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Does my cat have a hernia?

Species: Cat
Breed: Moggy
Age: 2-5 years
Hi,
My cat was operated on Thursday. My vet suspected that there may have been a trapped foreign object in his small intestine as he was hurting when they felt the area. I saw him eating something and swallowed it before I could get into his mouth. They weren't able to fin anything on xray but they could feel something and they thought it may have been something in his small intestine. It proved to be his lymph nodes which were very enlarged due to a stomach inflammation which were hurting him. His small intestine was pale and it had crumbled up into a tight ball so the vet surgeon took it out and massaged it and when she thought it was looking as it should be she put it back in as it should be laying she said and she was pleased with it. The incision is about 6-7cm long and they've used 5 stitches in all. I got to take him home the day after the operation was done as he was looking very perky they said. He was sitting up and is easting well. He's been tot he toilet and everything seems to be working. Yesterday (Saturday) I noticed that the lower part of the wound looked a bit bulgy when he was laying on his left side and it looks and feels like it may be a hernia, is this common after an open operation? Can they get this easily after operation? It's about 3cm and it looks a bit red around the area. I'll take him down to the vet tomorrow first thing for them to have a look at it but he doesn't appear to have any pain although he sleeps a lot. I am still concerned and I am wondering if you may know if they will have to go in and check all the organs again in order to fix it if it is a hernia?

Many thanks in advance.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It sounds like you and Pinky have been through a lot this week!

It is not uncommon to have some swelling under an incision after an abdominal surgery. It doesn't always mean that it is a hernia.

If you push on it, can you feel it disappear into his abdomen? If so, then yes, this is a hernia and he will likely have to have another surgery in order to close it properly. However, if he does have to have surgery they will not have to go into his abdomen again, just open up the incision and close the inner layer.

However, there is a good chance that this is just some normal post operative swelling. It may be that it is a reaction to his suture material. If this is the case then it should go away on its own within a week.

It may also be that there is an infection in his incision. But, this is usually painful when you feel it.

The fact that he is bright and eating well and using the litter box well is really good so this is likely not anything serious.

I agree that it is a good idea to have your vet take a look in the morning. I hope everything is ok!

Dr. Marie



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Customer reply:

Hi Marie,

Thanks a lot for your quick reply.

It's been a worrying week with lots of sleepless nights... Just want him to get well soon.

This was really helpful. When he wakes up I will try and see if it disappears when I lightly push it in, it feels a bit like a big bulging vein, quite soft I thought when I felt it. I'll take him down tomorrow and see what they say.

Many thanks!

Angela





Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome! I'd love to hear what they say tomorrow. Let me know if I can help any more.

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Thank you - I will do!

Many thanks,

Angela


Customer reply:

Hi Marie,

Just to let you know the vet had a look at Pinky's bulges/swellings and confirmed that it was a reaction to the material like you said it could be.

The only thing that is worrying is that he seems to be eating a lot less than he normally do and hunches about 10 minutes after his meals and goes away to a quiet area. I am wondering if the problem may be in his stomach and if you have heard of this before? He gets inflammations in his tummy quite easily and they've treated him with steroids but don't want to give him any more now when his wound is healing. He eats a little instead of a big meal which he used to do. It's not the Pinky we used to know.

They said they felt his stomach when they went inside but couldn't feel anything abnormal so I am just wondering what could be causing him to eat less. If you have any ideas, I would be very grateful!

Many thanks,

Angela


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Glad to hear that there is no hernia.

I do get concerned when a cat has a reduced appetite after an abdominal surgery.

Do you know if they did a biopsy of the lymph node that was enlarged? It would be interesting to know why there was a problem.

It may not be a bad idea to have your vet do a CBC to see if there is any evidence of infection inside.




Customer reply:

Hi Marie,

No I don't think they did a biopsy of the lymph nodes or anything else but they checked if the rest were enlarged but it was just the local ones in the stomach which they said would most likely be due to an inflammation.

I asked them to check inside as well with an endoscopy to check if they could see anything but they didn't do that as they said it would be difficult to see?

They told me that they took all the blood tests to check if everything was alright first after he completely went off his food last week. And all the blood tests, which included his liver and kidneys, viruses and aneamia (I think they said) were fine and he's not had any fever when they've taken his temperature.

He has had inflammation in his tummy before but the vet didn't want to give him any more steroids now (I think he got a long lasting one last week) and see how it goes.

It can't be that his wound is hurting him when he eats because of the operation which he's had? His voice isn't the same as normal it's a bit more quiet than normal as well and I am wondering if it may be due to the operation as well?

Many thanks!



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's true that an endoscopy is not likely to tell us too much.

It certainly can be that he is eating less because he is uncomfortable after surgery. I am concerned that there may be a post operative infection inside though. If the appetite does not increase you may want to ask your vet to take another blood sample to see if there is any sign of infection.

Regarding his voice, this can be normal after surgery because he had a tube in his trachea during surgery.



Customer reply:

Thank you Marie.

I was down with him today and they had a look at it and said it's a reaction to the stitches which I guess means it must be some sort of infection? They just said it will go down after a couple of weeks or so.

I think I will go down with him to check it to make sure tomorrow. When I spoke to the vet surgeon after he had his operations he said she wasn't going to give him any more antibiotics as he had a shot of antibiotics a couple of days before (when i came in with him) in case there was an infection. Is this a normal procedure that they can't/won't give them any if they've already been prescribed some beforehand?

I will make sure to speak to the vet surgeon tomorrow and ask if he can take another blood test just to make sure. t won't hurt. (Well it's not fn for the cat to go back and forward all the time but I don't know if it is normal to have bumps like that under the incisions.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's hard to comment without knowing all of his case. If he had a long acting antibiotic such as convenia then it wouldn't be necessary to have more.

An infection is different than a suture reaction. What you are seeing on his skin sounds like a suture reaction which goes away on its own. My concern is that his lack of appetite could be due to an infection inside his abdomen (which we wouldn't see on the outside).

But your vet is the best judge of this. If he is still eating a reasonable amount then there is a good possiblity that he is still just recovering from surgery.



Customer reply:

I forgot to mention that he was given some steroids at the same time as he got the antibiotics a couple of days before the surgery as well so I am not sure if that can inhibit the antibiotics from working properly?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

There's always a fine balance between the ability to heal a wound and inhibiting healing in a wound when we give steroids.

Your vet wouldn't have given them if they weren't necessary so it is likely ok!



Customer reply:

Thank you Marie!

I see what you mean. I will check this with them tomorrow. Unfortunately I don't have the invoice for the medicine they gave him that time but it's really helpful to know and I can ask them if it was the longlasting one which they gave him.

I can't thank you enough for your help.

Many thanks!



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.