Some cats experience a defect or injury to certain muscles which may result in the internal organs slipping through the space resulting in what is known as a hernia. In this post, our Thornton veterinary surgeons talk about the different types of hernias in cats, the common signs and how surgery can help treat this condition.
Hernias in Cats
Hernias are not a very common issue that cats and their owners face, but they can be serious if they occur and are left untreated. Hernias are typically caused by a birth defect or in some cases may be caused by serious trauma. This can cause a space in their muscle where the internal organs and tissue can push their way through. There is more than one type of hernia and the treatment and factors will depend on the type that your cat is experiencing.
Like many other conditions, cats have a good chance of a full recovery as long as the hernia was diagnosed and treated quickly. When left untreated hernias can cause serious complications.
The Different Types of Hernias in Cats
- Inguinal hernia
- Umbilical hernia
- Hiatal hernia
Are hernias painful for cats?
A cat hernia may not always result in pain for your feline friend. Even so, there are a number of other symptoms that may accompany a hernia.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms may include:
- Squishy abdominal bulge
- Swelling in the groin
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Behavioral changes
The Causes of Hernias in Cats
- A weak muscle wall
- Injury or trauma
- Straining from constipation
- Birth defects
- Excessive bloating.
Can a cat get a hernia after being spayed?
There is an increased risk of a hernia after your cat has been spayed if the incision was not properly sutured or if the wrong type of suture was used. Another possible risk factor for hernias after cat spaying surgery is if your cat was moving around throughout the spay surgery. This is usually avoidable as the vet will have had your pet under general anesthesia for the procedure.
Can a cat live with a diaphragmatic hernia?
A diaphragmatic hernia occurs when there is a hole in the diaphragm that allows the abdominal organs to move up and through the hole into your cat's chest area. This condition is quite rare, typically forming prior to birth. While this can be very serious if not treated quickly, treatment can be highly successful and a full recovery can be had allowing your cat to live a long and healthy life.
Treating Cat Hernias With Surgery
Occasionally, your vet may be able to push internal organs back through the muscle wall. In some cases, the opening may then heal once the organs are back in the abdominal cavity where they belong.
However, the risk that the hernia will recur is high, so your vet may recommend fixing the muscle wall as even small openings can potentially lead to complications such as strangulation.
If organs cannot easily be pushed back through the abdominal cavity, if the tear in the muscle wall does not close by itself or if complications such as blockage, infection or strangulation occur, your cat will require veterinary surgery to repair the hernia.
First, your vet will complete a blood chemistry test, complete blood count and urinalysis to determine your pet’s overall physical health.
Provided the hernia repair is not urgent, any conditions that are diagnosed can be addressed prior to surgery. Non-urgent hernias can typically be repaired when your cat is neutered or spayed to minimize the need for anesthesia.
The night before your cat's hernia surgery, fasting will be necessary and fluids should be restricted. Your vet will use intravenous anesthesia to put your cat into a deep sleep, then insert a tracheal tube to maintain the anesthesia with gas.
Before the surgery, your vet will shave and clean the area to be operated on, then use surgical drapes to help ensure the area remains sterile.
During the operation, the vet will push the abdominal organs back into the abdominal cavity. Any damaged organs and tissue will be surgically repaired before the gap in the muscle wall is closed.
The vet may choose to use surgical mesh or existing muscle tissue to shut the gap in the muscle wall. They will then close the area using sutures.
How much does hernia surgery cost for a cat?
The cost of your cat's hernia surgery will depend on a number of different factors. Speak with your vet to learn more and to get a quote for your cat's upcoming hernia pet surgery.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.