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Dog Inguinal Hernia Surgery Cost and Procedure

Dog Inguinal Hernia Surgery Cost and Procedure

If your dog has an inguinal hernia, you may be wondering about the procedure and the associated cost of a dog's inguinal hernia surgery. Hernias are protrusions of organ or fat that end up bulging though the muscular part of the abdominal wall. They tend to appear because of an opening in a muscle that allows organs or fat to slip out of place. An inguinal hernia in particular can sometimes be problematic and interfere with a dog's daily activities. Whether an inguinal hernia should be removed or not can be based on several individual factors such as the dog's age and the impact the hernia has on the dog's life. Consulting with your vet is the best way to determine whether your dog needs surgery or not.

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Inguinal Hernias in Dogs 

When it comes to inguinal hernias, the dog's inguinal area (the area where the abdominal folds meet the thigh,) shows a distinct protrusion which may be caused by a bulging portion of the intestine, fat or other viscera.

Inguinal hernias are quite frequent in dogs and may be a common finding mostly seen in intact (non-spayed) female dogs when they are pregnant or as they age.

In male, neutered dogs inguinal hernias may occur as well but are more rare. A retained testicle may sometimes be confused for an inguinal hernia.

In puppies, inguinal hernias may eventually disappear on their own, explains Dr. M. Joseph Bojrab, a board-certified veterinary surgeon. If the hernia doesn't disappear, then a good time to fix it is when the pup goes into surgery to be spayed or neutered.

Inguinal hernias are in most cases only found on one side, but in some cases, under closer inspection, the condition can be bilateral, meaning that they appear on both sides.

Not all inguinal hernias are created equal, and therefore not all of them necessitate of surgical intervention. One important factor is the hernia's classification. Hernias are classified as reducible, when they can be tucked back into the abdominal cavity manually. Irreducible hernias, on the other hand, require surgical intervention in order to be tucked back in. Finally, strangulated hernias are hernias which contents are constricted by a hernial ring, potentially resulting in serious complications such as vein congestion and the formation of gangrene.

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"Ingunial (as well as umbilical) hernias are due 90% of the time to a genetic defect. The official guideline is that any breeding dogs that produce puppies with inguinal or umbilical hernias simply should not be bred from again due to the fact this problem is 90% hereditory." ~Dr. Edwards, veterinarian

Inguinal Hernia Complications in Dogs

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Hernias in dogs are typically soft and dough-like protrusions that are typically not painful to the dog when they are palpated. Generally, these hernias do not produce any particular problems. However, hernias can become unpredictable as they grow, and problems start when a loop of the intestinal tract or bladder become entrapped. In these cases, affected dogs may find themselves in a life-threatening situation.

For example, in the case of a loop of intestine become trapped, the stricture can prevent the passage of food leading to a blockage. Affected dogs may develop a lack of appetite, vomiting, pain and abdominal pain. If the intestinal loop happens to get twisted, blood supply to tissue is lost and the tissue will die, precipitating a cascading chain of events that, left untreated, can lead to death. In the case of the bladder becoming entrapped, affected dogs may develop symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection and an inability to urinate. Both these examples of entrapment are considered a medical emergency.

In intact, female dogs, an inguinal hernia may turn problematic when the dog in question gets pregnant and the uterus enlarges. In such as case, even a small hernia, like a little over 1/2 inch, can become a problem. In a hernia of that size, there are risks (although rare!) for the uterus to fall through the hernia hole, explains veterinarian Dr. Rebecca.

Also, should the dog become pregnant, an embryo may form in the hernia causing a potentially life threatening risk to the puppy or even the mother. For this reason, it's best that a female dog's hernia is repaired before breeding, or even better, having the female dog spayed, considering that hernias tends to be hereditary and the tendency to develop them can be passed down t future generations.

Dog Inguinal Hernia Surgery Cost

Dog ACTH test costs

Dog ACTH test costs

The medical term for surgery to fix a dog's hernia is herniorrhaphy.The surgery procedure consists of making an incision to relocate any herniated organs into the abdomen and completely or partially closing the inguinal canal so that hernia is prevented from occurring again.

The cost of inguinal hernia surgery in dogs varies based on several factors. If done by a general practitioner, the cost may roughly range between $800-1,200; whereas if the repair is done by a board certified veterinary surgeon the cost can be upwards, generally anywhere between $1,200 to 2,500.

The great news about inguinal hernia repair surgery is that since the hernia was caused by muscle layers not holding properly, once the hernia is repaired, it should no longer be a problem. The prognosis indeed tends to be excellent after dogs undergo a hernia repair.


  • DCM360: Diaphragmatic, inguinal, & perinial hernia repair (Proceedings)
  • Merck Veterinary Manual, Hernias

Photo Credits:

  • Inguinal cryptorchidism in a Chihuahua by Joel Mills - Own work Right inguinal cryptorchidism in a Chihuahua just prior to surgery. A bump can be seen where the inguinal testicle is located. CC BY-SA 3.0

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