I had a colt with an inguinal hernia at/shortly after birth. The 'hole' in his abdomen was quite large - I could put three fingers in it easily. There was a loop of intestine clearly visible in the pocket of skin hanging where his scrotum should be. I was instructed to gently push the hernia back into the abdomen twice a day. After three weeks it did not come down again and the 'hole' was almost gone.
The dam of this colt has had 9 other foals, none with this problem.
Thanks for the response. For foals born with umbilical hernias, I have seen them fix themselves (with some simple therapy like Kerole mentions)
For mature stallions: I just realized that I know of several stallions that developed inguinal hernias during work which all were sired by a stallion that also lost a testicle to inguinal hernia. The stallions that had inguinal hernias which developed during dressage work (I guess? as they were dressage horses) had long, difficult recoveries (multiple colics, complete castrations, other difficulties and did not all survive).
I supposed there is probably a physical component to why some of the hernias occur - conformation or something.
I wonder if there is any way to prevent them from occurring in mature stallions or other precautionary steps.
Last edited by kdavies; Mar. 5, 2013 at 10:38 AM.
Reason: edited as the first sentence should be umbilical hernias
We almost lost a 4 year old after castration due to an inguinal hernia. Herniated multiple feet of intestine several hours after he was on his feet. Simply got dog lucky that the vet was still on the property floating teeth. Ended up having two procedures to lavage abdomen and close the defect. The surgeon said he had some of the largest/most lax inguinal rings she'd ever seen and she said almost certainly had he not been gelded he would have become a hernia case down the road.
"I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"
I can't really speak to the genetic component of inguinal hernias, but when you go to have these colts gelded please make sure you remind your vet that your colt had these. It is important that they are carefully palpated to make sure that they have closed. The risk of your horse eventrating through them is quite large if they haven't closed. If they haven't closed you will need to have them surgically closed at the time of castration. Also if you sell your colt prior to castration please make sure the new owner is aware of this.
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I might be incorrect but my understanding is that an umbilical hernia where the intestine passes through the body wall can sometimes be corrected without surgical interventional in young foals (colts or fillies). Manual manipulation or banding the excess skin are 2 solutions that I have heard of beyond surgical repair.
Inguinal hernia's are a whole different story whether it is for a young colt or mature stallion and are a strictly surgical correction. Most cases that I have heard of have been the result of over exertion on extremely hot days when the testicles drop lower to regulate temperature - regardless of discipline/training program.
The Vet who diagnosed Peron with an inguinal hernia told us the condition is seen most often in dressage stallions and Tennessee Walking Horse stallions, primarily because of the way these stallions are expected to use their hind ends.
As for a genetic component - Rubinstein I suffered an inguinal hernia (and then foundered shortly after the surgery, resulting in his death). His son, Rohdiamant, also suffered an inguinal hernia. Don Schufro had an inguinal hernia, and his son Diamond Hit also had one. So were they predisposed by genetics, or by the type of work?
Thanks Tasker and DownYonder for your responses. That was along the line of what I was thinking.
Very good thought on the hard work on hot days which causes the testicles to drop lower - something to keep in mind.
The stallions that I knew that had problems with inguinal hernia were all sired by Diamond Hit.
It's probably a combination between genetic predisposition with having a more lax inguinal ring and the usage of the hind end in dressage work.
I had a stallion who died of an inguinal hernia. I was told it can be genetically passed down since the cause is large 'rings' and that is a trait no different than movement or color that is capable of being carried on.
We had a TB 2- year old with one that was corrected surgically-- it showed up about 6 months post castration. The vet who castrated him said at the time that his testicles were unusually large for his age/ size-- much bigger than the other colt done the same day. He was by Domestic Dispute out of a Northern Baby mare.