Dog Health: Hernias

Dog | Hernias

An Introduction to Hernias

A hernia is where there is a tear which allows parts of an animal to exit its usual location and enter an abnormal location. This is usually felt as an unusual bulge.

Erin Dowler (veterinarian) – May 2014

Causes of Hernias

The cause of the hernia depends on the type as some are congenital. In general, there is either a muscle weakness or a source of strain/increased pressure.

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Symptoms of Hernias

The symptoms depend on the type of hernia. An unusual bulge can be felt if superficial. Many hernias show no other signs, but diaphragmatic hernias result in difficulty breathing.


Some hernias can be diagnosed just by palpation and others require imaging via xrays or ultrasound.

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Treatment of Hernias

Most hernias require surgical repair, but the urgency depends on the type, size and cause.

Types of Hernias

-  Umbilical hernias are a non-painful bulge at your dog’s belly button, most commonly seen in puppies. Small ones can sometimes resolve or be repaired easily at desexing. Larger hernias carry the risk of intestines...
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