"Inguinal hernias in the Portuguese podengo dog breed

"Inguinal hernias in the Portuguese podengo dog breed

Health & Safety

The Portuguese podengo is a small dog breed from the Kennel Club’s hound group, and which is not a particularly common sight in the UK.

They are good all-rounders that make for excellent family pets, and they also make for great watchdogs that will soon bark to alert their owners if someone approaches their house or territory. These small, fun-loving dogs are also very intelligent and quick to learn, as well as actively enjoying training. They are inquisitive, busy little dogs that like to have something to do, and that also benefits from a coat that doesn’t need much grooming and that doesn’t tend to shed much hair around the home either.

However, Portuguese podengos can be prone to wandering off and escaping from their garden if something interesting is going on nearby, and they tend to be fairly vocal dogs which means that their barking can become a problem. Finding out all of the core traits of any dog breed you are considering buying and balancing up the pros and cons is really important when deciding what dog breed to buy, and this is as true of the Portuguese podengo as it is of any other dog type.

When you’re learning about the Portuguese podengo and the breed’s main traits, it is also important to check out the general health of the breed, its average lifespan, and if it is prone to any hereditary health issues.

One health issue that presents in dogs of the Portuguese podengo dog breed more than most others is inguinal hernias, and there is thought to be a hereditary predisposition for this within certain Portuguese podengo breed lines.

In this article we will look at inguinal hernias in the Portuguese podengo dog breed in more detail, examining the condition’s causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Read on to learn more.

What is an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias develop in the dog’s inguinal canal, which is a small opening in the wall of the muscles in the dog’s groin. The inguinal canal exists in order to allow for the passage of the spermatic cord and blood vessels to the testicles in males, and for female dogs, for blood vessels and reproductive processes pass through the inguinal canal in the same way.

However, the inguinal canal itself should be small and neat within dogs with a normal anatomy, and if the inguinal canal becomes wider than it should, this can cause the contents of the dog’s abdomen to push or bulge through the opening itself, or to pass out through the opening entirely.

This is what we call an inguinal hernia.

What sort of Portuguese podengos are at risk of inguinal hernias?

Inguinal hernias in dogs can be acquired later in life, or present from birth as a hereditary health defect. In dog breeds that have an elevated propensity to developing inguinal hernias like the Portuguese podengo, the latter is the case.

Why the Portuguese podengo has elevated risk factors for inguinal hernias is something that we don’t know for sure, although it is likely that a congenital weakness of the inguinal canal itself causes the development of hereditary inguinal hernias, making dogs with relatives who have themselves had an inguinal hernia more likely to suffer from the condition themselves.

Inguinal hernias tend to present in younger dogs of the Portuguese podengo breed, and can affect both males and females.

The symptoms of an inguinal hernia in the Portuguese podengo

Identifying the symptoms of an inguinal hernia in the Portuguese podengo isn’t always straightforward, because this is an internal health condition that can present with a range of symptoms that can be highly varied in both their type and severity, and that can be hard to attribute to their correct root cause.

However, if you know what to look for, you may be able to identify the symptoms of an inguinal hernia in your own dog at home early on. Some of the warning signs to look out for include:

  • A noticeable swelling on the side of the dog’s groin, which may affect just one side of both. This is caused by the internal protrusion of the abdomen into the inguinal canal.
  • The swelling (if present) may appear to become larger and worsen with exercise, standing for too long, or even straining to go to the toilet.
  • Some dogs may display marked signs of pain in the abdominal region or groin too, although this is not always the case.
  • Blood may be present in the urine in some cases too, and many dogs will need to urinate more often than normal and may have problems passing water.
  • The pain and discomfort that can accompany an inguinal hernia may also make your dog unhappy, reluctant to exercise, and reluctant to eat.

Can inguinal hernias be treated or corrected?

Generally, inguinal hernias in the Portuguese podengo are corrected with a surgical procedure, and this is usually very effective.

Your vet will need to operate on your dog and remove any scarred muscle tissue that may prevent healing, restore the protruding organs back to their correct cavity, and suture the opening of the inguinal canal to partially close it and reduce its size.

Left untreated, an inguinal hernia can prove fatal, as they can strangulate the internal organs as well as increasing the risk of infections and necrotisation of the abdominal tissue. If you suspect that your own dog has an inguinal hernia, prompt diagnosis and if appropriate, surgery, will give your dog the best possible chances of making a full recovery.

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