences.

Not only a fairly large hernial sac is frequently injured (especially in lively and ubiquitous puppies), but its contents can become trapped at any time, and this is a condition that directly threatens the life of your pet.

The animal grows, gains weight, grows larger and larger.

Abdominal crushing plant relentlessly "pushes " the tissues through the hernia's bottleneck with almost every sneeze, every defecation or even intense barking.

But it also works the other way around - the presence of a hernia affects the operation of the abdominal pumping station, which may be of great importance in the future, e.g. during childbirth.

Hence, plastic surgery should be carefully considered even in the presence of small hernias.

A veterinarian, after examining the patient and taking into account his age, sex, size and nature of the hernia, will certainly suggest the best solution.

The umbilical hernia operation itself is quite simple and quick, and the animals tolerate it well.

The situation is different when the contents of the hernia are trapped or stuck and a part of the organ needs to be resected.

In such a situation, the surgical intervention becomes a longer, more burdensome procedure, and also carries a greater risk of postoperative complications.

That is why it is worth having surgery of even a small hernia beforehand.

Prognosis and care for the patient after the procedure

The prognosis after umbilical hernia correction surgery is good.

In a situation where it was necessary to dissect adhesions and / or resection of some organs, convalescence may be longer, but even then the prognosis of the patient's survival is favorable.

After the surgery, the patient should have peace and quiet.

Under normal conditions, the postoperative wound heals quickly, leaving a small scar.

Depending on the extent of the procedure, it may be necessary to follow a special diet and administer additional medications, but in most cases the animals are full of energy on the second day.

You should remember to monitor the postoperative wound for the separation of its edges (it is necessary to put on an Elizabethan collar or other cover that prevents licking the area of ​​the incision).

Daily wound toilet, along with decontamination and changing the dressing, should be carried out until the wound is completely healed.

Inguinal hernia in a dog

Inguinal hernia it is located in the groin - on one side or the other, rarely on both sides - and as a rule it is quite a painful condition.

These types of hernias involve the movement of tissues or organs through the inguinal canal.

The inguinal canal is an elongated structure that pierces the muscles of the abdominal wall.

It includes:

  • genital branch of the genitourinary nerve,
  • external vulvar artery and vein,
  • spermatic cord (in males),
  • round ligament (in females).

As you can see, it is an important "transit" route through which vital vascular and nerve structures reach target organs.

The cord is encased in muscles, fascia and ligament, and both ends are crowned with inguinal rings (external and internal).

When there is a cavity in the inguinal ring or it is too wide, internal organs such as the intestine, bladder or uterus find their way into the subcutaneous space.

Inguinal hernias can be congenital - resulting from disorders of the inguinal ring, or acquired - usually caused by an injury.

If an inguinal hernia is congenital, it may only be one of the abnormalities and, as a rule, accompanies other disorders, such as:

  • umbilical hernia,
  • perineal hernia,
  • cryptorchidism.
Due to the possible hereditary background of congenital hernias, it is recommended to castrate the affected individuals.

Cause dog inguinal hernia

Unfortunately, little is known about the causes of inguinal hernias.

In the case of a mouse, e.g. it is suspected that they are responsible for the occurrence of the inguinal hernia sex hormones.

Unfortunately, the role of the hormones in dogs is unclear.

Both castrated and uncastrated male dogs develop these types of abnormalities that are not related to trauma.

The hernia can be one-sided (most often left-sided) or two-sided.

Factors that may predispose to its formation may be obesity and pregnancy.

Due to the fact that congenital inguinal hernia is most often genetic, it may be inherited in predisposed dog breeds.

The occurrence of inguinal hernia in the dog

Inguinal hernias that are not the result of trauma most often appear in young or middle-aged unsterilized bitches (due to the wide inguinal ring and the short canal) or u young male dogs (under 2 years of age).

This may be due to the fact that the prolonged descent of the testes delays the closure of the inguinal ring.

The following dog breeds are predisposed:

  • Pekingese,
  • cairn terrier,
  • basset hound,
  • Basenji,
  • west highland white terrier.

Symptoms of inguinal hernia in a dog

Painful swelling in the inguinal area is the main reason for consultation in the case of inguinal hernias.

They can be accompanied by:

  • vomiting,
  • apathy,
  • reluctance to move,
  • lack of appetite.

General symptoms appear most often as a result of the contents of the hernia being trapped.

In the hernial sac it is most often found network, but it can also bowels, less often bladder.

In older, unsterilized bitches, the hernia content is quite frequent uterus.

In these situations, the disease process is likely to take longer, and the caregiver may not notice symptoms until pregnancy or pyuria occurs.

Small hernias may not be noticed at all.

It happens, especially in bitches, that a hernia is a chronic condition and the main symptom is a thickening in the groin area that grows larger after eating and then diminishes over time.

If you develop a traumatic hernia, the thickening appears suddenly and within a fairly short period of time after the injury.

Other bodily injuries and poor general condition of the dog may also be present.

Diagnosis of inguinal hernia in dogs

The most common abnormality is soft, painful unilateral or bilateral inguinal swelling.

If internal organs such as the bladder or uterus have entered the hernial sac and become trapped, the deformity can be large, displaceable, and painful.

It is common in young male dogs with a non-traumatic hernia to develop a hernia containing the intestine.

