Disorder - Diaphragmatic herniaOrgan Systems Involved
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia
Pleuroperitoneal diaphragmatic hernia
A defect in the diaphragm that ruptures and allows abdominal contents such as stomach, spleen, bowels or liver to protrude into the chest.
Due to the nature of this disorder, clinical signs are variable and intermittent.
Therefore diagnosis may not be made until the animal's middle or later years. More commonly, however, cases are diagnosed in the first four years of life. Symptoms also depend on the severity of the herniation, i.e. the type and number of abdominal organs that protrude into the chest cavity, and whether they become obstructed, and the degree to which they exert pressure on the lungs, heart and major blood vessels. The most common gastrointestinal signs are vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss and inability to gain weight. In addition there may be signs of abdominal pain, particularly after meals. Affected dogs may also show signs of coughing, wheezing and difficulty with breathing, and when a stethoscope is used, their heart sounds are muffled. Sometimes the animal can breathe easily only when it is in a standing position. The dog may also have symptoms of depression, respiratory distress or may be less able to exercise. Quite often the dog will show no symptoms and the hernia is only discovered by chance during a routine examination, or in an ultrasound or other procedure carried out for unrelated problems. It may only be discovered during a postmortem examination. In addition, physical trauma such as being hit by a car can make abdominal contents pass through a pre-existing defect in the diaphragmatic wall.
Dogs at Risk
Males more frequently affected than females.
Congenital cardiac defects
Ventricular septal defects
Cranial abdominal hernia
Can be related to the absence of the left pleuroperitoneal membrane
Further Reference Material [OMIA Number]