Q. My dog is having surgery for a hernia soon. Is this a fairly common surgery?
A. A hernia is an out-pouching of the abdominal contents through a weak spot in the body wall. Many dogs are born with umbilical hernias, where there is a bulging out at the site of the umbilical cord.
Let’s assume your dog has an umbilical hernia. Surgery for umbilical hernias is fairly routine and rarely leads to any complications. The procedure involves closing the hole around the hernia with a “purse-string” suture, which pulls the hole together when it is tightened up.
However, other types of hernias, such as inguinal hernias or body wall hernias, are usually caused by a traumatic event, such as being hit by a car. These can be very challenging to repair in cases of severe trauma. Sometimes, synthetic mesh is required to close the hole in the body wall if the muscle has been too badly damaged.
Jon Geller, DVM