How Much Does Dog Hernia Surgery Cost?

Last Updated on April 5, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Hernias are a relatively common health condition in canines where an organ or fatty tissue protrudes through a gap or tear in the surrounding muscle wall or connective tissue. While small hernias may not cause overt problems initially, they tend to enlarge over time and can lead to dangerous complications if left untreated.

For moderate to large hernias, surgical repair is usually recommended to reduce the risks and prevent a medical emergency. But this procedure also comes with a substantial cost for pet owners.

In this article, we’ll examine the typical expenses associated with hernia surgery in dogs, including the procedure itself, medications, hospitalization fees, follow-up care, and more.We’ll also look at insurance options and payment assistance programs to help manage the costs for hernia repair surgery.

How Much Does Dog Hernia Surgery Cost?

Total costs for dog hernia surgery often range from $700 – $3,000+ on average depending on the individual case.

While every case is unique, average costs for routine hernia repair often total between:

  • Surgery and hospital fees– $500 – $2,500+
  • Medications and supplies– $100 – $300
  • Aftercare and follow-ups– $100 – $300

Factors like those outlined above influence where an individual dog falls within that range. Be sure to get an itemized case estimate from your veterinarian.

Embrace Pet Insurance reports that for most minor hernia repairs, including anesthetics (excluding any necessary pre-surgical labwork), pet owners should expect to pay $150-$400.

MetLife Pet Insurance states that minor surgery can cost $150, whereas more complicated surgeries could reach over $2,000. They also mention that dog insurance may help cover costs associated with treating hernias.

Lemonade Pet reports that surgery costs for dog hernias can range from about $150 to $10,000, with an average of around $1,500 to $2,000.

Wag! mentions that hernia repair expenses range from $700 (for simple more common hernias) to $2,500 (more complex cases) with $1,600 being the average cost.

Hernias in Dogs

The most common types of hernias seen in canines are:

Umbilical Hernias

  • Bulge around belly button area
  • Often present from birth or develop in puppyhood
  • Can enlarge and cause pain if not corrected

Inguinal Hernias

  • Fatty tissue protrudes through the inguinal canal in the groin
  • Occur in both males and females, sometimes alongside spay/neuter procedures

Diaphragmatic Hernias

  • Stomach, intestines, or other organs push through the diaphragm muscle into the chest
  • Can be life-threatening if strangulation occurs
  • Often related to trauma from being hit by cars

Mild hernias frequently have no obvious symptoms. But vets diagnose through physical palpation and imaging like x-rays, ultrasound, or MRI. Prompt surgical repair prevents complications.

What Does Hernia Repair Surgery Involve?

The goals of hernia surgery include:

  • Pushing the protruding tissue back into position
  • Closing the hernia opening by stitching together the surrounding tissue
  • Reducing the risk of complications like organ damage or strangulation

To prepare, the dog is fasted before surgery and given anesthesia during the procedure. The surgeon makes an incision near the hernia, repositions internal organs if needed, and sews closed the connective tissue. The incision is then closed up and monitored during recovery.

You should also read our articles about the costs of dewclaw removal, dog pancreatitis treatment, and broken nail fix for your dog.

Typical Dog Hernia Surgery Recovery

  • Hospitalization 1-2 nights with prescribed pain medication
  • Restricted activity and an Elizabethan collar to prevent licking for 1-2 weeks
  • Recheck exams to monitor healing and check stitches
  • Stitches or staples are removed 10-14 days post-surgery
  • Normal activity typically resumes after 2-4 weeks

Watch carefully for complications like infection. Most dogs have a full recovery within a month.

What Impacts the Cost of Hernia Surgery?

Veterinarian Visit For Dog HerniaSeveral variables influence the total costs for hernia repair surgery in dogs:

Type and Size of Hernia

  • Simple umbilical hernias in puppies are cheaper. Large complex diaphragmatic hernias cost substantially more.
  • The greater the hernia opening size, the more extensive the repair.
  • Treating multiple concurrent hernias adds expenses.

