Umbilical hernia

From Dog
Survey radiographs of the abdominal cavity and the thorax of a Shih Tzu puppy at 1 month of age[1]

Umbilical hernia ia a relatively common polygenic defect of most breeds of dogs characterized by malfusion of the urachus post-natally, resulting in a midline hernia[2].

Obesity with the resultant strain on the ventral abdominal wall may be a predisposing factor, as may congenital hypoplasia of the muscles of the ventral abdomen.

These hernias, which can present as small to large (up to 5cm diameter), are rarely pathological, although large defects may result in herniation of abdominal fat and intestinal loops.

In some dogs, concurrent diaphragmatic hernia may also be present.

Diagnosis is relatively simple to achieve with the dog standing, and digital pressure usually reveals a palpable lump at the urachus (umbilicus) which can be easily reduced.

Treatment requires surgical correction of larger defects, which is usually curative.

Large defects may require mersilene mesh implants[3].


  1. Lojszczyk-Szczepaniak A et al (2011) Retrosternal (Morgagni) diaphragmatic hernia. Can Vet J 52(8):878-883
  2. Robinson R (1977) Genetic aspects of umbilical hernia incidence in cats and dogs. Vet Rec 100(1):9-10
  3. Ripley WA & McCarnan HR (1974) Umbilical hernia repair with mersilene mesh. Can Vet J 15(12):357