If blood and / or lymphatic vessels are closed at the same time, the testicles and the spermatic cord may become swollen.

Sometimes this hernia is accompanied by a perineal hernia and cryptorchidism.

Unilateral inguinal hernia is much more common than bilateral.

X-ray examination allows you to locate the intestines, uterus or bladder in the contents of the inguinal hernia.

If this type of displacement is present in the dog, the x-ray will show abnormalities in the posterior abdominal region.

Ultrasound is also useful in assessing the contents of the hernia.

Treatment of inguinal hernia in dog

Hernia in a dog surgery

Treatment of an inguinal hernia consists in surgical removal of the hernia and plasticization of its gates.

Before that, it is necessary to stabilize the patient's condition.

Due to the fact that animals with inguinal hernia should be castrated, sterilization or castration may be performed immediately during hernia correction.

If the bitch is pregnant and there is a uterus in the hernial sac, an attempt may be made to drain the organ into the abdominal cavity.

From a prognostic point of view, it is very important that inguinal hernia may recur.

The management of a hernia depends on whether it is unilateral or bilateral, whether its contents can be drained, and whether there is damage to internal organs.

Particular care should be taken when repositioning organs, as this is where very important vessels and nerves run.

Complications after inguinal hernia correction surgery

Fortunately, they are quite rare, but you should be alert to any abnormal behavior of your pet.

Possible complications after the procedure include:

  • damage to structures running in the inguinal canal (e.g. damage to the vas deferens),
  • hematoma,
  • wound infection,
  • ischemia and testicular atrophy,
  • chronic pain which may be caused by pressure on the nerves,
  • hernia recurrences.

Post-operative care

Postoperative care is mainly focused on monitoring the wound for possible infection, hematoma formation or its edges.

For several weeks, you should limit your dog's activity and walk him only on a leash.

To prevent licking and biting the area of ​​the surgical incision, insertion is recommended Elizabethan collar or postoperative clothes for the entire period of wound healing.

Most likely, the patient will be supplied with appropriate medications, which will be given to him by the caregiver at home.

They can be:

  • antibiotics,
  • painkillers,
  • ointments for use on the skin (e.g. when hematomas appear, which, unfortunately, are quite common in this location, but usually do not pose a threat to the dog),
  • drugs to aid bowel movements.

Also, do not forget about regular wound toilet and dressing changes.

It is extremely important during the recovery period diet, which should be easily digestible, contain high-quality protein and low fat.

Divide the daily dose into 5 - 6 smaller portions.

A key factor in caring for your dog after surgery is restriction of movement.

The patient may go for short walks on a leash, but under no circumstances should he run or jump.

Firstly, it is risky due to the possibility of postoperative wound dehiscence, and secondly, intense movement can be painful for the patient.

Prognosis of inguinal hernia in dogs

As long as there are no complications, the prognosis is good.

Fortunately, they happen very rarely, and the pooch demands food the next day.

It should be remembered that an inguinal hernia may reappear on the same side or on the other side.

A scrotal hernia in a dog

A scrotal hernia develops when a defect in the inguinal ring allows the abdominal organs to move to the vaginal process that adjoins the spermatic cord.

These types of disorders are rare in dogs.

Most often they occur on one side only and are usually associated with entrapment of the contents of the hernia.

Hereditary causes and predilections are unknown, but it is believed that they may contribute to their appearance birth defect or injury.

Increased incidence has been noted testicular cancer along with a scrotal hernia.

The occurrence of a scrotal hernia in a dog

Scrotal hernias (for obvious reasons) affect male dogs.

They occur quite often in dogs with cartilage disorders, especially in Shar Pei dogs.

Symptoms of a scrotal hernia in a dog

Hernia symptoms in a dog

The clinical symptoms of a scrotal hernia are, as a rule:

  • enlargement of the scrotum, often accompanied by severe pain,
  • reluctance to walk,
  • lack of appetite,
  • vomiting.

A swelling is felt in the form of an elongated, stout tumor located most often at the back of the scrotum.

If the intestines are trapped in the hernial sac, there is severe pain and reddening of the skin, and sometimes even a change in color to black blue.

Diagnosis of the dog's scrotal hernia

Ultrasound examination allows not only to identify the organs in the hernia, but also to clarify (thanks to the assessment of blood flow through the testicles) whether sprains of the spermatic cord or insurrection testicular hydrocele.

Treatment of a dog's scrotal hernia

It consists in surgical drainage of the hernia's contents and closing its gates.

In the case of a scrotal hernia, it is recommended dog castration.

Complications of the dog's scrotal hernia

Postoperative swelling of the testicles (if castration has not been performed) indicates a disturbance in the blood or lymph flow.

The edges of the wound may come apart or become infected - as with any such procedure.

The prognosis of a dog's scrotal hernia

The prognosis is good, although hernia recurrence is possible if the testicles were left untouched.

Femoral hernia in a dog

Femoral hernia occurs when it occurs defect of the femoral canal.

The femoral canal under normal conditions has no light (so it is not a "real" canal), while in conditions of weakening of the femoral septum or increased pressure inside the abdominal cavity, internal organs slide into and form a femoral hernia.

Luckily, a femoral hernia is rare in dogs.

Appear when abdominal organs or fat slide through the femoral canal into the subcutaneous surface.

