Hernia Between the Pericardium and Peritoneum in Cats

Peritoneopericardial Diaphragmatic Hernia in Cats

Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia is a congenital defect that affects the communication between the peritoneum (membrane that forms the lining of abdominal cavity) and pericardium (double-wall sac containing the heart). 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 cat’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.


Anything occurring before birth


A wall or partition that is designed to divide and separate


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


The membrane that covers the wall of the abdomen and pelvic area


The sac of membranes that hold the heart


A procedure that is used to evaluate the health and structures of the heart


The condition of having a part of a body part protruding through the tissue that would normally cover it

abdominal cavity

The space in the abdomen that holds the major digestive organs in an animal. Normally referred to as the area between the diaphragm and the pelvis. Also referred to as the peritoneal cavity.

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