A hernia suffered by a dog is a health problem that will likely need to be corrected with surgery. A dog will not outgrow a hernia, and he can not heal it on his own. Veterinary care is paramount, as an untreated hernia is a source of lots of pain and severe medical complications.
Hernias occur when a gap within your dog's internal muscle mass is wide enough to allow other tissues to slip through. Hernias often appear as soft masses under the skin of the stomach, abdomen, chest, groin or leg areas. They can occur to dogs of any age, including puppies. Some dogs are born with hernias; some hernias develop as a result of obesity, pregnancy or trauma.
Hernias allow a dog's intestines, organs and other tissues to migrate within the dog's body. Hernias can inhibit the ability of organs and tissue to do their jobs the way they are supposed to. Problems also occur when tissue moves through a hernia and the blood flow to that tissue is affected or restricted.
A hernia is likely to cause a visible lump. A dog with a hernia may suffer from an assortment of health problems. When tissue and organs wind up traveling through a hernia, that tissue can lose blood flow and will eventually begin to decay and die. If the intestines are pinched off by the hernia, which is common, your dog will suffer an intestinal blockage. A dog with a hernia may lose his appetite, vomit, cough, suffer difficulty breathing, drool, refuse to drink water, stop going to the bathroom, develop a fever, develop significant swelling at the site of the hernia and appear to be in severe pain. As the tissue dies inside the dog, his other organs may fail as a result of toxins being released by the body, and the dog will die.
Do not let a hernia develop into a fatality. Your veterinarian can perform a simple surgery where he replaces organs and tissues that have slipped through the hernia back into their original locations. He will then sew the gap closed so nothing can slip through again. If internal damage has occurred as a result of a hernia, your veterinarian can make the best treatment decisions for your dog.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.