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Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

A tan and black puppy lays its head on a wooden deck

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM author of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

Does your dog have a small mass right near their umbilicus? This could be an umbilical hernia. Many times, this can easily be fixed and is not a huge issue, but sometimes these can get something entrapped in this hernia, causing a lot of issues. If you notice this in your puppy, it would be best for your vet to look at this area.

What is an Umbilical Hernia?

An umbilical hernia is a protrusion of the abdominal lining, abdominal fat, or a portion of abdominal organs through a small opening in the body wall around the umbilicus. In dogs, the umbilicus is located in the abdomen right under the ribcage.

An umbilical hernia is a condition that is caused by the inability to close the umbilical ring after birth. This will appear as a soft swelling in the skin and may be seen when your puppy stands, barks, cries, or strains.

There are two different types of hernia; they are:

  • Reducible hernias can easily be pushed back in
  • Non-reducible hernias that cannot be pushed back in

As your puppy grows, small hernias may close slowly over a period of a few months without treatment, but larger hernia will possibly need surgery to correct.

Diagnosing an Umbilical hernia in dogs

Usually, this can be diagnosed by just a physical exam. Depending on the severity of the hernia, your vet may take x-rays to see what organs are affected. They may also do an abdominal ultrasound to see what organs are affected.

Symptoms of umbilical hernias in dogs

If your dog has an umbilical hernia, you may notice a small piece of fat or lump around their umbilicus. This may pop in and out but may stay stuck out. Other signs that you may see are:

  • Pain and swelling at the site of the umbilicus
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it would be best for them to see your vet. They can see if your dog has an umbilical hernia causing these issues or if there is something else causing your dog to have these signs and symptoms.

Dangers of umbilical hernia

There are some dangers of your puppy having an umbilical hernia. In rare cases, your dog’s intestines and other tissues can be strangled in an umbilical hernia. If the blood flow to an organ is trapped, it can cause strangulation of the tissue and cause the tissues to die.

Many times, umbilical hernia’s are not dangerous, and some dogs live their whole life with an umbilical hernia without any issues.

Other Types of Hernias

There are other types of hernias that your dog could have. These are a few of the most common types of hernias that you may see in your dog

  • Inguinal hernia: this type of hernia occurs in the groin area. This is an area where the bladder, intestines, or uterus could get entrapped. This type of hernia is commonly seen in pregnant female dogs
  • Perianal hernia: This is a hernia is when there is a tear in the pelvic muscle allowing intestines to come through near the rectum. This is commonly seen in un-neutered older male dogs
  • Diaphragmatic hernia: This type of hernia is usually due to a traumatic event where there is a hole in the diaphragm allowing intestines to enter the chest cavity.
  • Hiatal hernia: this type of hernia is when there is a larger opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus goes through, which allows

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Treatment for an umbilical hernia

Depending on the severity of your dog’s hernia, this may be able to be treated and fixed at the time of spaying or neutering. This would be a quick surgery that is easily done at the same time as your dog’s spay or neuter.

If there are other organs entrapped in this hernia, your will dog needs surgery right away to keep any tissues from dying. If your dog has a very large hernia, this may need to be corrected when your dog is younger. It will help prevent your dog from having any issues as they continue to grow. Some puppies will have very large hernias of 2 to 4 inches.

After your puppy has had umbilical hernia surgery, they will rarely have a reoccurrence and need this surgery done again.

Discomfort management and recovery

Hernias are not always painful, but they can be uncomfortable and can make your dog anxious even if they do not hurt. If your dog does have an umbilical hernia, there are a few things that you can do to help them feel much better.

Supplements like CBD Oil can ease your dog’s pain. You can also apply coconut oil to the affected area to reduce any discomfort. If your dog does have to have surgery, these supplements will also help decrease any pain.

The surgeries that are used for puppies are not as invasive as possible to reduce the risk of any infection or pain. Your dog will most likely be sent home with a cone. This will most likely be necessary and aid in keeping your dog from licking the incision.

If your dog does have an umbilical hernia or any other type of hernia, there are many options to treat this hernia. Small hernias are not as serious as bigger hernias as an internal organ can get trapped in this hernia. When looking for something to help with the pain and discomfort, CBD or other supplements can help your dog quickly recover from surgery and feel back to their normal self sooner.

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Meet The Author 

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM author of Umbilical Hernia in Dogs

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, Dr. Ochoa knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals, she is now a great source of knowledge for others. Dr. Ochoa lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies: Ruby the Schnoodle and Bam-Bam the bunny.

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