Umbilical hernia? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-01-2010, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Umbilical hernia?

What can you guys tell me about umbilical hernias? The foal that we might be getting when he is weaned has recently developed one about the size of my fist. I have touched it and pushed it back in and it doesn't seem to hurt him. I have heard stories about these types of things fixing on their own. How common is that? Also, what would be the best age to do the surgery if he needs it? As soon as possible or can it wait for a little while? I am not trying to put it off, it's just that he isn't technically our foal yet and we cannot be certain if we will get him.

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post #2 of 10 Old 08-02-2010, 10:44 AM
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They aren't rare and they are fixable. One that is as large as your fist should definitely be looked at by a vet. I know that small ones are often fixed at the same time that gelding is done and it's not a big deal. For something that large, the vet might not want to wait. The current owners should have this evaluated quickly.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-02-2010, 08:14 PM
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I bought a yearling filly that had an umbilical hernia. The vet always told me that I'd want to get it fixed eventually, but that there wasn't any hurry. We always just kept an eye on her for any unusual behavior. Had it fixed when she was a 3 year old. Not a big deal, not even really expensive. She went on to have a very good life and even had several babies. So I'd keep tabs on it...note what it looks like and watch it for change and or growth. If I were you I'd go ahead and have it fixed within a year or so. But its always best to get the opinion of a vet with any kind of medical issue.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-02-2010, 08:18 PM
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I had a mare once that had a very small one. (About two or three fingers) The vet said she was fine to be ridden and worked, just to keep an eye on it and if it changed at all to have him out, and they also said to push it in a couple times a day? anyways- She ended up being a great mare that we sold to a family where she still lives fat and happy. :)

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post #5 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 09:52 AM
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My filly I just brought home has a hernia. She will be having surgery soon for her hernia.

It's a fair easy surgery. They give the horse a sedative and once he/she goes down, they tie up all 4 legs so their out of the way. They do a cut near the heria to get rid of some old tissue and I'm told to promote healing and then they suture the hernia closed. Within two hours the foal is up and walking again. There is no at home care or stitches to remove. You just watch for any inflamation.

My filly Lyric had a hernia that could have closed on its own (no protrusion, just the opening in the abdomin) but I went ahead and had the surgery done. She came through it with flying colors and you can't tell she ever had it.

The surgery was fairly cheap all things considered. Appx $100-120.

Ps. How's it going with your foal? Are you still getting him?

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post #6 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 09:57 AM
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The bad thing about 'keeping an eye on it' is the reason you need to. A piece of the intestine can drop into the protrusion and strangulate.

The last we had, we had clamped. Knocked the colt out, rolled him over and clamped it. Method similar to banding bull calves.

Worked very nicely.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 10:00 AM
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the only thing to worry about with a hernia is if the peritinum is open and its actually guts you are feeling and pushing back into the belly. If its guts, you always have to worry about some getting pushed into the hernia and getting closed off or pinched and the guts dying. If its big enough to push your fist into, I don't imagine it will heal on its one, those that usually heal on their own don't open into the belly, just the outside layers.
The surgery is not a big deal, and easy on the horse. I would suggest getting it fixed as soon as possible, one that big can get bigger or like I said, pinch of guts and then you have a huge problem.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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I still don't know if we're getting him. Really, that's my Dad's decision and I haven't heard him say anything. In a way, I really want him because he is slicking off just as black as he can be and in another way I really don't because we don't need another stinking horse LOL. At this point, I am not even sure how old he is to know when he would be weaning age. We have to go get a load of hay this morning so I will visit with Dad and try to get a final answer.

I'm one of those people that make all these big, long term plans. They normally don't work out but it's fun to imagine anyway. I got to thinking the other day (after my brother put down his mare that was intended to be a horse for my youngest niece) that if Rafe grows up to be too slow/mellow/lazy for my taste, I might just turn him into a kid horse and give him to my niece. They are the same age so she won't be riding for several more years anyway. Then I would need another horse and I always wanted a black one. BUT, that all depends on Rafe's temperment under saddle.

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 04:15 PM
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Mls is right, strangulation is a very real concern especially with one as large as you're describing. He will also need to be castrated as hernias are congenital (passed on to offspring.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-21-2010, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, yeah, if we do end up getting him, the first thing that will happen is brain surgery. Even if the horse market wasn't complete crap, there still isn't much demand for a Perchx out of a grade paint mare. I do want to mention though that the actual opening itself isn't as big as my fist, it is maybe the size of a golf ball but the little bulge is about the size of a tennis ball maybe? Either way, the owner is aware of it and has been told the risks. If and when we decide to take him, then I'll have it taken care of.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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