You’ve found the puppy of your dreams only to discover it has a strange lump on its belly. There could be all kinds of reasons why that lump is there. Your puppy’s tummy may be swollen due to an allergic reaction from flea bites or insect stings and infection has set in.
Your puppy may be suffering from boils due to sleeping on damp, dirty bedding. A lump may also turn out to be a tumor or fatty cyst, which is more common in older dogs, but not entirely impossible for a young pup.
More than likely, however, an unusual lump on a puppy’s belly will be due to an umbilical hernia. Your puppy’s abdomen is protected by a wall of muscle that keeps fatty tissue and organs in place.
A hernia is a tear in that wall of muscle, enabling fatty tissue to push its way out. Small hernias generally cause no health risk for puppies due to their minute size. Your vet can easily repair a small hernia after performing spay or neuter surgery.
Large hernias, however, can be dangerous, as they pose a risk of your pup’s organs passing through the tear and becoming trapped.
If your dog’s intestines slide out, they could easily get twisted and cut off blood flow to his stomach and other vital organs. Fortunately, hernias can be treated and the sooner, the better, to avoid complications with your pup’s health.
Is It Normal For Puppies To Have A Lump On Their Belly?
Any unusual lump on your puppy’s body should be examined by a vet. Like people, dogs are prone to getting hernias, but that doesn’t mean that it’s normal for a pup.
Some puppies are born with this condition while others may develop a hernia due to a traumatic injury like a car accident or fall. Approximately 90% of hernia cases in dogs are due to genetics and umbilical hernias are the most common.
An umbilical hernia will appear as a squishy, bubble-like lump or protrusion on your puppy’s belly around the area of his belly button.
Sometimes a small hernia will heal on its own, without intervention from a vet. After examining your pup, your vet can determine, first of all, if the lump is indeed a hernia and if so, whether it can be left alone to heal or should be treated with surgery.
If your pup needs hernia surgery, it’s best to have this done as soon as possible, ideally in conjunction with your dog’s spay or neuter surgery.
Left untreated, a hernia can become life-threatening to a dog, due to its continued growth and expansion. As the tear grows, there’s greater risk of your puppy’s intestines or other vital organs spilling out and getting trapped in a cavity outside the abdominal wall.
These displaced organs can impede your puppy’s blood circulation, obstruct his bowels or cause other complications to his health.
An untreated hernia can be painful for your pup and cause breathing problems, coughing, nausea, vomiting and body weakness due to loss of appetite.
How To Treat A Lump On A Puppy’s Belly!
The good news is that hernias can be successfully treated through surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of health complications later down the line.
In some instances, your vet may be able to simply push fatty tissues back in place before repairing small tears in the abdominal wall.
The surgical procedure becomes more complex if intestines or other organs have passed through the tear, but it can still be done. The key is to restore vital organs to their proper place before they become compromised or damaged.
Once your vet has repositioned fatty tissues and/or organs into their proper location, he’ll place a mesh over the tear in your pup’s abdominal wall and secure it in place with sutures to prevent further breakage.
The mesh will provide extra strength and stability to wall muscles to keep the tear from reopening in the future. Depending on the severity of your pup’s condition, your vet may use laparoscopic surgery or open surgery treatment.
The first step to restoring the health and wellness of your pup is diagnosing his condition, which can be done through a video call to your veterinarian.
This gives your vet a chance to visually inspect the lump on your puppy’s belly to determine if it’s a hernia. Sometimes a hernia cannot be discerned accurately solely by outward appearance.
Your vet may need to palpate your puppy’s tummy or take an x-ray to get an accurate diagnosis of his condition. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to sparing your pup pain and suffering from complicated hernia issues.
Do Puppy Umbilical Hernias Go Away On Their Own?
Although it is possible for a small hernia to heal on its own, that’s a decision best left to your vet. After examining your pup, your vet can guide you to making the best decision concerning its hernia treatment.
For small hernias, ¼ inch in diameter or smaller, there’s the possibility of a hernia closing on its own. Your vet may recommend holding off on surgery until your pup is 3-4 months old, to give the hernia a chance to heal alone.
Hernias larger than ¼ inch in size, and those that don’t heal on their own, will require surgical treatment. If your pup is experiencing pain or it appears that tissue or organs have slipped through the herniated opening, your pup will need surgery.
As hernia surgery requires anesthesia, your vet will order pre-anesthetic tests before scheduling this procedure to ensure your pup has no other health issues that could hinder his healing.
Hernias can’t really be prevented as they’re caused by accidental injury or genetics, but they can be treated so your puppy can live a normal, active life. If you discover an unusual mass, lump or swelling on your puppy’s belly, notify your vet without delay, even if your pup is not in pain.
Early diagnosis and treatment of an umbilical hernia is key to a successful recovery with no recurrence of hernia symptoms nor complications from your pup’s surgical procedure. If your pup wasn’t born with a hernia, spraying or neutering it will reduce its chances of developing one later on.
That funny lump on your puppy’s belly could be an umbilical hernia that needs to be treated. Hernias can pose a risk to your puppy’s health and happiness if not repaired promptly. Fortunately, most umbilical hernias can be easily treated through laparoscopic or open surgery, enabling your puppy to live a high quality of life.