Case: Peritoneo-pericardial herniation in an infant

A young pup of 3-4 months of age presented with exercise intolerance and increased respiratory effort. A specialist cardiologist had diagnosed peritoneo-pericardial herniation and the pup’s vets referred him on to us for corrective surgery.

In the development in pups within the uterus, one large body cavity divides up into three, forming the cavities in which the abdominal organs sit; the cavity in which the heart sits and the cavity in which the lungs are found. In peritoneo-pericardial herniation there is incomplete separation of the heart and abdominal cavities. Abdominal organs can then pass into space that should be reserved for the heart. By occupying space, less is left for the heart and its filling is compromised leading to the clinical signs.

Anaesthetics in pups are complicated by the fact that pups are able to maintain their body temperature and blood sugar levels less well than adults. The sheer size of them can also be an issue!

An incision into the abdominal cavity allowed the organs to be separated into their proper cavities and the cavities were separated from each other.

Henry made a fast and full recovery