These situations can occur after an injury and are often confused with an inguinal hernia.

There is no sexual or racial predisposition to develop a femoral hernia.

Symptoms of a femoral hernia in a dog

The leading symptom of a femoral hernia is of varying sizes a thickening on the medial surface of the thigh, which may be painful, about increased warmth.

The skin above it may be red.

The deformity may be large enough to extend to the inguinal region.

Depending on the content of the hernia, general symptoms may also be present, such as:

  • lack of appetite,
  • vomiting,
  • reluctance to move,
  • fever etc.

Diagnosis of a dog's femoral hernia

Ultrasound examination is helpful in assessing the contents of the hernia.

Blood counts or serum chemistry are not diagnostic in this type of case, unless hernia is trapped and it is necessary to assess the patient's general condition.

Treatment of dog femoral hernia

Treatment consists in returning the hernia to its correct position and closing the damage to the femoral canal.

If the contents are torn, a part of the organ may need to be resected.

Post-operative care

Providing the animal with a peaceful and quiet room, care for wound hygiene, easily digestible, well-balanced food with a good composition and restriction of movement are the basis for good patient care after hernia surgery.

It may be necessary to immobilize the limb during healing so that it is in a rested position.

A dog's femoral hernia - complications after surgery

Possible complications after the procedure include:

  • wound infection,
  • dehiscence of the edges of the postoperative wound,
  • recurrence of the hernia,
  • compression of the femoral nerve during surgery, as indicated by nervous disorders or severe pain in the limb. Then it is necessary to perform the operation again.

Perineal hernia / pelvic hernia in a dog

Pelvic hernia, commonly known as perineal hernia or perianal hernia, it affects very often uncastrated male dogs in old age.

Perineal hernia occurs as a result of tearing or separation of the muscles of the pelvic diaphragm (which is the posterior structure of the pelvic cavity) and the penetration of the rectum, pelvic organs and / or the abdominal cavity under the skin of the perineum.

Location of a perineal hernia in a dog

Perineal hernia can be unilateral (most often right-sided) or bilateral, and appears in various locations.

The most common types of hernia (due to where it is located) are:

  • posterior perineal hernia - occurs between the levator ani muscle, the external anal sphincter muscle and the internal obturator muscle,
  • sciatic hernia - occurs between the sacro-tuberous ligament and the caudal muscle,
  • Dorsal perineal hernia - occurs between the levator ani muscle and the coccyx muscles,
  • Abdominal perineal hernia - occurs between the ischio-tubular, bulb-cavernous and ischio-cavernous muscles.

The content of the hernia is in the hernial sac, and it can be:

  • fatty tissue from the pelvis or the back of the peritoneum,
  • serous fluid,
  • rectum,
  • prostate gland,
  • bladder,
  • small intestine.

The organs in the hernial sac may be obstructed, as it is easy to get trapped in this location.

It manifests itself in the rapid deterioration of the general condition of the dog, and therefore prompt surgical intervention is necessary.

Cervical hernia in dog causes

A hernia occurs when the muscles of the pelvic diaphragm, which limit the cavity from behind, are significantly weakened.

The reasons for this state of affairs are believed to be in the influence of male sex hormones, and the fact that perianal hernia most often affects uncastrated dogs supports this thesis.

Most likely it comes to androgen-estrogen imbalance; in older dogs, estrogen production begins to outweigh the androgen production, and the number of male hormone receptors (presumably) also diminishes.

These disorders lead to weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.

The pelvic diaphragm in females is therefore stronger than in males, hence the higher frequency of hernia in dogs.

Weakness or even atrophy of these pelvic muscle walls can also be congenital.

In some animals with perineal hernia, pelvic diaphragm muscle atrophy has been found for neurological reasons.

Conditions predisposing to perineal hernia

Most often, a hernia appears as a result enlargement of the prostate gland in males under the influence of sex hormones.

Then there are problems with defecation, the dog intensely tense and defecates, which increases the pressure in the pelvic cavity.

However, it is not only prostate enlargement that promotes the formation of hernias:

virtually any condition that involves tensing and increasing stress can lead to weakening of the perineal muscles.

The most important reasons for this include:

  • prostatitis,
  • inflammation of the bladder,
  • obstruction of the urethra,
  • obstruction or narrowing of the colon or rectum,
  • twist or distension of the handpiece,
  • inflammation of the perianal area,
  • perianal sinusitis,
  • diarrhea,
  • constipation.

Other factors that may predispose you to this condition include:

  • "Home " lifestyle of the dog, significantly limiting the number of walks; an animal taken 2-3 times a day for short walks may refrain from defecating, which increases the likelihood of disturbances in the defecation process (e.g. promotes constipation),
  • therefore - a small amount of exercise and a sofa lifestyle predispose to obesity, which may also be a factor contributing to the formation of a hernia,
  • pelvic diaphragm atrophy,
  • damage to the sacral plexus and / or surrounding nerves.

The occurrence of a perineal hernia in a dog

Most often, perineal hernias affect uncastrated male dogs, in bitches, if present, they are usually associated with trauma.

A hernia of the pelvic diaphragm may be predisposed dogs with short tails.

The perineal hernia most often affects male breeds:

  • Boston terrier,
  • boxer,
  • Welsh corgi,
  • Pekingese,
  • collie,
  • poodle,
  • Kelpie,
  • dachshund,
  • Old English Sheepdog,
  • non-purebred dogs.

