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A hernia is caused by tears or bulges in the body that allow tissues or organs to pass or protrude through. Hernias can be genetic or the result of an injury. There are different types of hernias, and they can occur in different areas of the body.

Some hernias can be detected through X-rays and others may appear only through symptoms such as eating problems, respiratory trouble or excessive salivation. Hernias do have the potential to be life-threatening, so take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice either an unusual bulge or symptoms of illness.

How Do I Know If It’s a Hernia?

There are several symptoms to look for if your dog has a hernia. Any unusual symptoms outside of normal behavior should be cause for concern, but these symptoms are attributed to hernias:

Types of Hernias

  1. Umbilical: An umbilical hernia is usually inherited through genetics and is not caused by cutting the umbilical cord too close. This hernia appears as a swelling or bulge near or under the belly button that may adjust as the dog eats. These hernias are not considered serious and usually close on their own. Large ones may grab or encapsulate other organs or intestines and restrict blood flow as it closes. The loss of blood flow can be life-threatening, so always have the hernia examined by a veterinarian.
  2. Inguinal: These hernias appear in the groin area and are most commonly seen in females that are pregnant, bloated or constipated. Males can be affected by this type of hernia, but this is uncommon. Recurrence on the opposite (healthy) groin is possible, so both sides should be checked by your vet.
  3. Perineal: These hernias appear around the anus and are usually caused by hereditary muscle weakness or muscles that weakened from other causes. This type of hernia typically affects older males more than females. A hernia can appear on one or both sides of the anus. The anal glands are commonly removed when the hernia is being treated surgically since they are usually the cause of the hernia. Perineal hernias are more common in small or toy dogs.
  4. Diaphragmatic: Most of these hernias appear after car accidents but can be the result of genetics. These are the most difficult to treat because of the locations of nearby internal organs. The hernia is caused by a tear where the diaphragm meets the rib cage. This can put pressure on internal organs and cause difficulty with breathing.

Treatment

Treatment for all hernias in dogs is surgery unless it is an umbilical hernia that closes and resolves itself. Hernias are most commonly mistaken for tumors, but do not try to diagnose your dog yourself; what may appear to be a small and harmless hernia to you might be one that is pressing on other organs that you can’t see or cutting off blood supply to other parts of the body.

Let your veterinarian make the determination and decide the time and type of treatment needed; it just might save your pet’s life.

Other Considerations

Hernias can be passed down through generations, and affected dogs are usually not recommended for breeding. If you want to breed for pets and not for show animals, be prepared to have the offspring examined and treated for hernias if they exist in the parents.

Attached Images:

This guest post was written by Kristine Lacoste, a writer and editor with PetsAdviser.com, a pet advice site.

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by guest blogger David Fairhurst

Dog at the Vet

Having a pet is one of life’s great pleasures, but it can also be one of life’s great expenses. Veterinary science has progressed enormously over recent years and the rising costs of medication, operations and treatment has rocketed. For most people, getting rid of their pet is simply not an option, so it is worth to spend some time thinking of ways to reduce the bills.

Insurance

It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to guard against unexpected vet bills is to insure your pet. Policies are available for every sort of pet, from small rodents like hamsters to horses or dogs. Take some time to compare the different policies on the market and understand exactly what is covered. Many policies exclude routine treatments such as neutering or vaccinations, and there may also be an excess to pay. Even with these relatively minor drawbacks, an insurance policy is a sensible investment given the cost of treating an animal after a road accident or major illness could run into the thousands.

Shop around

Most of us get into the habit of buying the same things from the same shops every week, and most pet owners pick up their dog or cat food when doing the weekly shop at the supermarket. Pet food is a competitive market, and far better deals can often be found online, or if you are prepared to buy pet food and other items in bulk. Factor in the costs of delivery or get together with other pet owners to share the costs.

Medication

Many of the items recommended for your pet by the vet are only available on prescription and this makes it difficult to cut down the cost. Always ask your vet if items are prescription only, and if not, shop around in local pet stores or online to try to get a better deal. This is especially the case for items such as horse digestion supplements which are not really medication, but can assist your pet’s general health. Typing the key phrase of horse digestion supplements into any search engine will throw up dozens of online stores specializing in the market.

Prevention

Our pets are really not that different to us, and although there are no cast iron guarantees, one of the best ways of minimizing the risk of illness is to keep them as fit and healthy as possible. Obesity is a growing problem with our pets, so it is vital to control what they are eating and to cut back on portions if the weight is piling on. Exercise is also important, and especially for naturally active animals such as horses and dogs who need exercising every day without fail. If owners are unable to make that commitment themselves, there are dog walkers up and down the country who will exercise your pet, and if a horse is stabled, regular riding may be included as part of the livery fees. Always make sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations, flea and worm treatments too.

Citations:

  • Photograph by Joe Futrelle [CC BY-SA 2.0]

For horse digestion supplements and other equine health products head to the wonderful Equine Warehouse online store.

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