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.