A HERNIA is a protrusion of an organ or part of an organ through a defect in the wall of the anatomical cavity within which it normally lies. The majority of hernias in small animals involve defects in the abdominal wall, diaphragm or perineum. These may be either congenital or acquired and can result in appreciable morbidity and even mortality. Hernial defects may occur at normal 'openings', such as the inguinal ring or the oesophageal hiatus of the diaphragm, they may be iatrogenic, or they may be abnormal in nature (eg, following trauma). This article describes how hernias are classified and outlines the principles of hernia repair (herniorrhaphy). It discusses different types of hernia and, in each case, provides guidelines on diagnosis and management of the defect.
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