This small, 5 month-old Yorkshire Terrier was born with an umbilical hernia. It is not an uncommon finding in dogs, and is usually repaired at the time of spay or neuter. Umbilical hernias occur when there is an opening in the abdominal wall at the site of the umbilical cord that allows the abdominal contents to slip out. Most hernias do not cause a problem in the 5-6 months leading up to the surgery, but repair is always recommended as complications can arise if they are not surgically corrected.
This patient’s owner noticed that her hernia had changed from a normal pink color, to a darker purple/red color overnight. This was cause for immediate concern as it signals that some portion of abdominal contents had slipped through the hernia and become “strangled”, or cut-off from blood supply. This is a life-threatening situation that requires emergency surgery.
This patient was taken to surgery immediately. It was discovered that a portion of the omentum (a diffuse fatty layer within the abdominal cavity) had wrapped around itself, been deprived of blood, and died. The dark piece of tissue pictured in the photograph was removed and the hernia was repaired. Thanks to her owner’s diligent observations and Dr. Pinello’s surgical skill this little Yorkie is at home making a full recovery!