The average age of occurrence of a pelvic diaphragm hernia is approx 10. year of life, however, the incidence of this condition is noted in dogs after completion 5. year of life.

Perineal hernia in dog symptoms

The main motive for consultation in most cases is difficult defecation.

More observant owners may notice deformation or bulging around the anus.

It happens, however, that animals are brought to the office in a critical condition - they have already developed atrophic uremia (as a result of trapped bladder) or shock due to entrapped intestines.

In dogs with a perineal hernia, the most commonly observed are:

  • prominence in the crotch area,
  • constipation,
  • stool retention,
  • painful thrust,
  • prolapse of the rectum,
  • difficulty passing urine or anuria,
  • vomiting,
  • flatulence,
  • fecal incontinence.

If the contents of the hernia are trapped or stuck, serious general disorders occur that require immediate intervention, such as:

  • shock,
  • uraemia,
  • sepsis.

Diagnosis of perineal hernia in dogs

Even during the clinical examination of the patient, a pelvic hernia can be suspected.

Palpation most often reveals an asymmetrical bulge in the perineal area, with a soft consistency.

It is enlarged when the front part of the dog's body is lifted - then the organs, under the influence of gravity and pressure by other organs, press harder into the hernial sac.

Rectal examination may examine weakening of the pelvic diaphragm, perineal edema, incorrect position of the rectum, bladder or prostate gland, which may be in the hernial sac.

Sometimes contrast examination allows you to locate the colon and rectum.

Ultrasound is useful for assessing the content of the hernia or for fluid (urine) in the hernial sac.

X-ray is not necessary, but may be useful in determining the contents and in assessing the arrangement of organs in the abdominal cavity.

Treatment of perineal hernia in a dog

Operation hernia in a dog

The recommended procedure is surgical removal of the hernia and closure of its gate.

If organs become trapped in the hernial sac, surgery should be performed urgently.

In the case of hernia removal, it is recommended to perform castration in parallel, because it is essentially it limits the frequency of relapses.

If surgery needs to be postponed, supportive care should be given to prevent constipation, obstructed urination, and organ entrapment.

As with any disease, also here one should strive to minimize or completely heal the causes that lead to the weakening of the pelvic diaphragm.

So it may be advisable:

  • the use of laxatives, softening feces,
  • changing the dog's food,
  • periodic use of enemas,
  • cystocentesis or bladder catheterization,
  • castration.

This type of procedure should not be used long-term, because at any time, regardless of the medications and actions taken, the contents of the hernia may become stuck, which is already a critical condition, posing a direct threat to the animal's life.

In a situation where the hernia is bilateral, some surgeons recommend splitting the procedure into two, performed at an interval of 4 - 6 weeks.

There is a possibility of bilateral hernia repair during one procedure, but the discomfort after the operation and the painful pressure may be greater than after unilateral surgical intervention.

Perineal hernia in a dog - postoperative procedure

Often, after the procedure, it is necessary to administer painkillers to reduce the tightening and the risk of the rectum falling out.

In patients with uraemia it is necessary to continue fluid therapy and work limiting azoemiasis.

For the first 48 - 72 hours cold compresses can be used after the treatment 2 - 3 times a day for 15 - 20 minutes to minimize hemorrhage and inflammation.

Then, after this time, warm compresses can be applied to the operated area 2 - 3 times a day for 15 - 20 minutes, to reduce swelling and irritation in the perineal area.

Any medications prescribed by a veterinarian are given, including antibiotics and laxatives or softeners.

Watch the wound for any infection that may be due to:

  • reddening,
  • ache,
  • edema,
  • leak.

The administration of stool softeners is sometimes continued even through 1 - 2 months.

The feed should also be given to Fr high in dietary fiber.

Complications of the perineal hernia correction surgery

The operation to close the pelvic diaphragm hernia is quite a time-consuming procedure, especially if it is combined with castration.

Since the muscles in this area are already severely weakened, relapses are possible (and quite common).

They can appear on the same side or on the other side.

The most important complications include:

  • hernia recurrence - you can reduce this risk by neutering your dog at the same time,
  • infection and dehiscence of the postoperative wound edges - proper selection of the surgical technique and antibiotic therapy reduce this risk,
  • damage to the sciatic nerve - this may be marked by pain while moving, lameness and walking on the phalanges; in such a situation, immediate corrective treatment is necessary.

Other worrying symptoms include:

  • haemorrhage,
  • reluctance to eat,
  • apathy, reluctance to move,
  • painful pressures,
  • difficult defecation,
  • flatulence,
  • blood in the stool,
  • prolapse of the rectum,
  • perianal sinusitis,
  • fecal incontinence,
  • damage to the urethra,
  • painful urination or anuria,
  • bladder atony,
  • urinary bladder necrosis,
  • urinary incontinence,
  • intestinal necrosis,
  • recto-cutaneous or perineal fistula.

Perineal hernia in dogs, prognosis

With a properly performed procedure, the prognosis is good.

Temporary pharmacological and dietary treatment may be required to facilitate defecation after surgery.

If there is an entrapment of the intestine, bladder, or prostate gland in the hernial gates, longer treatment of the resulting complications may be necessary.

