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Ask the Vet: Puppy's Hernia Needs Surgical Repair

Dr. Lee Pickett on

Q: Rosie, our pit bull puppy, has a soft lump where her belly button should be. When we push on it, it disappears temporarily. What is it, and should we be concerned?

A: It sounds like Rosie may have an umbilical hernia. Your veterinarian can do a physical exam and tell you whether it needs immediate surgical attention or can be repaired later, when she is spayed.

The lump probably contains fat that is protruding from her belly button. The hernia, likely inherited, formed when Rosie was born.

Normally, at birth, the umbilical cord falls off, the abdominal wall closes where the cord had been, and the skin comes together to form a belly button, or umbilicus.

However, Rosie's abdominal wall did not completely close, and pressure in the abdomen is forcing some of the abdominal contents out the hole.

If her intestines were forced out of the abdomen, they could strangulate -- an emergency that would require immediate surgery. If the hernia is small and contains only fat, and your veterinarian feels it can be repaired when Rosie is spayed, monitor it closely until then.


Q: Koosh, my 13-year-old cat, has chronic kidney disease. His veterinarian prescribed a canned renal diet, fish oil and weekly subcutaneous fluids, all of which have been keeping him energetic.

However, because Koosh's kidney disease is progressing, the vet is recommending we do the fluid treatments more often. The problem is that Koosh doesn't tolerate the car ride to the vet very well. Can subcutaneous fluids be given at home?

A: Cats with chronic kidney disease gradually lose their ability to filter toxins from the blood and conserve water. As the toxins build up and dehydration worsens, the cat loses his appetite and energy.

Adding fluid to the body in the form of canned food, which is 80% water, and subcutaneous ("under the skin") fluid helps maintain the cat's kidney health and quality of life. Fortunately, subcutaneous fluids can easily be given at home.


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