Diaphragmatic Hernia and Diaphragm Problems


Diaphragmatic Hernia

Q: I am writing regarding my parents german shephard pup. She is 12 months old and has always been healthy, albeit on the slender side. We took her to the vet recently as she seemed to be eating less and appeared to have lost some weight. The vet did a x-ray and discovered that she has a diaphragmatic hernia on her left side. It was felt that this must be congenital since she has had no trauma. She is active, plays a lot, runs, and is not short of breath. She does tend to nap but we attributed that to her being a puppy. What is the prognosis for this type of problem. She is going to be assessed by our local veternarian school and I would definitely like to have it fixed if at all possible. Thank you for the info. m.

A: If you have a veterinary school available that is the best place to get an opinion. Chronic diaphragmatic hernia is not all that common because many dogs die from this condition if it is untreated. It would be best to have a surgical specialist repair this hernia if possible (the vet school will have several) because the diaphragm is a muscle and it loses its elasticity in chronic hernias, making repair difficult.

Good luck with this.

Mike Richards, DVM


Michael Richards, D.V.M. co-owns a small animal general veterinary practice in rural tidewater Virginia. Dr. Richards graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, and has been in private practice ever since. Dr. Richards has been the director of the PetCare Forum...