The prognosis is worse in patients with posterior folds of the bladder.

Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia in a dog

A diaphragmatic hernia occurs when the diaphragm ruptures and the abdominal organs move into the chest cavity.

It is a fairly common pathology that occurs in dogs (but more often in cats).

It is usually post-traumatic, and in particular is the result of traffic accidents.

The mechanism of the formation of a post-traumatic diaphragmatic hernia

As a result of a strong impact on the abdominal wall, the pressure in the abdominal cavity increases rapidly, which leads to the rapid emptying of the lungs (with the glottis open).

It happens instantly - an animal that is struck can "push" air out of its lungs, making a sound at the same time.

At this point, a significant pressure difference arises between the two cavities - the peritoneal cavity and the pleural cavity, separated by the diaphragm, and it is this force that breaks the diaphragm at its weakest point.

As a rule, breaks in the diaphragm are formed in the muscular part of the diaphragm.

As a result, the dog develops significant respiratory problems.

Sometimes a diaphragmatic hernia occurs as a result of a broken rib puncturing the diaphragm - it is then also the result of an injury, but with a slightly different mechanism of formation.
It also happens that the hernia condition in a dog lasts for weeks or even months - then it is diagnosed as a chronic diaphragmatic hernia, and such patients do not show clinical symptoms or they are poorly expressed.

It happens that the guardian does not notice any irregularities in his pet, and he was not a witness of the accident.

In such cases, the hernia is detected most often by accident during a routine inspection at a veterinary office.

Various organs may be displaced into the chest cavity - it depends on the size and location of the defect in the diaphragm.

The most common are:

  • liver,
  • spleen,
  • bowels,
  • network,
  • pyloric part and stomach body.

Traumatic hernia predisposition

There is no predisposition to develop a traumatic hernia.

A diaphragmatic hernia can occur in animals with connective tissue disease.

Signs of a diaphragmatic hernia in a dog

Diaphragmatic hernia can be diagnosed very quickly, right after the injury - such animals usually show many general disorders, such as. shock.

Then the following are visible:

  • pale or blue mucous membranes,
  • rapid breathing
  • tachycardia,
  • anuria or oliguria.

The remaining symptoms result from additional injuries associated with the accident, as well as what organs have moved into the chest cavity.

So they can be:

  • digestive symptoms:
    • vomiting,
    • intense salivation,
    • lack of appetite;
  • respiratory symptoms:
    • rapid, shallow breathing,
    • dyspnoea,
    • cough,
    • wheeze;
  • heart symptoms:
    • Heart arythmia,
    • fainting,
    • cyanosis,
    • decline in exercise capacity;
  • if the liver is wedged through the opening in the diaphragm (which happens quite often), this powerful organ becomes trapped in the hernial gates, obstructs the veins, and as a consequence builds up fluid in the pleural cavity;
  • animals after significant trauma often also show other injuries, e.g. fractures.

On the other hand, if the hernia is a chronic condition, lasting even several weeks, it is usually detected by chance.

Such animals are most often presented by:

  • respiratory symptoms:
    • exercise intolerance,
    • dyspnoea;
  • on the part of the digestive system:
    • lack of appetite,
    • vomiting,
    • diarrhea,
    • weight loss,
    • soreness and discomfort, usually felt after a meal;
  • general symptoms such as:
    • apathy, depression
    • reluctance to move, dependence;
    • adopting a relaxed body posture.

Diagnosis of post-traumatic diaphragmatic hernia in dogs

Based on the information obtained from the caregiver about the recent injury and the clinical picture, a diaphragmatic hernia can be placed in the differential diagnosis.

However, the final diagnosis is obtained after performing diagnostic imaging.

Chest X-ray examination can show the characteristic features of a traumatic hernia:

  • loss of continuity of the diaphragm shadow,
  • blurred silhouette of the heart,
  • displacement of pulmonary fields (post-dorsal or lateral),
  • the presence of a stomach or bowel loop in the chest cavity,
  • abnormal arrangement of organs in the abdominal cavity (e.g. no visible shadow of the stomach and / or liver at their typical location),
  • presence of fluid in the pleural cavity - if it is significant, perform a pleural puncture and evacuate the fluid to obtain the diagnostic value of x-rays.

Sometimes it is not easy to make a diagnosis of a diaphragmatic hernia on the basis of an X-ray.

It happens as soon as a small piece of organs is wedged into the chest.

In such situations, if the X-ray assessment is inconclusive, it is recommended to assess the diaphragm silhouette by means of an ultrasound examination.

Sometimes it may be necessary X-ray examination with the use of contrast.

The laboratory examination does not provide much diagnostic information.

With a wedge of the liver, it can occur increase in serum alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase levels.

Treatment of traumatic hernia in dogs

The management of a diaphragmatic hernia should always be carried out in two ways:

  1. Stabilizing the patient and fighting life-threatening conditions.
  2. Surgical intervention.

If dyspnoea is present, the animal should be given oxygen therapy.

It is also helpful to put it in a position that facilitates breathing.

Often, improvement in ventilation occurs when the dog is placed on the sternum with elevated pectoral limbs.

If there is fluid in the pleural cavity, perform a pleural puncture and evacuate the fluid.

Doing so will substantially improve breathing and reduce anxiety in your pet.

