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Ask Dr Emily Weaver Your Own Question
Dr Emily Weaver
Dr Emily Weaver, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 34
Experience:  Equine Veterinarian with over 11 years experience in ambulatory practice
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2 month old colt with umbilical hernia

Customer Question

2 month old colt with umbilical hernia
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 10 months ago.

Hello Traci, this is Dr Weaver, I am an experienced equine vet and I hope I can help you figure out what to do with your colt. Can you palpate the hernia and let me know about how big it is? I usually measure with my fingers, and see how many fingers can fit into it. Is the hernia reduceable? Can you push the hernia up into his body so it lays flat, or is there something sticking out through the hernia that you cannot push in?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
its 2 fingers in width when I push it in
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 10 months ago.

Glad to hear it is pretty small! Usually a hernia that small has a good chance of closing up on it's own with a little help from you. When you are around him, push it flat as often as you can. That will help stimulate the tissue there to close on it's own.

You may also want to try some type of belly band. You may need to get your vet out there to wrap his whole abdomen with elastikon (a sticky vetwrap) to hold it flat, or look into some type of commercial band for foals (they make them for horses/foals recovering from colic surgery) You can change the wrap every few days, for a week or two to see if that will encourage it to close, but I have had success using elastikon before. I am not sure what part of the country you are in, but if it is very hot out right now, you should wait to band him until the weather cools off so he doesn't overheat.

At two months old it is fine to watch it and palpate/reduce it frequently for 2 more months and then try the banding if it hasn't closed up on it's own at that time. If it gets bigger than two fingers, or doesn't close up on it's own after 4-5 mos, then he may need surgery to close it properly, hopefully it doesn't come to that!

I hope that helps, and let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.


Dr Emily

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
you can see it in this pic too. yes it easily pushes in. someine wanted me to band it and let it fall off after tissue dies. no way not option.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
im in wa state high 98 degrees.
Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 10 months ago.

I am just now seeing your picture! It certainly does look like there is a good bit hanging down! It looks maybe slightly larger than 2 fingers, but it's hard for me to tell without looking at it myself. I would try the suggestions above first before resorting to surgery, maybe try and get a wrap on him sooner than later, the weather should be cool enough where you are overnight at least. When I used the term banding, I meant a belly band, do not put a rubber band around it, you could risk making it worse or him getting peritonitis!

Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 10 months ago.

this is a product that you could try

or make your own wrap with elastikon

You have to wrap pretty snug with the elastikon, but not as tight as you can get it, just has to hold the hernia flat. The elastikon wrap you would leave on a few days, it sticks to there skin and is hard to get on and off.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
well the breeder wanted to band the skin I said no way. only 2 fingers fit in the hole in muscle wall cavity. but yes the pooch hangs bigger. it seems to be growing as he does. Im hesitent to rush to surgery.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
it is not sore and easy push in he doesnt mind so I did start doin that 2 days ago. I do see some belly bands for foals online I could get started.
Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 10 months ago.

I think you are fine to wait a little on surgery and try reducing it frequently and a belly band or wrap. If it works it will be cheaper than surgery and no risk of anesthesia. I would think if no resolution within 6 weeks of belly banding him he may need surgery.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
thank you