Yesterday, we discovered that Bleecker one of our regular doggy day care clients has an umbilical hernia. This led us to do some research into umbilical hernia in dogs which we thought we would share with you. We’ll go through the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatments for umbilical hernia in dogs.
But first, here’s Bleecker:
What is Umbilical Hernia?
An umbilical hernia is an opening in the muscle wall where the umbilicus (belly button) is located. The hernia allows the abdominal contents to pass through the opening.
Symptoms and Types of Umbilical Hernia
Umbilical hernias in dogs can be both complicated or uncomplicated. Let’s start with the complicated hernia. A complicated hernia is when some contents of the abdominal cavity, such as a loop of your dogs intestine, have passed through the opening and then become trapped.
An uncomplicated umbilical hernia is merely a swelling in the umbilical area. This swelling may be variable in size and may come and go. Otherwise, the dog will appear normal and healthy.
Symptoms of a dog with a complicated umbilical hernia may include:
- Pain and warmth, especially at the site of the umbilical swelling
- Lack of appetite
Causes of umbilical hernias:
Most umbilical hernias in dogs are passed from generation to generation just like the colour of the coat or the animal’s overall size. Very, very rarely are umbilical hernias in dogs caused by trauma or excessive pressures during whelping. Some breeds of dogs, including Airedales, Pekingese, and basenji are predisposed to umbilical hernias.
Umbilical hernias can usually be diagnosed by finding the swelling caused by the hernia on a physical examination. However, sometimes contrast radiographs (x-rays) or an abdominal ultrasound are needed to determine which abdominal contents, if any, are entrapped.
Treatment of an umbilical hernia involves surgical correction of the opening and replacement of abdominal contents if necessary. Some umbilical hernias will, however, close spontaneously, usually by 6 months of age.
Small umbilical hernias may not need surgical correction but larger hernias should be repaired to remove the risk of complications.
Dogs that have a hernia or had a surgical repair of a hernia should never be used for breeding. Additionally, those adult dogs that produce puppies with this condition should not be bred again.