Patients in shock should be given intravenous fluids to correct volemia, antibiotics, or other medications to support vital functions.

Patients who develop cardiac dysfunction should be appropriately stabilized.

While performing any activities with a patient in a serious condition, his heart rate should be monitored using ECG.

Surgical treatment of post-traumatic hernia in a dog

This is the only method of causal treatment of post-traumatic diaphragmatic hernia.

If the animal's condition allows, the operation should be carried out as soon as possible.

In the case of extensive contusion of the lungs, the procedure should be postponed until the patient is stabilized.

However, do not wait too long before the operation, as the condition of the animal may deteriorate at any time.

In a situation where the stomach has entered the chest cavity, the operation should be performed immediately.

The stomach can expand very quickly, and its enlargement in this location will very quickly lead to impaired breathing and death.

In patients with chronic diaphragmatic hernia, it may be necessary to resect damaged organs (e.g. pulmonary lobe, parts of the intestine).

Post-traumatic hernia in a dog. Postoperative care

Post-surgery care for your dog

It is very important to keep patients calm after surgery.

The first hours after the procedure involve close monitoring of the pet for respiratory disorders and hypoventilation.

Correctly performed surgery to drain the contents of the hernia and to plasty its gates is only half the battle.

These types of operations are quite serious due to the communication with the pleural cavity.

After surgery, the patient will most likely be hospitalized by minimum 12 - 24 hours.

It is necessary because this time can be the most dangerous period.

When you take your dog home after surgery, you should:

  1. Continue to control the way he breathes, feeds, and behaves. Be alert to possible coughing, shortness of breath, shallow breathing, significant weakness, pale or blue mucous membranes.
  2. Keep the area of ​​the surgical incision clean, change dressings regularly, and disinfect the wound.
  3. Prevent licking the postoperative wound - it is recommended to use an Elizabethan collar or postoperative clothing until the wound heals.
  4. Monitor the cut for edema, hematomas, purulent exudate, or wound dehiscence.
  5. Give any medications prescribed by your veterinarian.
  6. Keep movement to a minimum - walks are only allowed on a leash, and their duration should be short.
  7. Use an easily digestible, well-balanced diet.
  8. Reduce your stress.

Post-traumatic hernia complications

  • The most common postoperative complication is pneumothorax, especially with chronic hernia or the presence of adhesions.
  • Rarely, but it is also possible pulmonary edema from depressurization, which occurs as a result of sudden lung expansion after correction of a chronic hernia.
  • Separation of the edges of the wound.
  • Hematoma or swelling in the area of ​​the surgical incision.
  • Postoperative wound infection.
  • Recurrence of the hernia.
  • Sudden death.

Post-traumatic diaphragmatic hernia in dogs

The most critical post-diaphragmatic hernia correction surgery are the first 12 - 24 hours after the procedure.

If no complications arise during this time, the prognosis is good.

Diaphragmatic peritoneal-pericardial hernia in dogs (PPOO)

Also called pericardial diaphragmatic hernia or too congenital hernia.

It occurs when there is a congenital connection between the peritoneal cavity and the pericardial sac (resulting from a defect in the lower diaphragm through which the abdominal organs enter the pericardial cavity).

Congenital peritoneal-pericardial diaphragmatic hernia is relatively rare because animals with this defect die either during childbirth or shortly after birth.

Reasons for formation

Most likely, the peritoneal-pericardial hernia arises as a result of improper closure or damage to the fetal transverse septum.

This disorder may be the result of:

  • the effects of teratogenic substances,
  • genetic defects,
  • prenatal injury.

Hernias are often followed by a hernia heart defects and sternum deformities.

In dogs with peritoneal-pericardial hernia, congenital malformations are common:

  • the anterior abdominal wall,
  • posterior part of the sternum,
  • diaphragm and pericardial sac
  • ventricular septal defects or other intracardiac defects.

Despite the fact that it is a congenital disease, it is not hereditary.

Predisposition and occurrence

The diaphragmatic peritoneal-pericardial hernia is a congenital defect, but there are cases that it is diagnosed in dogs relatively late - in middle or old age.

It happens when the clinical symptoms are periodic and not very severe.

Weimaraners and Cocker Spaniels may be predisposed to PPOO.

Diaphragmatic peritoneal-pericardial hernia, clinical symptoms

Hernia symptoms in a dog

Clinical symptoms of peritoneal-pericardial hernia depend on the size of the hernial sac and what organs will move to it.

Most often they are related to:

  • respiratory system:
    • breathing disorders,
    • dyspnoea,
    • cough;
  • circulatory system:
    • Heart arythmia,
    • fainting;
  • digestive system:
    • lack of appetite,
    • vomiting,
    • diarrhea,
    • soreness after a meal.

They are often accompanied by general symptoms:

  • apathy,
  • stupor,
  • symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy (neurological disorders).

- Peritoneal - pericardial diaphragmatic hernia - diagnosis

In a clinical study of patients with peritoneal-pericardial diaphragmatic hernia, it is common to find:

  • ascites,
  • suppression of heart tones,
  • heart murmurs (caused by the movement of the heart through internal organs or intra-cardiac defects),
  • coexisting defect of the anterior abdominal wall,
  • fluid in the pericardial sac - most often it is caused by the presence of a liver in the hernial sac.

