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Perineal Hernia

By: Dr. David Diamond

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When medical management is the sole course of treatment, your veterinarian should be informed if the animal has any return of straining to defecate, starts vomiting, or begins straining to urinate. The treatments may need to be adjusted to keep the dog from needing to strain, or surgery may be indicated.

If surgical correction is done, some potential complications can occur. It is common for the animal to strain to defecate for several days after surgery, but this should not persist and definitely should not get worse or cause swelling again. Most animals are sent home with instructions to continue use of the stool softeners and/or special diet while the repair heals.

As with any incision, the incision can become infected or break open. The incision should be monitored daily for signs of swelling, redness, or discharge. Your veterinarian should be notified if these occur.

After repair of the hernia, the muscles that are used to close the defect in the pelvic diaphragm may be so weakened that they do not heal properly, leading to recurrence of the hernia. It is also possible that herniation occurs on the opposite side after repair is done on one side. If either of these occurs, the animal will show similar symptoms as before surgery and may need surgery again.

Another complication after surgical repair is fecal incontinence. The nerves that control the anal sphincter muscle can become injured during the surgery and may result in inability of the anus to close completely. This complication is usually only temporary.

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