A sex-limited autosomal trait


  • Hernias are bulges or tears in your pet's body wall that allow body organs and tissue to pass into areas where they do not belong.
  • Some are a minor inconvenience while others are life-threatening conditions.
  • Some are present from birth (congenital) while others are the result of injury.
  • When the hernia’s contents can be pressed back into normal position it is called a reducible hernia. If the contents of the hernia do not receive adequate blood supply it is called a strangulated hernia.
  • Hernias may be direct (through a rent in the body wall) or indirect (through an already existing ring, such as the inguinal ring or umbilical ring)

Why are Hernias a problem?

A hernia that goes untreated can have a fatal outcome. The problems that occur are not caused by the intestines or other organs being in an abnormal position, in most instances, a problem occurs when the blood supply of the herniated tissues is affected.

Different types of Hernias

Umbilical Hernias

  • The umbilicus is your pet’s belly button.
  • Soft , painless swelling or bulge over their belly button.
  • The problem affects more purebred dogs and cats.
  • Large umbilical hernias can strangulate when a loop of intestine or portion of another body organ, gets pinched off within it.
  • Small umbilical hernias are not serious and sometimes close by themselves as the young pet grows.

Inguinal Hernias

  • AKA groin hernia
  • Common in pigs, horses, and many breeds of dogs
  • Suspected to be hereditary.
  • Tissue that belongs in the rear of the abdominal cavity presses out through a weak area surrounding the femoral artery and nerve.
  • Usually the hernia sac contains nothing but fat.
  • Reducible back into the abdomen with finger pressure.

Perineal Hernias

  • These hernias can be confused with enlarged or ruptured anal glands.
  • Occur just lateral to the pet’s anus.

Diaphragmatic Hernias

  • Pressure within the abdomen suddenly rises, pressing the organs of the abdomen forcefully against the diaphragm and tearing it.
  • This is the most difficult of all hernias to treat.
  • They usually occur where the diaphragm attaches to the rib cage.

On the right is a normal chest x-ray of a dog on its back

Below is a x-ray of a dogs chest with a diaphragmatic hernia.

Big image

Pericardial-peritoneal Hernias

  • Quite rare.
  • Inherited pathway runs from the pet’s abdomen to the sac that surrounds the heart (the pericardium).
  • Symptoms of heart failure as the intestines pass into the chest and press on the heart.
This video has some graphic features, shows an abdominal surgery where the intestines and other organs are pushed back into body cavity.
Giant Abdominal Hernia, Chihuahua, Graphic Surgery


  • Umbilical hernias in puppies are a genetic or congenital defect in over 90% of the cases.
  • The disorder is passed from generation to generation just like the color of the coat or the animal’s overall size.
  • Animals that have hernias or have had them should never be used for breeding.
  • Additionally, those adults that produce puppies with this condition should not be bred again.
  • Sex linked autosomal meaning same genotype different phenotypes.


  • Diagnosis is by radiography or fluoroscopy; however, the intermittent nature can make diagnosis challenging.
  • Medical treatment of esophagitis is required.
  • Surgical correction is by combination of hiatal plication, esophagopexy, and left-side gastropexy.


Hines, Ron. "Hernias In Dogs And Cats - Umbilical, Inguinal, Diaphragmatic Hernias And What Needs To Be Done." 2nd Chance. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. http://www.2ndchance.info/hernia.htm

Zhao, Xia, "A candidate gene association study of cryptorchidism and scrotal hernia using canine and porcine models" (2009).

Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 10685.


Foster, Race. "Inguinal, Umbilical and Diaphragmatic Hernias in Dogs." Dogs. Pet Education, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.


Sawaguchi, S., E. Matsunaga, and T. Honna. 1975. A genetic study on indirect inguinal hernia. Jinrui Idengaku Zasshi 20: 187-195.


Friedman, D. W., C. D. Boyd, P. Norton, R. S. Greco, A. H. Boyarsky, J. W. Mackenzie, and S. B. Deak. "Increases in Type III Collagen Gene Expression and Protein Synthesis in Patients with Inguinal Hernias." Annals of Surgery. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.


Image References