Pericardioperitoneal Diaphragmatic Hernia

Lady, a 2 year old Terrier mix, was rescued from a local shelter after it was determined that she could not walk in her hind limbs. An MRI revealed that she suffered from a bruise to her spinal cord, most likely due to trauma, that did not require surgery to treat. At the same time, the MRI incidentally revealed that she also was suffering from a diaphragmatic hernia, which is a hole in the diaphragm allowing abdominal contents to displace into the chest cavity. She was then brought to MVS and evaluated by one of our veterinary surgeons, Dr. Christopher Potanas, for the diaphragmatic hernia. Dr. Potanas recommended exploratory surgery be performed to repair Lady’s hernia. Dr. Potanas was assisted in Lady’s surgery by Dr. Cerovsky, one of our interns, to repair her diaphragmatic hernia and found that she had a rare congenital hernia known as a pericardioperitoneal diaphragmatic hernia (PPDH). This hernia occurs because of the failure of the pericardial sac to completely close during development, allowing for continued communication between the chest and abdomen. Surgical correction of the hernia was performed successfully and Lady recovered very well from anesthesia. Lady was discharged from MVS several days later able to walk in her hind limbs again and is now recovering well at home and is hoping to find her forever home soon.

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