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Abnormal Diaphragm Opening in Cats

Treatment and Care


For trauma-induced diaphragmatic hernias, the patient must be treated for shock and it is imperative that breathing and heart rate are stabilized before going into surgery. Surgery should repair damaged organs, as well as the tear in the diaphragm. It is important that the patient be stable before surgery begins, as surgery will not necessarily improve any heart or breathing problems.


For congenital diaphragmatic hernias, surgery should be performed as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage to the animal’s internal organs. Again, it is important that breathing and heart rate are stabilized before operating. Drugs can be used to help stabilize heart rate.


Living and Management


After surgery is complete, there are secondary problems to look out for. Monitoring of heart rate with a monitor (electrocardiograph) is advised to check for irregular heartbeat.


Hyperthermia, or increased body temperature, is common in cats after surgery. Another common problem is swelling or fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary edema).


Most animals survive when surgery is successful and all secondary effects are controlled. Older cats with trauma-induced hernias are less likely to survive surgery.




There is no method to prevent congenital diaphragmatic hernias, although it is best to operate as soon as possible. To avoid traumatic experiences that may cause diaphragmatic hernias, it is best to keep pets away from potentially dangerous areas, such as streets where car accidents are likely to occur.



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