Hernia Between the Pericardium and Peritoneum in Dogs

By PetMD Editorial on Mar. 19, 2010

Peritoneopericardial Diaphragmatic Hernia in Dogs

Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia is a congenital defect that affects the communication between the pericardium (double-wall sac containing the heart) and peritoneum (membrane that forms the lining of abdominal cavity). Like other hernias, the protrusion of the septum affects the surrounding area -- in this case, the abdomen.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms will largely depend on the amount on the amount and nature of abdominal contents herniated. Some common ones include:


Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia occurs at the embryologic stage, and is considered a prenatal defect.



You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC) -- the results of which are typically normal.

Abnormalities visible on X-rays ultimately depend on size and amount of herniated abdominal contents. More advanced techniques, like contrast peritoneography, are also used for a more detailed evaluation, whereby contrast medium (chemical) is given by injection into the peritoneal cavity and then X-rayed at different angles. Another technique commonly employed for confirmation of diagnosis is echocardiography.


Surgery is typically required to close the hernia and place the viable organs to their normal location. However, if found in adult dogs displaying no adverse symptoms, no treatment is required.

Living and Management

Prognosis is good for dogs that have undergone surgery with no other complicating factors.

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