Dog Hernia Abdominal Surgery

Hernia and Abdominal Surgeries are invasive and often costly but may be necessary to save your pet’s life in an emergency.  Sterling Shelter Clinic offers high-quality abdominal surgeries at an affordable price.  These surgeries are typically more cost-effective than managing chronic conditions with medications long term.

Sterling Shelter Clinic provides low-cost cystotomies, foreign body removals, perineal urethrostomies, and hernia repairs for cats, dogs, and other species.  Our experienced veterinarians can help you decide whether one of these procedures is the best option for you and your pet.

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Dog and Cat Hernias

Some animals are born with an umbilical hernia.  A hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall that allows abdominal fat to protrude.  This creates a soft, bubble-like swelling on your pet’s abdomen. Sometimes, you may even be able to feel the opening in the abdominal wall under your pet’s skin.

Usually, a small hernia is not painful and causes no problems for your pet.  However, larger hernias can be problematic.  In severe cases, intestine or other abdominal organs can become entrapped in the hernia, causing severe pain and tissue damage.  Because of this, it is recommended that hernias be corrected surgically while your pet is still young.

Most small umbilical hernias can be repaired at the same time as your pet’s spay or neuter surgery.  This means your pet will only need to undergo anesthesia once.  Larger hernias may need to be scheduled separately.  Your veterinarian will help you determine the best time to schedule this surgery for your pet.

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If your pet has been diagnosed with bladder stones – also called uroliths – your veterinarian may recommend a procedure called a cystotomy.  In this procedure, your veterinarian performs surgery to open your pet’s bladder and manually remove the stones.  The bladder is then flushed to remove any small sand-like stones or crystals.  In some cases, the urethra may be flushed as well.  At the end of the procedure, the bladder is sutured closed and tested for leaks.

Following a cystotomy procedure, your pet will go home on antibiotics and pain medication.  Your pet will also need to wear an e-collar or “cone” for several days to prevent licking of the incision.  A special diet to prevent the formation of new bladder stones may also be recommended.

It is normal to see some blood in your pet’s urine for a few days after the surgery.  Any other concerning signs, such as straining to urinate, should be reported to your veterinarian right away.  Most pets do very well after this procedure.  However, it is possible for your pet to develop bladder stones again, so it is recommended that you monitor your pet’s urination habits closely.

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Foreign Body


Sometimes pets eat things they shouldn’t!  A foreign body is a non-food item that becomes lodged in the digestive tract.  Items such as socks, toys, bones, or string can all become foreign bodies if ingested by your pet.  These items can get stuck in the stomach or intestines causing pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Foreign bodies are often too large to pass through the digestive tract on their own.  In these cases, surgery is recommended to remove the object.  This will also ensure that the object does not do any further damage to your pet’s digestive tract.

In a foreign body surgery, the veterinarian will open your pet’s stomach or intestine and carefully remove the foreign object.  The area is then sutured closed and checked for leaks.  Your pet’s entire digestive tract will also be carefully checked for damage caused by the object.

After a foreign body procedure, your pet may need to stay in the hospital overnight for fluids and monitoring.  Your pet will need antibiotics and pain medication for several days.  It is especially important to keep your pet quiet after the surgery so she or he can heal.  Your pet should not run or play for at least a week after surgery.  Hyper or energetic pets may need to be kept crated in the days following the surgery to ensure they stay quiet.

Unfortunately, most pets don’t learn their lesson after a foreign body surgery!  There is a very good chance your pet will try to eat similar items again.  Be sure to check your home carefully and move any tempting non-food items out of your pet’s reach.

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Perineal Urethrostomy (PU Surgery)

A perineal urethrostomy, or PU, is a complex procedure.   It is used to relieve chronic urinary blockages.  PU surgeries are most commonly performed in male cats that have a history of urinary obstruction, although they can be performed in other species too.  Because urinary blockages can be fatal, PU surgery is often a lifesaving procedure.

In a PU surgery, the veterinarian will create a new opening for your pet to urinate through, located just below the anus.  The urethra – the tube that carries urine out of your pet’s body – is redirected through this new opening.  This widens the end of the urethra and eliminates the natural narrow spots that can predispose your pet to urinary blockages.

Your pet may have some mild swelling after the surgery.  It is also normal to see some blood in the urine for a few days after the procedure.  Your veterinarian may recommend using a special paper litter while your pet heals.  This ensures that clay or clumping litters do not become stuck to the incision, which can lead to infection.

Aftercare for Abdominal Surgeries

Abdominal surgery can be rough on your pet.  It is very important for you to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for care at home to ensure your pet has the best possible outcome.

Please be sure to give your pet any antibiotics, painkillers, or other medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.  Even though your pet is feeling better, it is necessary to give the full course of medication.  You will also need to keep your pet’s e-collar or “cone” on at all times until your veterinarian confirms that it is okay to remove it.  The e-collar prevents your pet from licking the surgical incision, which can cause infection or damage the sutures.

Most importantly, be sure to return to Sterling Shelter Clinic for any rechecks and follow-up visits that your veterinarian recommends.  Sterling Shelter Clinic’s compassionate veterinarians will ensure that your pet receives the best possible care, without breaking your budget.

Request a quote form Please note: We are located in Central Massachusetts.

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