Monday, November 2, 2009

Umbilical Hernias in Puppies

A hernia is defined as a protrusion of tissue or an organ through the wall that contains it. Hernias can occur at different locations on a dog's body. An umbilical hernia is a hernia at the umbilicus which is where the umbilical cord attached to the fetus or newborn puppy. To relate to people, your umbilicus is your belly button. Because of a genetic defect, the body wall fails to close at the site of attachment of the umbilical cord, resulting in an opening in the body wall and outpouching of the skin.

An umbilical hernia can vary in size to very small (2-3mm) or very large where a large defect or hole can be felt in the body wall. For the most part, the outpouching of skin contains fat from the abdomen. However, if the hernia is large, the outpouching can contain intestines.

This is a picture of a small umbilical hernia in a puppy. This hernia contains abdominal fat.

Most umbilical hernias are congenital which means present at birth. And, in dogs, umbilical hernias are thought to be hereditary.....meaning passed to the offspring from parent's genes. While most umbilical hernias are not life-threatening and do not cause symptoms, large defects which contain intestinal contents should be surgically repaired to prevent damage to the intestines. If the hernia is small and contains only abdominal fat, it can be surgically repaired when the pet is neutered.
Because umbilical hernias are hereditary and undesirable, puppies born with hernias should be spayed or castrated and not used for breeding.

1 comment:

  1. Thank god! I was wondering what was wrong with my puppy, she has an even smaller one than that and seems very fatty. She dosen't care when I touch it. I thought it was a tumor or something.