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Hernias in Dogs… How to diagnose and what it might cost to treat!

OK now if you own a dog like a Pug, you might ask yourself…

“Hernias in dogs?  Come on!

After all…

Aren’t hernias caused by lifting something heavy or “over doing” it at the gym?  Two situations any Pug owner can assure you would never happen with their little ball of joy.

But that doesn’t mean…

That there aren’t some dog breeds that might end up suffering from a hernia.  It also doesn’t take into account that there are a wide variety of hernias that a dog might suffer from.  Some of which may have very little to do with actual exertion or “over working”.

This is why…

In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what it means it have a dog that has been diagnosed with a hernia as well as shed some light on what it will be like to treat him or her.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Hernias in dogs defined

A hernia in a dog is akin to hernias in people. A hernia is when there is a defect (tear or a gap) in the muscles surrounding organs thus allowing for the organs, or fatty tissue, to push through.

Now this could…

Be just a little bit of an organ pushing through that wall or it can be the whole internal organ that is protruding through. And while most of us are familiar with hernias that are caused by “over lifting” something…

“Man, what have you got in this suitcase, you nearly gave me a hernia”

The truth is…

There are many potential causes that could lead someone or some dog to develop a hernia including:

  • Congenital,
  • Trauma,
  • Disease,
  • Or simply getting older.

Types and Causes of hernias in dogs expanded

As we just mentioned, there are many different types of hernias that can occur in dogs and but there are five that are the most common.

Umbilical Hernia – This is the most common hernia that can occur in dogs. This hernia is congenital (present from birth and hereditary) and usually found in puppies.

These types…

Of hernias will be located on the underside of a puppy/dog, where the umbilical cord was in utero, just below their ribcage. In the place of a belly button there would be a type of squishy protrusion.

Inguinal Hernia – As per its name, this hernia is occurring in the groin area of the dog. The specific area is in the fold where the rear leg connects to the body. These types of hernias can vary in size but if the size is great enough some of the bladder, small intestine, and/or uterus can move through the hole and become trapped in the hernia, which can in turn restrict blood flow.

These types…

Of hernias will be caused by congenital developmental defects and is most common in female dogs, which can become an issue when they become pregnant.

Diaphragmatic Hernia – The diagram is the muscle that separates the abdominal organs from the heart and lungs.

These types…

Of hernias are caused by a hole in the diagram which then allows internal organs to enter into the chest cavity which in turn makes it difficult for the dog to breath. They can also be congenital or develop as a result of an injury, the most common being that the dog has been hit by a car where the pressure of the impact results in a tear in the diaphragm.

Perennial Hernia – This occurs when the muscles of the pelvis tear thus allowing for the abdominal organs (rectum, prostate, bladder or fat) to enter into the area next to the rectum. This is most common in unneutered male dogs that are over the age of 5.

Hiatal Hernia – This type of hernia develops when a part of the stomach is pushed into the diaphragm in the area where the esophagus joins the stomach. This hernia can be either congenital or the result of a trauma and most often in male puppies less than 1yr old.

Dog breeds that are at the greatest risk for developing a hernia

While any canine regardless of breed or sex can develop a hernia, there are breeds that are more predisposed to certain types of hernias.

Umbilical HerniaAiredale, Pekingese.

Inguinal HerniasBassett Hound, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Pekinese, Poodle, Spaniels.

Diaphragmatic HerniaCocker Spaniel, Weimaraner.

Perennial HerniaBoston Terrier, Boxer, Collie, Corgi, Dachshund, Old English Sheepdog, Pekinese.

Hiatal HerniaChinese Shar Pei, English Bulldog.

Symptoms of hernias in dogs

Due to the fact that hernia are essentially internal organs being pushed, or relocated, into areas where they are not intended it often will result in the appearance of a soft, bubble looking mass. Other symptoms can include;

  • Anorexia,
  • Coughing,
  • Drooling,
  • Signs of extreme pain,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Vomiting.

Diagnosis of hernias in dogs

Often times, a hernia will be initially “diagnosed” or at least identified by an observant owner who may notice an unusual “bulge” or “lump” where none had been present before.

From there…

You’ll want to be sure and bring this “bulge” to your veterinarian’s attention.  From there, your veterinarian will be able to tailor a diagnoses and treatment plan specific to the type of hernia that is suspected by looking for the telltale clinical signs.

In a lot of the cases…

The hernia will be visible but when the hernia is not visible your veterinarian may deem an x-ray or an ultrasound necessary to evaluate the condition of your dog.

And while…

Surgery may be necessary, at the end of the day, they “type” of hernia and its severity will typically guide your vet in choosing the right treatment plan of your pet.

Treatment options with regards to hernia types

Umbilical Hernia – Depending on the size of the protrusion it may heal on its own, otherwise it should be surgically fixed when the puppy is spayed or neutered. If this protrusion is large and not fixed early on serious complications can occur later in life.

Inguinal Hernia – If this type of hernia is suspected this is an emergency. This is life threatening and your dog will need to undergo surgery immediately.

Diaphragmatic Hernia – Surgery is necessary as soon as the dog has become stable enough for general anesthesia.

Perennial Hernia – With this hernia surgery is usually recommended. There will be closure of the pelvic wall and the bladder and colon with be sutured to the wall of the abdomen so as to aide in stabilizing the organs and also to prevent any future reoccurrences.

Hiatal Hernia – With this hernia surgery is not always necessary. Your veterinarian may advise putting your dog on a low-fat diet and doing small but frequent feeding.

Now at this point…

We should probably remind you that we here at IndulgeYourPet aren’t doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who are passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.


If you feel like your dog may be suffering from a hernia of any kind, get him or her to a vet ASAP!  This way you can avoid any unnecessary pain and suffering for your animal, and you could end up saving yourself a ton of cash too.


One thing that we’ve found that is usually true when it comes to vet bills is that they can tend to be pretty expensive, but if a simple problem is treated quickly, it can often allow one to avoid a really expensive bill later on.  Which brings us to the next topic we wanted to discuss which is what it might cost to treat a hernia in a dog.

Cost of treating hernias in dogs

Regardless of the type of hernia that your dog is diagnosed with the cost, if surgery is deemed necessary, chances are your bill is going to be expensive.


The cost of surgical procedures can vary depending on your geographic area and whether your dog is being treated at an emergency room or at your local veterinarian.

That said however…

Hernia repairs for the common and simple cases will usually run around $700-$1000 with more complex and difficult surgeries costing upwards of $2600-$3000.


As with all surgeries there are risks and some of the most common associated with hernia repair include bleeding, dehiscence (where the incision breaks open), and infection.

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Dave April 17, 2020, 3:02 pm

    I have a old pug and there is a little sac/bulge coming out of her female area.it has been about 2 weeks with this.The size has not changed and she is not in pain with this either.She almost looks like a male from the back.Maci(her name) and she is about 14 years old.And she a double rescue.Any info would be helpful Dave

    • indulgeyourpet April 17, 2020, 3:30 pm


      That’s a tough one given we can’t see what you’re talking about and we’re not veterinarians. Our advice would be to have her checked out, because in cases like these it could be something as simple as swollen anal glands or perhaps something that might need more care. In either case, the sooner it is taken care of the better your little girl will feel.

      Good luck,


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