You should avoid breeding a dog with a hernia. Although dogs with a minor hernia can technically still give birth and have puppies, it’s not recommended for two reasons. First, the hernia increases health risk during pregnancy and birth. Second, hernias can be genetic and passed on to the puppies.
You have just tucked your very pregnant four-legged friend into bed. She is just about to give birth to her litter soon. The next morning, you realize a small bulge emerging from her skin.
What is this mass protruding from her skin and is it dangerous to your pregnant pup?
Before we get started, let’s get the obvious out of the way. If you notice any abnormality on your pregnant dog, be sure to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Especially if they are about to give birth. An open hernia during pregnancy and birth can be life threatening.
First Things First – What is a Hernia?
Hernias found in dogs can be due to varying factors. Some of these factors include genetics, hormone disorders, traumas, etc.
A hernia in a dog is when tissues or organs tear through their normal placement and into other parts of the body. Your furry friend can experience different hernias, including umbilical, inguinal, diaphragmatic, hiatal, and perineal.
We will go into more detail on each hernia shortly, but first… let’s go over whether a dog can give birth with a hernia.
Should You Breed Dogs That Have a Hernia?
If your dog is not yet pregnant, we do not suggest breeding your furry friend if they have a hernia since hernias can be developed through genetics.
Transferring these genes to the next litter can complicate the litter’s livelihood. This includes if your dog has already received surgery for their hernia.
If you aren’t sure if you should or shouldn’t breed your dog because of their hernia, we highly recommend that you consult with your vet.
Open Vs. Closed Hernia
One of the reasons it’s vital to go to the vet if you suspect your dog may have a hernia is to find out whether it’s an open or closed hernia.
If it is an open hernia, it’s too risky for your dog to have a full term pregnancy and give birth. If the hernia is closed, then the pregnancy and birthing process shouldn’t be a problem.
Regardless, be sure to listen to your vets recommendations.
The Different Types of Hernias and How They Affect Pregnancy
Umbilical hernias are commonly seen in puppies and are genetically transferred. This is the most common type of hernia and is located around the belly button where the mother’s umbilical cord would connect with the puppy during the pregnancy.
It’s caused by the umbilical ring not completely closing after the mother gives birth to her litter.
The protrusion is not painful, and the hernia will pass on its own in most cases. If the hernia is persistent and becomes a problem for your furry friend, it can be removed with surgery.
An inguinal hernia is a rare hernia that is usually found near your dog’s inner groin or inner leg. There are two different types of inguinal hernias: Direct and Indirect.
An indirect hernia can affect your dog’s reproductive organs, such as your dog’s vaginal area or scrotum.
A direct hernia can also affect your dog’s reproductive organs. This is when the abdominal organs pass through a female’s reproductive organ and potentially disrupts their digestive organ.
The abdominal organs can find their way to the intestines, which can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. We suggest that you reach out to your vet immediately if you suspect an inguinal hernia.
A diaphragmatic hernia is a tear in your dog’s diaphragm that will cause body parts such as the stomach to pass through their chest. This means your dog’s stomach will be close to their lungs.
This can make it hard for your dog to breathe, leading to a reduction in activity levels. The only treatment for this hernia is surgery.
A hiatal hernia occurs when your furry friend’s esophagus finds its way to the stomach. In most cases, you will notice a protrusion in your dog’s stomach.
This type of hernia is commonly found in male dogs and has two treatment options. The first of which is oral medication, the second is surgery.
Reach out to your vet for a complete diagnostic and recommended treatment plan.
A perineal hernia is when your dog’s abdominal organs find their way to your dog’s bowel organs, such as their rectum.
This is caused by the weakening of your dog’s pelvic muscle. You would most likely notice protrusion or swelling from your dog around their rectum area.
This is commonly found in older dogs or dogs that have not been fixed. If your dog is experiencing this hernia, your vet may suggest looking into medications or surgery to treat the issue.
Common Causes of Hernias
The most common cause of a hernia is genetics. This is why many vets will always recommend getting your puppies neutered to prevent hernias from occurring in another litter.
Your dogs can also develop a hernia from trauma, such as getting hit by a car. This can cause tissues or muscles to weaken or break which will cause a hernia.
As many hernias are hereditary, it’s almost impossible to prevent unless you do not breed your furry friend.
You can prevent any hernias caused by trauma by supervising your dog wherever they go or dog proofing your environment. This can reduce any significant risks or injury to your dog.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Hernia
If you’re considering breeding your dog but think they might have a hernia, it’s important to look for symptoms.
Hernia symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the hernia. Some dogs may not experience any complications, while other dogs may experience some severe health issues.
Apart from any tissue or muscle protruding from the skin, below are a few symptoms you should look for:
- Respiratory Issues
The best way to tell if a dog has a hernia is to look at the skin. If you see any bumps and your dog is in pain, there’s a chance it’s a hernia.
Can You Treat Hernias?
Like the symptoms, the treatment options for a hernia will vary due to the severity of the hernia.
In most cases, the vet will recommend surgery to treat the hernia. If surgery is not recommended, your vet might suggest medication, therapy, etc. as a treatment plan.
Treatment can also be as simple as just letting the hernia heal on its own.
Treatment like surgery can be expensive. This is why you must be up to date with your dog’s health. If you catch these symptoms early and bring them to your vet’s attention, you may prevent any serious health effects or symptoms that can occur from a hernia.
A hernia can be harmless or harmful to your dog. Owners must know their dog’s health and well-being. We hope we were able to answer your questions regarding hernias in dogs. If you are unsure, please reach out to your vet for an accurate diagnosis and a proper treatment plan.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.