Diaphragmatic hernias in cats can cause vomiting, difficulty in breathing, as well as coughing.
Coughing by your cat is never normal and it is a real warning sign that something is terribly your with them.
They can also cause abdominal distention as well as something even more serious; collapsing followed by shock.
This very dangerous condition has two potential causes; congenital or traumatic.
There is some misconception that the major cause of diaphragmatic hernias is congenital, but this is not the case.
In the majority of cases, it is the result of a traumatic event that your cat has suffered.
In severe cases of Diaphragmatic hernias in cats, your cat may only have a fifty to sixty percent chance of actually surviving this condition.
In better understanding exactly what a diaphragmatic hernia in your cat is, it is very helpful to understand the diaphragm of your cat.
Your cat’s diaphragm is a very large muscle that separates their abdominal organs from their heart as well as their lungs.
When their diaphragm contracts, it allows air to enter into their lungs, however, if there is a defect in the diaphragm, several bad things can happen.
A defect in your cat’s diaphragm can allow their abdominal organs to actual enter into their chest cavity area.
Your cat’s liver, stomach, as well as their intestines can slip through this defect, where they will stop and sit in the space that is between their lungs and their body wall.
Once this occurs, it makes it very difficult for your cat to breath in some cases.
However, there may be cases where it does not affect their breathing, but will instead make them sick and they will begin to vomit.
In other cases, as serious as this condition can be, a small number of cats may show absolutely no signs of any type of distress.
In these cases, the only way that diaphragmatic hernias in cats are discovered is during a routine medical examination by your veterinarian.
Diaphragmatic hernias in cats has two potential causes; congenital as well as traumatic.
If it is considered to be congenital, which means it was present at the birth of your cat, it will occur in the gestation period.
The gestation period is the period of time that the fetus is actually developing and is obviously prior to the birth, as this condition is not caused during the birth.
In most cases, the hernia itself is between the pericardium, which is the sac that contains your cat’s heart, and their abdominal cavity.
When this defect is present, the developing fetus’s organs can very easily enter into this sac.
When it does, it can allow fluid to enter and accumulate within this space, as well as around the heart itself.
These herniated organs will than do two things; cause a lot of damage or do no damage at all.
If they do start to cause damage, they will immediately reduce the proper functioning of your cat’s heart as well as their lungs because of the pressure it is placing.
If they do no damage at all, your cat may show absolutely no symptoms and you will never know they have a diaphragmatic hernia until they are examined.
When diaphragmatic hernias in cats are caused by a traumatic event, it is usually the result of your cat being in an accident with an automobile or in a very large fall and they have torn or damaged their diaphragm.
Contrary to the misconception that a cat can easily fall from heights and naturally land on their feet, this does not always occur.
This injury can also be the result of someone or something kicking your cat and tearing the diaphragm.
The symptoms of either cause will be similar, however if it is caused by a traumatic event, there will be more symptoms and they will be more serious.
Diaphragmatic hernias in cats will show you some very distinctive symptoms, depending on the actual cause.
If it is congenital, the symptoms may not show up for a long period of time, but if the herniation starts to worsen, they will begin to appear in most cases.
The first symptom is usually vomiting that will very quickly be followed by your cat having a difficult time in eating anything.
If it is severe enough, your cat may suddenly develop anorexia, where they quite eating altogether simply because it is too painful.
Treatments for diaphragmatic hernias in cats will vary, but if it does reach the point of needing immediate treatment, you cat will have to be stabilized before surgery can be done.
If it is considered severe, and surgery is not done, you may have only one other option and that is to put your cat down.
When stabilizing your cat, your veterinarian will use intravenous fluids as well as blood transfusions if needed.
Oxygen and antibiotics may also have to be used, depending on the severity. Once your cat has been properly stabilized, surgery will be done.
Once the hernia has been repaired and after placing all of the organs back into place, some of them may have to be restored as well.
This can be quite complicated as well as very expensive, especially if you not have insurance.
Once this has all been completed, you cat does have a least a fifty to sixty percent chance of surviving.
Diaphragmatic hernias in cats may produce absolutely no symptoms at all and you may never know your has one until they are examined.
However, in some cases, especially those caused by a trauma, you will see the symptoms start to surface very quickly.
There is no method where you can prevent congenital hernias, but you can prevent the traumatic ones by keeping your cat indoors or watching them when they are outside.