Hernia is the displacement and protrusion of an organ through the wall of the cavity containing it. Inguinal (of groin) hernia is a medical condition in which the inguinal canal stretches open and the intestines pass through the canal. This can cause the intestine to become trapped outside of the abdomen, which can impair the blood flow to that section of bowel and cause it to die. Inguinal canal or inguinal ring is a small opening in the groin which allows blood vessels and spermatic cords to pass through it to the testicles in males. Female dogs also have this opening, but only a cord of fat called the vaginal process protrudes.
Inguinal hernia is mostly a congenital disorder but it can also be acquired secondary to factors such as trauma, obesity and pregnancy.
Inguinal hernias may be classified as direct or indirect. A direct inguinal hernia occurs when the abdominal organs pass through the inguinal ring adjacent to the normal evagination of the vaginal process, sometimes resulting in strangulation of intestinal loops.
In an indirect inguinal hernia, the abdominal viscera enter the cavity of the vaginal process and, in males, can proceed into the scrotum.
Dog's breeds that may be predisposed to inguinal hernias include the Basenji, basset hound, Cairn terrier, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Chihuahua, cocker spaniel, dachshund, Maltese, Pekinese, poodle, Pomeranian, and the West Highland white terrier.
Common symptoms related to both direct and indirect inguinal hernias include
Swelling in the groin area, which may become painful and warm to the touch
Frequent attempts to urinate
Lack of appetite