Based on the history, clinical symptoms and the results of the physical examination, a preliminary presumption of the existence of a peritoneal-pericardial hernia can be made.

To confirm them, perform diagnostic imaging:

Chest X-ray examination which shows:

  • enlarged silhouette of the heart,
  • post-dorsal displacement of the trachea,
  • the overlapping of the border between the heart and the diaphragm,
  • no continuous shadow of the diaphragm,
  • gas-filled structures inside the pericardial sac,
  • defects of the sternum.

Ultrasound examination is a valuable supplement to radiography, as it can reveal the discontinuity of the diaphragm echo and accurately visualize the abdominal organs inside the pericardial sac.

You can also show a liver dislocation.

In patients with the presence of heart murmurs, it is performed echo of the heart.

Contrast examination (non-selective angiography or examination with the administration of barite) should be reserved for ambiguous cases, in which it is impossible to make a diagnosis based on x-rays and ultrasound examination.

Treatment of peritoneal-pericardial diaphragmatic hernia in dogs

Treatment consists of surgical removal of the contents from the pericardial cavity and closing the hernia gate.

If the dog presents shortness of breath, apply oxygen therapy.

To improve breathing, place him in the sternum position with raised forelegs.

In patients whose hernia has been detected late in life, conservative treatment is possible, but after some time, the clinical symptoms may worsen, which requires surgery, otherwise it will lead to death.

Surgical correction of the defect is the method of choice for the treatment of peritoneal-pericardial hernia.

Surgical correction should be performed as early as possible (usually between the age of 8). a 16. week of life).

Post-operative care

The dog should be hospitalized after surgery for at least 12-24 hours.

  • After the procedure, the dog should be closely monitored for any respiratory problems, including hypoventilation.
  • Oxygen should be given if any respiratory distress occurs.
  • After returning home, make sure your pet is in a quiet and peaceful place.
  • Take care of the cleanliness of the postoperative wound (regular change of dressings and decontamination of the cut).
  • Breathing monitoring. Pay particular attention to any possible coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Administration of medications recommended by a veterinarian (antibiotics, painkillers).
  • Restriction of movement - walks are only allowed on a leash, do not allow the dog to run or jump after the procedure.
  • Feed your pet an easily digestible, well-balanced diet.


After the hernia is corrected, decompression pulmonary edema may develop, but it is relatively rare.

It is possible in young animals with PPOO lung underdevelopment, which contributes to the development of significant pleural pressure and the formation of pulmonary edema due to expansion.

Common complications after the correction of a peritoneal-pericardial hernia are:

  • swelling, hematomas in the area of ​​the surgical incision,
  • postoperative wound infection,
  • separation of the edges of the wound,
  • recurrence of the hernia.


12-24 hours after surgery are critical.

If the patient survives this time without major complications, the prognosis is good.

The situation is slightly worse in the case of coexistence of congenital heart defects - then the prognosis deteriorates in proportion to their severity.

Congenital pleural hernia in a dog

This is another congenital diaphragmatic hernia, but fortunately it is very rare in dogs.

Contrary to the peritoneal-pericardial hernia, defects in the diaphragm are formed in the upper-lateral part of the diaphragm.

Such a defect most often causes stillbirths or their death shortly after birth.

There is also a post-traumatic hernia, e.g. after accidents or falls from great heights.

The treatment is similar to the treatment of other types of hernia.

Hiatal hernia in a dog's diaphragm

This type of hernia occurs when part of the esophagus and stomach slide through the esophageal hiatus into the posterior mediastinum (head-to-head relative to the diaphragm).

It looks a bit like a post-traumatic diaphragmatic hernia, but this time the hernia gates were not created as a result of tearing the diaphragm, but are the anatomical structure of the body, which is the hiatus.

A hiatal hernia occurs most often as a result of congenital developmental disorders in this area, thanks to which it is possible to move some organs from the abdominal cavity to the chest cavity.

The mechanism of hiatal hernia formation

A hiatus is the opening through which the esophagus passes through the diaphragm.

In a situation where the ligament that connects the diaphragm with the esophagus relaxes and stretches, it ceases to fulfill its function and it becomes possible to shift the esophageal-gastric junction to the mediastinum.

One of the first results of this state of affairs is the uprising gastroesophageal reflux, and as a result of the regurgitation of the stomach contents, the esophagus becomes inflamed and widened rapidly.

A hiatal hernia may arise as a result of an injury, as a result of which the diaphragmatic nerves and muscles are damaged - this leads to the loosening of the cardia and the formation of a hernia.

It happens that it accompanies intense breathing disorders in patients with obstruction of the upper respiratory tract.

In these conditions, reducing the pressure inside the chest as you breathe in can cause oesophageal reflux and hernia.

A hiatal hernia may also be related to tetanus.

There are several types of this anomaly, depending on which structures and to what extent enter the chest cavity:

  • sliding (axial) hernia - the gastro-oesophageal junction is located within the chest;
  • esophageal (sliding) hernia - the gastro-oesophageal junction is usually in the correct position and the fundus or other abdominal organs pass through the hiatus to the chest (next to the esophagus);
  • junctions of sliding and peresophageal hernias, in the course of which both the gastro-esophageal junction and the fundus are displaced.


Hiatal hernias can occur in a variety of dog breeds, but male Shar-pei and English Bulldogs appear to be more predisposed to developing this disorder.

