PHOTOS 1-5: External abdominal hernias are defects in the abdominal wall allowing protrusion of the abdominal contents. External abdominal hernias involve any part of the abdominal wall other than the umbilicus, inguinal ring, femoral canal and scrotum. True hernias are those where the contents are enclosed in a peritoneal sac while false hernias are not surrounded by a peritoneal sac. Abdominal hernias are false hernias. Abdominal hernias occur secondary to trauma such as vehicle accidents or bite wounds but may also be congenital or iatrogenic. Abdominal hernias are defined according to their location as ventral, prepubic, subcostal, hypochondral, paracostal or lateral abdominal hernias. Abdominal hernias are painful and the animal may become anorexic. The swelling should be palpated to determine the contents of the hernia and to locate the abdominal defect. Abdominal radiographs may be made to confirm whether it is a hernia if the abdominal wall defect cannot be palpated due to swelling or pain. The initial treatment for abdominal hernias includes treating shock and internal injuries. The abdominal hernia can then be repaired by apposing the disrupted abdominal wall edge to the pubis, ribs or fascia or by suturing the torn muscle edges.
REFERENCE: PHOTOS 1-5: Fossum, TW, Hedlund, CS, Johnson, AL, Schultz, KS, Seim, HB, Williard, MD, Bahr, A & Carroll, G (eds) 2007, ‘Small animal surgery’, 3rd ed., Mosby Elsevier, St Louis, pp. 322-323.
Metadata assigned by Dr. M. van Schoor, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Companion Animal Clinical Studies