What is an Umbilical Hernia?
Umbilical hernias are not uncommon in Basenjis. This type of hernia is generally congenital, and is thought to be inherited. It may not been seen in a very young puppy but as they get a little older and onto their feet the hernia appears. Normally and umbilical hernia will present itself as a soft, round mass located at the umbilicus (navel or belly button). Sometimes this mass will go up and down, especially if pressed in a young puppy. Pressing and holding the mass when handling the puppy can cause it to be retained in the abdomen and the protrusion will no longer be visible. Closure of the umbilicus can sometimes take up to 6 months so it is worth holding the mass in as long as possible when handling the puppy. An umbilical hernia can also appear hard this is generally when fat has become trapped outside the abdomen. An umbilical hernia may become more pronounced and/or visible when a dog ages. This could be due to increased pressure in the abdomen caused by the dog being overweight and due to trauma.
How are they treated?
Most small hernias that no longer move up and down contain only fat. This type of umbilical hernia is of little significance. When handling puppies the mass should be be held in for as long as possible. Closure of the umbilicus with the mass inside the abdomen has been known to occur up to 6 months of age, sometimes longer. Occasionally the mass will include part of the intestine which can cause more serious complications, including blockage if the part of the intestine gets trapped when the umbilicus closes. This type of hernia may need surgery to repair it. Umbilical hernias are generally treated based on risk. Most will not cause a blockage and if surgery is carried out it will generally be at a time when the dog is undergoing other surgical treatment, e.g. desexing.
What is an Inguinal Hernia?
Inguinal hernia are much more serious than umbilical hernias. They present themselves in the groin. They are more commonly found in females and especially those that are pregnant, experiencing bloating or constipation. In the case of an inguinal hernia tissue that belongs in the abdomen presses out though a week area. This area surrounds the femoral artery and nerve. The protrusion can be on one or both sides. In dogs such hernias are generally found on one side. The left side being the most common. The mass is not painful to touch. It is generally has a doughy consistency. Inguinal hernia have been diagnosed in Basenjis but are generally rare.
An inguinal hernia has been found what next?
When a vet has diagnosed an inguinal hernia, generally it should be removed as soon as possible. Surgery is generally successful.
Note: Basenjis with inguinal hernias should not be bred.