A hernia is defined as a gap or weakness within a muscle mass that lets muscle, intestines or tissue pass through the space causing pain. Hernias are common in humans, as well as in dogs. Puppies can form two types of hernias, an inguinal hernia or an umbilical hernia. The umbilical hernia occurs around the area of the belly where the umbilical cord attached the puppy and its mother.
Umbilical hernias in puppies are typically caused by congenital inheritance, meaning at least one of the parents had the condition. However, some can be caused by trauma or abnormal pressure during birth.
Puppies with an umbilical hernia suffer from vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and, if left untreated, pain.
According to Peteducation.com, if left untreated, an umbilical hernia can cause death of muscle tissue, organs and, eventually, of the puppy.
The only treatment for an umbilical hernia is surgery, according to Peteducation.com. During the surgery, doctors work to replace the displaced tissue, muscles and organs back into their natural positions and to stitch up the openings that initially caused the problem(s). Surgery isn't preformed on puppies until they're old enough to handle the anesthesia.
Peteducation.com warns that due to the congenital nature of umbilical hernias in puppies, puppies that have suffered from this condition and any adult dog that has produced a puppy with an umbilical hernia shouldn't be used for breeding as the condition is passed down.