***HERNIAS**

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As breeders, we try very hard to choose the best bloodlines, the best pairing, we do research and health testing. We do everything we can to ensure healthy, quality, and happy pups. Every once in awhile despite our due diligence something arises we are unprepared for. Hernias are a much debated, somewhat unknown and misconstrued topic. I have asked a lot of questions and done a lot of research on the topic and I have learned a few things I would like to share to fellow breeders and buyers alike. Most inguinal hernias are misdiagnosed by vets with young puppies. More often then not they are a delayed closure and will close up on their own as the puppy gets older, most of the time by 20 weeks of age. If a dam produces a puppy with an inguinal hernia and her previous litters were fine and she does not have one herself the chances of it being an actual inguinal hernia genetic defect are very slim. It has been suggested to hold off on any surgery for a pup with an inguinal hernia to see if the hernia closes up on its own and to definitely hold off on any spay or neutering the vet may suggest until the pup is much older. Premature spay or neuter at such a young age can cause problems with puppy development and bone structure. One shih tzu breeder of 19 years I spoke with said her lines are free from hernias but she has had some pups produced with inguinal hernias 99% of them close up on their own. It is also suggested to not spay a dam that produced a pup with an inguinal hernia just yet because it could just be delayed closure which is not a genetic defect. If a dam consistently produces pups with inguinal hernias it is then considered a genetic defect and she should be spayed. The same with umbilical hernias. If the breeding pair does not have an umbilical hernia then the hernia is due to birthing stress, the cord being chewed or cut to close, or too much pulling on the cord while its attached to the pup. A dam with a hernia should not be bred due to complications of the hernia during pregnancy and labor and also the possibility of passing it to her pups. I hope that this information can help answer any questions and I would like to thank everyone involved in my research.