Cat Birth Defect Often Heals Itself

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Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys, from the Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. Today I’ll be answering your question from the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page.

This question is from Cassy. She says “I have a cat who had a herniated belly button as a baby but as an adult does not seem to have it anymore. He’s a year old now and it’s still growing with no signs of problems; but I always worry if it’ll show back up”.

Cassy is referring to an umbilical hernia which is where a kitten is born with an umbilical opening that doesn’t close.

The most important thing is to make sure that this is checked by your veterinarian, because if there’s still one there, it can pose a threat to the cat.

If the opening is large enough, what can happen is that some of the abdominal contents can slip through that hole and cause problems. Usually it’s just some fat that slips through, but sometimes you could have a loop of an intestine that can slip through and actually get twisted and that’s very serious for the kitty cat.

So for larger hernias there’s a fairly simple surgical procedure to correct that and that surgery typically done at the time of the spay or the neuter. If the hernia is small, and none of the abdominal contents are able to slip through, sometimes they don’t have to be corrected.

In little kittens, as they advance into adulthood, sometimes those hernias can spontaneously close on their own. That sounds like maybe what has happened in the case of Cassy’s cat.

I still would recommend that the veterinarian check it out and make sure that it’s gone, so that Cassy can breathe a little bit easier and not worry about her kitty cat.

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Send your questions into Pets Best Facebook page for me, and I’ll be happy to talk to you about cat health.

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