Hernias: Case by Case

Read about both classic and unusual hernia cases veterinarians encounter, why they occur, how to treat them, and their prognoses.

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Hernias: Case by Case
Hernias can range from small, self-resolving nuisances to life-threatening emergencies. | Photo: Thinkstock

From harmless nuisance to life-threatening emergencies, here are some real-life examples of intestinal escape

Imagine up to 100 feet of intestines delicately stuffed into a compact and fairly rigid compartment (aka, the abdominal cavity). Now imagine a sudden burst of pressure applied to that compartment or a small tear developing somewhere in the body wall. Where are those intestines to go? In most cases, nowhere. But in some cases they can pop through the body wall, diaphragm, or even through a pre-existing hole. And give the intestines an inch, and they’ll take the proverbial mile.

“A hernia is simply the protrusion of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening,” explains Claude Ragle, Dipl. ACVS, ABVP (Equine Practice), associate professor in equine surgery at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The intestines are among the most common tissues to herniate.”

In this article we will describe some classic hernia scenarios veterinarians encounter, along with more unusual cases. Our sources will help explain how/why these hernias occur, how to treat them, and the prognosis associated with each

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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