Dog Umbilical Hernia Diagnosis

A dog umbilical hernia occurs when some abdominal contents actually protrude out past the abdominal wall. This is often extremely painful for the dog. Smaller hernias are usually nothing to concern yourself with, because they will close up on their own in time. It is the larger ones that require specific attention. These larger ones put your dog at first of intestinal strangulation.

Umbilical hernias occur when the umbilical opening is not closed at birth. If you notice that a puppy's umbilical opening is not closed then you should pay close attention to it as the puppy develops. Umbilical hernias can become life threatening if abdominal organs or fat float into the opening. It is times like this that will require swift medical attention.

An Inherited Hernia

There are some dogs that are born with an inherited hernia. These are often called "true hernias" and they are difficult to deal with at times. These hernias can extend into the diaphragm of the dog, which causes some medical complications in various organ systems. Surgery is not always guaranteed to fix an inherited hernia due to the large amount of tissue missing in the dog. True hernias will often accompany heart abnormalities and cleft palates.

Diagnosing Umbilical Hernias

There are a couple ways to determine if your dog has an umbilical hernia. There often is a bulbous sac of tissue around the umbilical area. If you notice this then you should take your dog to receive a radiograph, which helps to determine if the hernia is strangulated. You can also have an abdominal ultrasound performed to discover the size and the contents of the hernia. This will help determine exactly what must be done to fix the situation.

You can also have a physical examination performed. A physical examination will almost always determine if your dog is at risk for intestinal strangulation, which is a life threatening condition. You need to take this situation serious, because hernias even small hernias has a chance of putting your dog's health at risk.

Treatment for Umbilical Hernias

Treatment depends solely on the size of the hernia in question. As stated before, smaller hernias will often close up and heal on their own. It is the larger ones that should be properly treated. Surgery is usually performed around the same time you have the animal spayed or neutered. The umbilical area is very close to the area where surgery must be performed. Even small umbilical hernias will be taken care of during this time, just for good measure.

This kind of surgery is actually fairly common for most dogs. In fact, a lot of pet owners are not even aware that their dog has an umbilical hernia until they take it in to get spayed or neutered. Of course, there is a chance that your dog will not need any treatment for the hernia at all. Some dogs have been known to live their whole lives with a hernia, and not a single medical problem arose. It really depends on how the organs react to the umbilical hernia.