What is a perineal hernia in dogs?

A perineal hernia, also referred to as a perineal rupture, is when a weakness in the pelvic diaphragm muscles causes fat and tissue to bulge through it into the area around the anus, causing pain and discomfort.

It mainly affects middle aged or older male dogs, although young and female dogs can also be affected. It’s thought to be linked to male hormone levels, or conditions that result in increased straining and abdominal pressure.

What are the symptoms of a perineal hernia?

Commons signs of a perineal hernia in dogs include:

  • Perineal swelling and/or bruising
  • Pain or discomfort around the area
  • Pain when passing faeces
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • General symptoms of illness

We may perform a rectal examination in order to diagnose the condition, and may also carry out an X-ray or ultrasound scan to identify if there are any serious underlying causes.

What’s the treatment?

In most cases a perineal hernia will require surgery to fix. This will often be combined with castration in order to remove the risk of it reoccurring. Your pet may also need additional treatment is the hernia was caused by another condition.

During surgery, the rupture can be repaired by using muscles from within the pelvic diaphragm, although for more severe cases muscle may need to be taken from elsewhere in the body.


vet surgeon performing procedure 

What’s the prognosis?

If there are no complications during treatment, most cases will make a good recovery. Your pet will usually stay with us for a few days to make sure they’re comfortable and are able to pass stools easily.

Occasionally, complications do arise. The most common is infection, so it’s important that the surgical area is kept clean and dry, and your pet might be given a course of antibiotics to try and prevent it.