Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Ralph's recovery from a hernia

Ralph the little Australian Bulldog Puppy came to CSU SARH for investigation of a hernia it had since birth.

We first saw Ralph when he was 8 weeks of age. He had difficulty breathing in the last week or so, and was referred for further work-up and surgery.

The owner’s reported he was quieter than usual but still playing normally at times with other pups. The owners had documented that he was gaining weight appropriately, in proportion with the littermates' growth. He was eating well and had a very good appetite. The owners reported he becomes bloated and after eating, and has been seen to stretch his neck out an open mouth breathe at one time.

Diagnostic tests included clinical examination, ultrasonography and x-rays findings were consistent with a supraumbilical hernia with concurrent diaphragmatic defect and incomplete sternal closure.
Surgery was delayed a few weeks until it was safer to perform anesthesia and surgery.  These dogs generally have enough tissue for routine primary closure, and this was the case with Ralph.

You can see the hernia here is inverted because he is lying on his back. This photo was taken just before surgery.

Surgery went well, and he had a rhinoplasty (nasal surgery) at the same time to correct a closed nostril on one side. He has now recovered and is back to his normal self. Given the congenital abnormalities (hernia and stenotic nostril) the owners have sensibly decided not to breed from him. Here is a pic of Ralph just after his surgery and one month after his surgery looking great.