Umbilical hernia is a common condition in puppies. It results in the presence of a ball next to the navel (also called umbilicus). Surgical intervention is recommended to reduce the hernia. This is to prevent an increase in the size of the hernia and complications.
What is an umbilical hernia?
A umbilical hernia results from improper closure of the umbilical ring at the navel. She is Enough common in puppies.
It is most often visible to owners because a small ball is present next to the belly button. The volume of the hernia is variable depending on the size of the hernial ring (“hole” in the abdominal wall).
Depending on the size of the hernia, there may be fat or small intestine loops within it, for example. The hernia is reducible that is to say that its contents can be pushed back within the abdomen in the absence of complications or when the dog lays on the back. It is not painful for the animal
Umbilical hernias are most often congenital that is, they are present at birth or they appear in the days or weeks after birth. They are considered to have a character hereditary, so it is best not to breed animals that have a congenital hernia.
The diagnosis of an umbilical hernia is generally easy: it is based on the observation of a ball facing the umbilicus. Additional examinations can be performed (such as an ultrasound) to determine the content of the hernia (presence or absence of intestinal loops in particular).
In general, there are no associated symptoms, complications are rare.
What to do with an umbilical hernia?
When a puppy has a congenital hernia, several changes are possible:
- Persistence of hernia : that’s what’s going on most of the time. Hernias may not evolve but they can also increase in size over time.
- Healing : this is possible when the hernias are small (less than a finger). The disappearance of the hernia takes place before the age of 4 months. In this case, it is only a delay and not a failure to close the abdominal cavity. Sometimes the ring is closed by enclosing abdominal fat: this is called a hernial lipoma. This is not worrying, there is generally no evolution (the ring is already closed on grease). The problem is simply aesthetic.
- Strangulated hernia : this is a complication of umbilical hernias. Intestinal loops pass through the hernia ring and end up being strangled. It’s a emergency because there is a risk of necrosis of the intestines. It is also very painful for the animal.
Most often, a surgical intervention is performed to close the hernia. For small congenital hernias, we usually wait several months and the hernias are closed during sterilization, for example. This is to prevent the hernia from growing in size over time and causing complications.
If additional examinations have revealed the presence of intestinal loops within the hernia, then it is preferable not to postpone the intervention.
In the case of hernial lipoma, there is generally no treatment in place.