Definition of Hernias
A hernia is an abnormal protrusion of part of the body through the structures that surround it. They can exist at birth or be acquired as a result of trauma and often are genetic. In most cases, affected animals have a weak spot, an unusual opening or some other abnormality in a body wall that permits tissue to bulge through it. Fat and intestines are the most common tissues to herniate. A hernia in the groin is an inguinal hernia, and a hernia in the belly button is an umbilical hernia. These hernias are often seen in young puppies. Hernias near the anus are called perineal hernias and usually occur in older dogs. Another common site of hernias in dogs is the diaphragm, which is the muscular partition separating the chest and abdominal cavities. Diaphragmatic hernias involve protrusion of abdominal tissues through the diaphragm and are called hiatal hernias. Most dogs with hernias show no signs of discomfort.