My filly has a hernia right at her embilical cord. My vet noticed it on his 1st exam of the filly on her birth-day. She's nearly 3 mos. old now. I don't feel any changes in it since her birth. Shouldn't it close up on it's own? How long does this take? This is my first foal, so, I'm a rookie when it comes to this. Thanks for any advice! Laura.
It may close up on its own, but it may not. How big is it? If it's smaller than two fingers on diameter, you can have you vet band it to remove the excess skin, but it won't fix the actual hole in the abdominal wall. Otherwise it will require surgery. They are fairly common in one maternal line of my broodmares so I've seen all sorts of them. We usually give them until they are yearlings to try and close on their own.
Thanks for your reply. The hernia "hole" feels about 1 finger wide and 2-1/2 fingers long. I check it periodically. But, my vet had said to leave it alone and it should close on it's own. I just didn't have any idea how long it might take. I should have asked.. doh!
Do you know what's involved in the surgery? I sure hope it doesn't turn out to be necessary. This is my mare's first foal.. so, I have no idea if it is common for her line. I bought her as a weanling though.. and she didn't have one.
It's pretty spendy I think. Thankfully we have been able to band all the hernias at our house. It sounds like hers is small enough if it doesn't close on it's own by the time she's a yearling you should probably be able to band it.
Hi Laura, Umbilical hernias are fairly common in foals. The size of the hernia will dictate to some extent the cost of repair. If it is a small hernia that you can reduce(poke up there on your own..and it stays for a period of time), you may want to reduce it daily...it is possible for the abdominal cavity to close on it's own with small, reducable hernias. In the same respect, you don't want to leave a hernia open if it's too large, if your foal exhibits ANY sign of discomfort, or if it reoccurs even after being manually reduced. If surgery is done, it preferably should be done in the hospital setting vs. at home. Reason being, is you want to minimize infection or contamination. For surgery, they undergo general anesthesia. The surgeon/vet will open the abdominal cavity enough to display the entire hernia area. The contents of the hernia are reduced back into the abdomen, and then the abdominal cavity is sutured, and then the skin is sutured. There may or may not be external sutures (depending on who does the surgery and his/her technique). Most foals who have hernia repairs stay at the hospital 1-2 days so they can check the area and ensure that there are few post-surgical complications. When the horse comes home, it will have to stay in a stall for about 2+ weeks. The suture area has to be checked daily and kept clean. Most hernia repairs go well, and later in life it is almost impossible to even tell it had ever been done! Since your filly is already 3 months old, the hernia probably won't go away on it's own...but, don't let it bother you too much. They are easily fixed. Costs can vary depending on where you live, the size of the hernia, and who does it. It can range anywhere from $400 - 1200+. Most facilities can provide you with a general quote ahead of time.
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