Clinical signs of a congenital hernia usually manifest before the age of 1. years of age, although symptoms may appear at any age.

Hiatal hernia, diaphragm, clinical symptoms

Many patients do not show any clinical signs of a hiatal hernia.

One of the most common symptoms is heavy rain, as well as:

  • vomiting,
  • excessive salivation,
  • difficulty swallowing, disturbances in passing food into the stomach,
  • breathing disorders,
  • dusty vomiting,
  • lack of appetite,
  • weight loss, emaciation
  • dyspnoea,
  • sometimes symptoms of aspiration pneumonia.


Diagnostics: X-ray examination

Chest X-ray shows the presence of soft tissues or air-filled structures around the hiatus.

The presence of gas in the contents of the hernia may indicate that the stomach has entered the hernia.

It is possible to widen the esophagus and features pneumonia.

Tg of the esophagus with contrast. Sometimes the presence of a stricture can be observed.

Fluoroscopic examination - may show delayed emptying of the esophagus from the gastric contents, decreased peristalsis, gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Endoscopic examination of the esophagus can detect the presence of a hernia and esophagitis, erosions of the mucosa, gastric reflux and strictures.

Hiatal hernia treatment

Conservative pharmacological treatment aimed at alleviating the effects of gastro-oesophageal reflux and oesophagitis may provide some benefit, however, in animals with congenital hernia, the treatment of choice is surgery.

Post-operative care

  • Monitoring the patient for dyspnea. If it occurs, the animal should be given oxygen. If it is caused by a pneumothorax, air should be removed from the pleural cavity.
  • In case of pain symptoms, painkillers are administered.
  • Treatment of esophagitis and aspiration pneumonia is often a must in this type of hernia.
  • Feeding small portions of low-fat, high-protein, softened or diluted food 3 - 5 times a day. In dogs with widening of the esophagus, fed-up feeding may be beneficial.
  • Taking care of the hygiene of the surgical incision and preventing the animal from licking the wound. Elizabethan collar or post-operative garment is imperative, especially for curious puppies.

Complications after surgery

You may have difficulty swallowing food for a few days after the procedure.

If they don't pull back within a few days, it could be a sign that your hiatus has become excessively constricted.

A reoperation is then necessary.

Other possible complications include:

  • infection,
  • dehiscence of the edges of the postoperative wound,
  • gastric expansion,
  • necrotizing gastritis,
  • and even sudden death.

Hiatal hernia, prognosis

The prognosis is good in non-operated animals as long as they do not show clinical symptoms and / or respond well to conservative treatment.

Otherwise, esophagitis and esophagitis may develop.

The prognosis after surgery is good as long as there are no complications.

Iatrogenic hernia in a dog

This name covers any type of displacement of internal organs (including gastroenteritis) that has occurred as a result of medical treatment.

It is most often formed in the line of an earlier surgical incision.

Sometimes it is related to the actual technical underdevelopment of the procedure, but in many cases it is caused by other factors.

This type of hernia can appear anywhere on the body.

The causes of iatrogenic hernias can be:

  • choosing the wrong technique of the treatment,
  • choosing the wrong sewing materials,
  • too much tension of the adjacent tissues,
  • too high a tissue reaction,
  • incorrect (insufficiently careful) execution of surgical nodes,
  • poorly cleansed wound,
  • excessive motor activity of the patient after the procedure,
  • the shedding of the wound by the animal,
  • postoperative wound infection.

In most cases, the main symptom an iatrogenic hernia is separation of the edges of the wound and protrusion (sometimes prolapse) of organs through the gate thus created.

Treatment consists in opening the wound as soon as possible and reattaching the sutures.

It happens that the edges of the skin do not separate, but the lower floors are closed with seams, such as. muscles.

Then a thickening of various sizes is visible under the skin.

Most often it is accompanied by exudate from the wound.

The prognosis is good if abnormalities are corrected quickly.


Hernia in a dog it can affect any organ and any area of ​​the body.

As a rule, it is associated with the abdominal cavity, but there are also such "exotic " states as hernia of the brain and spinal cord, lung hernia or other organs.

It also happens to happen muscle hernia, when the belly of a muscle bulges beyond the fascia.

Regardless of the type, most hernias require surgery on the dog, and the sooner this is performed, the better the chances of avoiding complications such as adhesions, entrapment or strangulation of the hernia's contents.

As you can see, a hernia is uneven and the variety of its location carries a variety of symptoms.

Some hernias are purely cosmetic, while others may predispose to serious, life-threatening conditions.

The good news is that a hernia (in most cases) is treatable.

The bad news is that if it is not diagnosed and operated on in time, it can lead to the death of the animal.

I hope, dear reader, that after reading this article you will already know what to do in a situation where your dog has unusual elevation on the stomach or in a different location of the body.

Of course, not all deformities of this type are hernias, they can also be other changes, such as:

  • abscess,
  • hematoma,
  • or even a tumor.

However, do not delay your visit to the veterinarian as this unnecessarily increases the risk of complications.

If you have any questions or concerns, please post a comment under the article. I will reply as soon as possible.

Or maybe you've already dealt with your dog's hernia?

Describe how you dealt with this problem.

Maybe someone else is going through similar worries and your comment will help him a lot?

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