Umbilical hernia

An opening in the muscle wall at the belly button

An umbilical hernia is a defect in the closure of the abdominal muscle, which can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the size of the hernia. Signs may include:

  • A small bulge or swelling near the belly button area
  • Soft, movable lump that may appear when your pet stands, coughs, or strains
  • Redness or inflammation around the hernia
  • Discomfort or pain when the hernia is touched

Other health conditions may share similar symptoms with an umbilical hernia, including hernias in other locations or tumors.

If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your pet's health, it's important to consult with your veterinarian. Early detection and intervention, usually as a puppy or young adult, can improve the chances of successful management and prevent complications.

When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to an umbilical hernia, the following may occur:

  • Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for any abnormalities around the umbilical area and evaluating the size and characteristics of the hernia.
  • Diagnostic testing: Especially for large hernias, diagnostic testing such as an ultrasound may be recommended to assess the hernia's size, contents, and any potential complications.
  • Treatment options: Treatment options for an umbilical hernia can vary depending on the severity. In many cases, surgery will be recommended to repair the hernia and prevent complications.
  • Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve post-operative care, monitoring the hernia's progress, and assessing your pet's overall recovery.

Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.

While it may not be possible to prevent an umbilical hernia, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of complications:

  • Avoid excessive pressure or trauma to the umbilical area: Most umbilical hernias are present at birth. Be gentle when handling your pet's belly button area and prevent them from engaging in rough play or activities that may put pressure on the abdomen if a hernia is diagnosed.
  • Provide prompt veterinary care: Promptly address any signs of discomfort or abnormal swelling around the belly button area.

Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on managing an umbilical hernia in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs and medical history.

Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has an umbilical hernia or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$349

You pay only

$35

Umbilical hernia

You save

$314

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$349

You pay only

$35

Umbilical hernia

You save

$314

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$349

You pay only

$35

Umbilical hernia

You save

$314

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.