Umbilical Hernias in Foals

The most common hernia is an umbilical hernia. It is estimated that 0.5-2.0 percent of foals will be born with an umbilical hernia. (Courtesy photo)

By Dr. Molly Bellefeuille

Hernia refers to a protrusion of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening. Typically the tissue is abdominal contents protruding through the abdominal wall, the diaphragm, or the inguinal canal. Hernias are classified by the tissue that is herniated (intestinal herniation), the epidemiology of the hernia (congenital or acquired) and finally by the tissue in which there is a defect or opening (inguinal, umbilical).

Upon examination veterinarians further classify hernias as reducible (the protruding hernia contents are freely movable and can readily be manipulated back into the abdominal cavity), incarcerated (the contents cannot be reduced, typically a result of adhesion) or strangulated (when the incarcerated tissue loses its blood supply and the tissue becomes dead).

The most common hernia is an umbilical hernia. It is estimated that 0.5-2.0 percent of foals will be born with an umbilical hernia. To read more pick up the March 2016 issue of NTFR.