Medical Treatments for Perineal Hernias in Dogs

Written by carrie terry
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Medical Treatments for Perineal Hernias in Dogs
If a dog has a perineal hernia, it requires immediate medical attention. (dog image by Michal Tudek from

A hernia happens when the pelvic diaphragm, or muscle that holds the pelvic contents in place, swells or weakens. The result is a swelling or growth-like object near a dog's rectum. Other symptoms of a perineal hernia are constipation, lethargy, difficulty in urinating and altered tail carriage. Because this is a serious and uncomfortable health condition, immediate treatment is necessary.

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When to Seek Treatment

According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, any swelling near a dog's rectum can be a perineal hernia. Because this hernia can cause an inability to urinate or walk and may contain vital organs like the prostate, urinary bladder, omenthum and small intestine, this is a serious health matter. Any appearance of a hernia necessitates immediate medical action and may include a dog being stabilised on an emergency basis upon admittance.


The Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference states that the diagnosis of a perineal hernia is done through a physical exam and palpitation of the area. X-rays and an ultrasound can reinforce any questionable diagnosis. Before any surgery is performed, the vet performs a blood test for blood cell count, a biochemical profile and a urinalysis. The vet also performs a rectal exam to check for concurrent issues, like prostate disease, and to check the contents of the hernia.

Treatment Options

According to the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference, the most common treatments for a perineal hernia in dogs are medical therapy and elective surgery. Medical therapy includes a schedule of enemas, stool softeners, IV fluid therapy, dietary management and analgesics. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons tells us that medical therapy is only used for nonthreatening perineal hernias and does not permanently control the hernia. It is used most often as preparation for surgery. Surgery for perineal hernias includes moving any organs back into place, tacking the organs to the abdominal wall to eliminate the possibility of future movement and sutures to repair and strengthen the pelvic diaphragm. This surgery usually includes castration of male dogs to decrease the risk of future hernias. This surgery is followed up with antibiotics, pain medication and dietary modifications.

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