NOLA Pet Doctors: Potentially Deadly Perineal Hernia

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Perineal hernia is a condition when muscle flaps that hold together a dog’s hind side atrophy and collapse.

Dr. Rose Lemarie with Southest Veterinary Specialists explains what happens next: “They can lose their parineal support or their muscles to their rear end and that actually allows their abdominal contents to actually herniate out the back of their behind.”

X-rays of her patient Jeter show an extreme example.  “This is the mass that had worked its way all the way from the abdomen to the behind of the dog.”

Perineal hernias can be difficult to spot.  One sign might be if your pet has difficulty going to the bathroom.  Another sign might be something actually protruding out of your dog’s back side.  Dr. Lemarie says, “They usually present for straining to defecate.  If the bladder is entrapped, they can present for straining to urinate and then a lot of times they can actually see the swelling on the dog’s behind.”

Another dog named Buddy survived his surgery and is recovering well, but the condition is extremely dangerous and can even be deadly.  “It seems like any time a dog’s insides are moving around, that’s a dangerous situation,” says Dr. Lemarie.  “And if loops of bowel get back there or the bladder or the prostate and loses its blood supply, then it can actually get kinked-off and necrotic and die.  So that is severe.”

However, it’s almost entirely avoidable.  Perineal hernias almost exclusively occur in male dogs that are still in-tact.  “Neutering your pet with prevent perineal hernias and there’s lots of medical reasons to neuter your pet.  Most people think it’s just controlling pet population but it’s a whole lot more than pet population.  There’s lots of health reasons and this is a big one for male dogs.”

Dogs like little old Buddy, who is lucky to be alive!