A hernia is caused by a body of tissue allowing itself through an opening in the structure walls that usually contain it. To envision the process, imagine a hole the size of a penny in saran-wrap, then forcefully pushing your fist through the hole. In this instance, the saran-wrap would be the structure walls and your fist would represent the tissue. After enough force, the saran-wrap would tear, and your fist would burst through the other side. The body of tissue within pets is usually fat or internal organs and most commonly occurs near the abdomen but can occur in other places. While hernias can be life threatening, they are entirely treatable and have an excellent prognosis when given prompt veterinary care.

There is no guaranteed method of preventing hernias. Acquiring them is usually hereditary or inflicted by trauma. If you have any questions about hernias in pets, or would like more information, feel free to contact our office.

Signs your pet might have a hernia: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bulging of the skin in abdominal area
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hard knots in the abdominal or groin area
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

What types of hernias do pets get?

Diaphragmatic – Can occur in any age of pet; some pets are born with these types of hernias, others develop them after an injury. With Diaphragmatic hernias, the internal organs enter the chest cavity making breathing difficult.

Hiatal – Occurs when part of the stomach forces itself into the diaphragm at the point where the esophagus meets the stomach. Hiatal hernias can be caused by trauma or can be congenital.

Inguinal – These happen when a pet’s inner rear leg fixes to the body wall, near the groin area. Depending on the size of the hernia, segments of the bladder, intestine, and uterus have been known to get caught, creating a life-threatening problem. Inguinal hernias are congenital and usually affect female pets, namely those pregnant and middle-aged. These are usually surgically fixed immediately.

Perineal – Usually occurs when pelvic muscles tear, allowing abdominal muscles to enter the area bordering the anus. While it is merely believed that some breeds are more susceptible to perineal hernias, it has definitively been proven to occur in older, unneutered male pets.

Umbilical – Typically seen in younger pets, umbilical hernias are the most common type of hernia and are located near the bellybutton. Smaller hernias can close up on their own, or can be left alone and never bother a pet over the course of its life; larger umbilical hernias are usually fixed during spay or neuter surgery.

How are hernias treated?

A hernia is a condition best treated in a timely manner; the earlier one can be corrected, the better. After a pet has been diagnosed with a hernia, we usually recommend prompt surgical correction. In some cases, the veterinarian might be able to push back the projecting tissue manually. While this method is more cost-effective for the pet owner, it is not considered as reliable as surgery and can cause the hernia to become strangulated which is a serious medical emergency. After surgery, most pets take some time to recoup, but the long term prognosis is highly favorable.

If you think your pet might be suffering from a hernia, please contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an exam.


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Here's a vet that still cares.
Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

Yolanda M

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