Required Hospitalization

  • Outpatient same-day discharge keeps fees lower than overnight stays.
  • Additional inpatient monitoring and supportive care adds $200-$600 per night.

Medications and Supplies

  • General anesthesia, IV fluids, injectable and oral pain drugs, e-collar, wound dressing supplies, and take-home meds add hundreds of dollars in costs.

Aftercare Follow-Ups

  • At least one recheck exam is standard. Additional visits for complications accrue more in exam and treatment fees.

Choice of Surgeon and Facility

  • Veterinary specialists or emergency hospitals charge significantly more than general practice vets.
  • Location in major cities also drives up surgery prices.

Managing the Costs of Dog Hernia Surgery

To make hernia surgery affordable for their dogs, owners can look into:

Pet Insurance

Many plans cover 70-90% of medical costs after reaching an annual deductible, easing the financial hit of major surgery substantially. But pre-existing conditions may be excluded.

Veterinary Payment Plans

Vet offices often allow paying the bill in more affordable monthly installments over 6-12 months rather than upfront. Interest may or may not apply.

Medical Credit Cards and Loans

Cards like CareCredit or personal loans from banks provide access to financing, allowing you to pay over time. Compare rates carefully.

Non-Profit Organization Assistance

Some non-profits and animal charities provide financial aid for veterinary expenses based on financial need.

Having a plan makes it possible to get your dog necessary surgery without delay.

How to Choose a Surgeon for Your Dog

Picking the right veterinary surgeon is key to the best outcome:

  • For complex diaphragmatic hernias, a veterinary soft tissue specialistis advisable for the highest level of experience and skills.
  • General practice vets can readily perform routine umbilical and inguinal hernia surgery for less cost.
  • Look for a surgeon with specific experience routinely doing the type of hernia repair needed on your dog’s breed.
  • University veterinary teaching hospitals often have extensive expertise in complicated hernia repairs and revision surgeries if initial efforts fail.
  • Ask trusted breeders for surgeon recommendations. Review online ratings but note in-person consultations are most valuable.

Take time researching to pick your dog’s surgeon carefully based on the specific case circumstances.

Final Words

Deciding whether to pursue hernia surgery for your canine companion requires carefully weighing the risks and benefits with your veterinarian. While costly, for most dogs, this procedure leads to lasting gains in health and quality of life by resolving a condition prone to deterioration over time.

With some planning and financial preparedness using resources like pet insurance, hernia repair is a very worthwhile investment to prevent an emergent crisis down the road. By picking an experienced surgeon, following recovery protocols, and lovingly supporting your dog through the process, hernia surgery can provide long-term wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take a dog to recover after hernia surgery?

Most dogs fully recover within 2-4 weeks after hernia surgery. Initially, reduced activity and an e-collar are needed for 10-14 days post-surgery to allow incisions to heal. Stitches are removed at a follow-up exam. Light activity can resume after 2 weeks, with normal exercise by 4 weeks once cleared by the vet.

Should I get my dog’s hernia fixed?

Yes, it is usually recommended to surgically fix a diagnosed hernia in dogs, especially medium to large hernias. Even if not currently causing issues, hernias tend to enlarge over time and can lead to dangerous complications like organ damage. Repairing them prevents problems and avoids the need for more extensive surgery later on.

What are the risks or side effects of hernia surgery in dogs?

Potential side effects include infection, bleeding, swelling, delayed healing, or reactions to anesthesia. Strenuous activity too soon may cause recurrence. Most complications are minor, but dogs should be monitored closely during the recovery period to ensure proper healing.

What restrictions apply after a dog’s hernia surgery?

For 2 weeks, light walking on a leash only – no running, jumping, rough play, or unsupervised activity. Prevent licking or biting the incision with an e-collar. Keep the area clean and dry. Follow all medication and care instructions. Your vet will advise when normal activity can fully resume, usually by 4 weeks post-surgery.

2 replies
  1. Janice
    Janice says:

    My female Cocker is 1 year old and I just paid $110.00 for her umbilical surgery. Great job done at ”4 Paws Pet Clinic” in Bourbonnais, Illinois


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *