Social Media Icons

Follow Us:

Main Content

What is an Umbilical Hernia?

Twitter Stumbleupon Mixx it! Print Email icon
Pin It
If you enjoy this article,
Go here to sign up for the mailing list to receive more articles like this.

Q. What is an umbilical hernia? Should it be removed, and is it life threatening?


A. An umbilical hernia is a small “rent” or opening in the body wall of animal located just behind the umbilicus (where the umbilical cord attaches to the fetus) and underneath the skin layers. A hernia allows for the contents of the abdomen, usually no more than just abdominal fat, to find its way out of the abdomen and into the space between the animal’s body wall and its skin layers. This phenomenon creates the appearance of a small abdominal sac or out-pouching of abdominal skin at the mid-abdomen.

An umbilical hernia should definitely be repaired. While not immediately life threatening, it can become a life threatening emergency. Over time and with increased activity on the part of the animal, the rent or opening may become larger and more pronounced. If this scenario were to occur, there is now a possibility that more than just abdominal fat can pass through the opening. In fact, if the opening is large enough, parts of the gastrointesintal tract (G.I.) may pass through it and become entrapped, no longer able to return to their normal position or maintain their normal function, ultimately upsetting the health of the G.I. tract and potentially causing other, more major, issues.

This situation, known as an incarcerated bowel, is an emergency and requires surgery to repair immediately.  If your pet is suffering from this, please go to the vet immediately.


Credit: Reviewed by Dr. Amy I. Attas 
Did you like this article?
Go here to sign up for the mailing list to receive more articles like this.

Related content

Pet Questions Vet Answers®

All medical-related content on WebVet has been veterinarian approved to ensure its timeliness and accuracy.
Introducing Pet-Pods...

Veterinarian with small dog FREE downloadable PDF files providing a comprehensive review of some of the most timely pet health topics: Allergies, Fleas, Summer Safety Hazards, and Vomiting and Diarrhea.

Newsletter Signup

Get FREE Pet Insurance Quotes Now!

Search For A Vet