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Hernia in Older Dog

 Submitted by Michael Adams on May 23, 2010

A hernia is a bodily organ or a tissue bulge that passes through a defect or a tear or opening in the muscle wall or in the contained space it is meant to occupy. Among dogs there four common types of hernias that occur, first type of hernia is the umbilical hernia, then there is the inguinal hernia, the perineal hernia and the diaphragmatic hernia. Some pets may suffer from hernias from birth and these are referred to as congenital hernias.

The other hernias may be acquired during the course of the pet’s life or may be secondary due to some traumatic episode that has occurred. A diaphragmatic hernia is considered the most serious kind of dog hernia that they can suffer from. When a rupture or tear occurs in the diaphragm which is that wall of muscle that divides the lungs and the chest cavity, it permits the liver, intestines and other vital bodily organs to enter into space of the chest cavity.

This hernia can be either resulting from an injury or can be congenital.  Some of the symptoms of a hernia that a dog would display include coughing, sudden weight loss, vomiting, unusual lethargy, breathing that is heavier and rapid, excessive salivation and may be even fever. Normally dogs that are suffering from a perineal hernia usually experience a displacement in the area surrounding the anus known as the perineum of the abdominal organs.

Older dogs suffer from perineal hernias. The perineal hernia occurs because of the weakening of those muscles that are located underneath the tail of the dog and on either side of the anus. These hernias can cause various problems and impactions if they are not corrected in time. In general the female dog is never really affected by this particular type of hernia. These hernias tend to be caused by older dogs when they strain to defecate when they have an enlarged prostrate. Over time, maybe months or years, the muscles that are present and surrounding the rectum get weakened due to the pressure and will eventually break down. This leads to a gap forming and the dog’s rectum then bulges into this gap. This then leads to a big swelling forming on one particular side of the anus thus causing a lot of difficulty while the dog tries to pass a motion. At this point in time, major surgery is required to correct a perineal hernia. The commonest cause of perineal hernia is an enlarged prostrate gland.

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