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Hernia (Hiatal) in Cats



Not all hiatal hernias require treatment. Conservative therapy may be successful in controlling symptoms, and feeding small but frequent portions of a low-fat diet may control symptoms. Your veterinarian can prescribe drugs that will promote digestion and increase the tone of the sphincter in the lower esophagus. Medications such as cimetidine will decrease the acidity of the reflux, and promote healing of the damaged esophageal tissue. However, surgical treatment will be necessary if your surgeon finds that your cat needs the opening (hiatus) to be closed, or to have its stomach attached to the abdominal wall so that it does not protrude further. If your cat develops aspiration pneumonia, antibiotics may be necessary, as well as other kinds of therapeutic breathing treatments.


Living and Management


If your cat requires surgery, you will need to follow through with return visits to your veterinarian for after care treatment. This is also true if you are managing the hiatal hernia from home. Aspiration pneumonia is one of the possible long term complications related to a hiatal hernia, so you will need to be watchful for signs of this. If you do detect symptoms of pneumonia, you will need to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately for treatment, as complications can quickly progress, possibly with a fatal outcome. Even with prompt treatment, some cats may have a recurrence of all of the symptoms, forcing you and your doctor to return to square one so that other causes can be settled upon and a treatment plan put into place.

Image: Andrzej Sliwinski via Shutterstock


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