Yeah, today we’re talking about fun stuff. Perineal hernias. What? That’s fun. Not. But first, I am not a veterinarian and have no medical training. I just happened to adopt a dog for my mother which had a perineal hernia. So we’re going to walk through what’s happened so far, as well as what looks like will happen in the future.
First a word about the perineal hernia, from Dog Heirs:
A perineal hernia is a condition that occurs in both dogs and cats in which there is an abnormal displacement of pelvic and/or abdominal organs (small intestine, rectum, prostate, bladder, or fat) into the region around the anus called the perineum. Although the cause for the disorder is still in question, 93% of all cases are found in certain breeds and dogs that have not been neutered.
So. First order of business, have your toy male dog neutered. Second, let’s look at Gadget’s story so far. My hope is that this will help someone else who is either trying to decide whether and when to neuter, as well as anyone who might be looking at perineal hernia surgery for their toy male dog.
Gadget is a one to two year old male Brussels Griffon, about nine pounds. He was found on the side of a highway in Atlanta, GA, about three months ago. He seemed healthy, was a sweet boy, and after a month of not being able to locate the original owner, Gadget went home with me, and ultimately home with my mom, who had been looking for a small male dog for about a year. Gadget seemed like a perfect fit.
Because we didn’t go through a rescue, and because he wasn’t vetted in advance, we had no idea what we were getting into. This was by no means the fault of anyone involved. We took risks, is all. It turned out that Gadget had had a flea infestation at some point, and his tail and tail bone were broken. In addition, he was constipated and his anal glands were overly full and infected. My mom’s vet expressed the glands, cleaned him out using enemas (he was compacted up into his chest, poor dear), and gave him antibiotics and pain pills, telling her to let him rest and give him stool softeners with his food.
At the end of this diagnosis and treatment, the vet said that Gadget had a perineal hernia. We googled like mad and found that this is fairly common in toy males who haven’t been neutered. We also figure that the strain of the constipation caused him to push harder, perhaps causing the hernia. Whatever caused it, it’s the surgery that became the issue.
My mom took Gadget to three different veterinarians about the surgery. The first vet said that the surgery would have to be done by a specialist and would cost 1,200.00 dollars or more. Mom is retired. This wasn’t an option. The second vet quoted half that amount, which was still too much, but she was willing to have it done for Gadget’s sake. He was in a lot of pain. The third vet did the surgery for about three hundred dollars. No, it wasn’t a hack job. It was a vet my mom’s friends use and trust, and he does this type of surgery pretty regularly.
So what I’m saying is, don’t talk to one vet and be done. Get a second opinion. And talk to people you know and trust. Press in.
Gadget’s regimen, now that he’s had the surgery, will probably always be some variety of the following, three times a day:
- Soft (canned) food, about a third of a cup
- Pumpkin, 1 teaspoon
- Olive oil, 1 teaspoon
- Metamucil, 1 teaspoon
- Stool softener, half a teaspoon
These are all mixed to mush and he scarfs it down. Why this mix? Well, we don’t ever want his stools to be so firm that he has to strain to push them out. The perineal hernia is repaired, but it could recur if we’re not careful. And Gadget needs to eat three times a day to keep the food moving through his little body, keep him cleaned out and regular.
As things stand, Gadget is healing well. The first week was killer for my mom. He’s in pain, and pooping was so difficult the first week. Surgery and stitches make it painful to go. And scary. So there was poop around the house, trailing out of his rear. But after the first week, things have improved. He has a long way to go, and don’t you dare touch his rear end, but he’s on the mend. If your dog has had the perineal hernia repair and it’s only been a couple of days and you’re at your wit’s end, don’t despair. Give it time. Your dog will heal.
So! My biggest frustration? Little Gadget will never really be able to eat most Jones Natural Chews again. He’s on a soft food and treat regimen. Probably the safest treat for him from Jones will be the Lamb Lung Puffs. They melt in the mouth. Hmm. I think I’ll have to head to Atwoods and pick some up. Or Tractor Supply. He’ll also be able to gnaw on the bones and hooves, since they’re not ingestible.
I hope that this has been helpful. We’re still healing. Please, feel free to offer advice if you’ve been through this, or ask questions if you have them. We’re a work in progress.
Until I write again …