Hernia (Inguinal) in Dogs

Vladimir Negron
Oct 15, 2012
2 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Inguinal Hernia in Dogs

Much like humans, dogs can suffer from hernias. An inguinal hernia is a condition in which the abdominal contents protrude through the inguinal canal or inguinal ring, an opening which occurs in the muscle wall in the groin area.

Inguinal hernia can occur in both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this type of hernia affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Inguinal hernias may be uncomplicated or complicated. A complicated hernia is one in which contents of the abdominal cavity have passed through the opening and become entrapped.

Symptoms seen with an uncomplicated inguinal hernia are:

  • A soft swelling in the groin area, which may occur on one or both sides of the body

Symptoms seen with a complicated inguinal hernia may include:

  • Swelling in the groin area, which may become painful and warm to the touch
  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Frequent attempts to urinate
  • Bloody urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression


In dogs, inguinal hernias may be acquired (not present at birth but developing later in life) or congenital (present at birth). Factors which predispose a dog to develop an inguinal hernia include trauma, obesity, and pregnancy.

Most inguinal hernias are uncomplicated and cause no symptoms other than a swelling in the groin area. However, if contents from the abdominal cavity (such as the bladder, a loop of intestines or the uterus) pass through the opening and become entrapped there, the situation can become life-threatening.


Inguinal hernias can usually be diagnosed by finding the swelling caused by the hernia on a physical examination. However, sometimes contrast radiographs (X-rays) or an abdominal ultrasound are needed to determine which abdominal contents, if any, are entrapped.


Treatment is surgical correction of the opening and replacement of abdominal contents back into the abdomen if necessary.


Because inguinal hernias can be hereditary, dogs with these hernias should not be bred.

See Also


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