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
- Not eating
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