Perineal Hernia Repair Surgery

Learning that your pet needs surgery can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you are unsure of what the procedure entails. At Anicira, we work with pet parents to ensure you are well-informed before your pet’s surgery. Our veterinary team provides compassionate care before, during, and after surgery to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable.

What is a Perineal Hernia?

Pelvic floor muscles keep your pet’s organs in place and make it possible for your pet to control their bladder and bowels. A perineal hernia occurs when these muscles weaken, allowing the pelvic and abdominal organs to protrude or bulge in the region around the anus.

It is not fully understood why this condition occurs. However, 93% of perineal hernias occur in intact male dogs; therefore, male hormones are believed to play a role.

Pre-Surgical Instructions

Admission Time – Bring your pet to Anicira at 7 am.
Pre-surgical exam – Your pet must be in good health and show no signs of sickness such as coughing, sneezing, or diarrhea.
Medical records – Please bring proof of rabies vaccination if you have not already provided this. If your cat or dog has not been previously vaccinated or lacks proof of vaccination, we will administer a rabies vaccine on the day of surgery. If you have not already sent your medical records, please bring all relevant medical records.

Feeding Instructions
Adult Dogs over 1 year Withhold food for all adult dogs after midnight the evening before surgery. Please ensure water is available at all times.
Adult Cats under 1 year Adult cats can have food without restriction of amount up until 6am the morning of surgery. Please ensure water is available at all times.
Puppies and Kittens under 1 year Feed a small meal (¼ of their typical breakfast) to all puppies and kittens on the morning of surgery. Please ensure water is available at all times.

Perineal Hernia Repair Surgery

Before surgery, our veterinary team will perform a thorough pre-surgical examination to ensure that your pet is a good candidate for anesthesia. It is strongly recommended that your pet receives pre-anesthetic blood work to ensure that no health concerns go undetected.

Your pet will be under general anesthesia. The surgical team will prepare the surgical site by shaving and then cleaning the area to remove bacteria and decrease the risk of potential infection.

The veterinarian will then repair the hernia by returning displaced organs back to their normal position and closing the defect in the weakened pelvic floor muscles. Your pet will be neutered at the time of the surgery if they are not already neutered.

Caring for Your Pet Perineal Hernia Repair Surgery

Anesthesia may take 24 to 48 hours to wear off.

  • Your pet may be groggy or whiny during this time.
  • Keep your pet confined in a secure, quiet, and comfortable space. We recommend a crate or a small room.
  • Isolate them from other pets and children while recovering.

Make sure your pet wears their Elizabethan Collar (E-Collar / Cone)

  • Your pet’s surgical site will take 10 to 14 days to heal. During this period, they should wear an e-collar at all times.
  • Allowing your pet to lick their incision can lead to infection or dehiscence (opening of the incision).

Offer food & water after surgery

  • When your pet returns home, offer them food and water
  • Anesthesia may cause nausea, so your pet may not be interested in food
  • If vomiting occurs, wait 12 hours before offering more food.
  • Resume regular feeding the day after surgery. Your pet’s appetite should be back to normal within 24 hours.
  • If your pet refuses to eat, you may try offering a bland diet such as white rice and lean protein (for example, boiled chicken breast) while they regain a normal appetite.
  • Please do not feed your pet junk food, table scraps, or milk.

Give all medications as directed

  • Your pet will be sent home with oral pain medication. Please follow the instructions on the label.
  • If possible, please give the pain medication with food. If your pet has no appetite, please ensure they still take the pain medication.
  • OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil are toxic to pets. Please do not give these to your pet.

Check surgical incision daily for the first week

  • Your pet’s surgical site will be healing for 10-14 days.
  • What you see on the day of surgery is what we consider normal
  • Monitor for increased redness, swelling, discharge or pulling apart of the incision.

Other shaved areas

  • Your pet may have shaved areas on one or more legs from where an IV catheter was placed, as well as under the tail for monitoring equipment during anesthesia.
  • These areas may be irritated or bruised. If your pet is excessively licking, please use a taste deterrent spray or e-collar to prevent self-trauma.
  • If your pet went home with a brightly colored wrap on their leg, this should be removed 30 minutes after returning home.

Limit your pet’s activity and keep them clean, dry, and warm for 10 days after surgery.

  • Ensure your pet is supervised around all potential hazards (including stairs)
  • Pets should be kept indoors so they can stay clean, dry, and warm.
  • Dogs should be walked outside on a leash to urinate and defecate. No off leash activity during the entire recovery period.
  • No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity.
  • Do not bathe your pet or have it groomed during the recovery period.
  • If your pet has sutures, schedule an appointment for removal in 10-14 days.
  • Your pet may need to be sedated for the suture removal procedure so please plan accordingly.

Cool compresses applied to the surgical site may be recommended to help decrease swelling and perineal irritation during the first 72 hours after surgery.

  • If your pet tolerates this, apply a cool compressed (ice pack wrapped in a thin dish towel) to the site for 10-15 minutes. This can be repeated 2-3 times a day.

Monitor stool

  • Stool should be a normal consistency, not too firm and not too loose
  • Dietary modification with a high-fiber diet and/or stool softeners are sometimes used to help with reducing the pain and straining associated with defecation
  • This also helps to reduce the potential for breakdown of the repaired tissue.
  • Please contact Anicira if your pet is having difficulty defecating or if the stools are not of a “normal” consistency.

What is the prognosis after perineal hernia repair surgery?

The prognosis is good for the majority of cases; however, in 20-35% of the cases, recurrence of the hernia may occur within a year. Prevention of overactivity and self-trauma may help lower this recurrence rate

Rare, but serious surgical complications

Complications from perineal hernia repairs are rare. If your pet experiences these issues after surgery, please contact Anicira.

  • Redness, swelling, or discharge at the surgical site which could be signs of infection
  • Dehiscence – both sides of the surgical site should be touching. Watch for any gapping.
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Damage to the sciatic nerve
  • Abscessation or fistula formation

Please contact Anicira, your primary care veterinarian, or an emergency clinic if any of the following occur:

  • Pale gums
  • Severe pain, depression or weakness
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Labored breathing
  • Decreased appetite for more than 24 hours
  • Lethargy lasting more than 24 hours