A hernia is most likely to take place in pups less than a year old and is typically acquired (congenital). Nevertheless, injury might likewise induce an acquired hiatal hernia, and this can take place at any age. A hernia takes place when one part of the body protrudes through a gap or opening into another part. A hiatal hernia, specifically, happens at the opening of the diaphragm where the food pipeline joins the stomach. Part of the stomach presses through the opening, and a hernia is formed. Although this can happen in any type or age, and with both genders, there does appear to be a predisposition for male animals, and with Chinese Shar-Pei and English bulldogs more than other types.
Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia in Dogs
Causes of Hiatal Hernia in Dogs
- Hereditary, especially with young puppies under a year old
- Obtained secondary to trauma or increased effort to breathe in
- Concurrent– the lower esophageal sphincter slides into the thoracic cavity and permits stomach reflux into the esophagus, triggering inflammation of the esophagus
X-rays may reveal soft-tissue density in the region of the esophageal opening (hiatus), however they might not reveal sores. However, a bigger esophagus can be identified utilizing X-ray imaging. Contrast tests can reveal the esophagus as it is joined to the stomach and may expose the irregularities that are triggering the issues. Your doctor can also perform an exam called an esophagoscopy, by which an internal scope is used to discover inflammation, and potentially show completion (terminal) of the esophagus moving into the thorax.
Diagnosis of hiatal hernia is based on assessment and observation of one or more of the following symptoms of the condition:
- Foreign body in the esophagus
- Abnormal tissue growth in the esophagus
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Augmentation of the lower esophagus
- Protrusion of the stomach into the esophagus
- A foreign body in the digestion tract
- Abnormal tissue growth in the stomach
- Inflammation of the stomach
Treatment for Hiatal Hernia in Dogs
Surgical treatment might be required if your veterinarian finds the need to close the opening (hiatus), or has to connect the stomach to the abdominal wall so that it does not protrude further. Antibiotics and healing breathing treatments might be required if aspiration pneumonia develops as the outcome of associated breathing problems. Your vet can prescribe drugs that will promote digestion and increase the tone of the sphincter in the lower esophagus. For example, medications such as cimetidine will reduce the acidity of the reflux, and promote healing of the damaged esophagus tissue.
However, not all hiatal hernias require treatment. Conservative therapy can be effective for controlling symptoms, and feeding small but frequent portions of a low-fat diet may likewise control symptoms.
Living and Management
If surgery is required for your dog, you will have to follow through with visits to your veterinarian for after care treatment. This holds true even if you are managing the hiatal hernia from home. Aspiration pneumonia is among the possible long term complications connected to a hiatal hernia, so you will need to be careful for signs of this. If you do see symptoms of pneumonia, you will have to take your dog to the veterinarian right away, as this is a condition that can rapidly progress. Some dogs may have a reoccurrence of all symptoms, where case you and your veterinarian will need to go back to square one to dismiss other causes and settle on a treatment strategy that will work.