Hernia (Inguinal) in Cats

Inguinal Hernia in Cats

An inguinal hernia is a condition in which the abdominal contents protrude through the inguinal canal or inguinal ring, an opening which occurs in the muscle wall in the groin area.

Inguinal hernia can occur in both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this type of hernia affects dogs, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Inguinal hernias may be uncomplicated or complicated. A complicated hernia is one in which contents of the abdominal cavity have passed through the opening and become entrapped.

Symptoms seen with an uncomplicated inguinal hernia are:

  • A soft swelling in the groin area, which may occur on one or both sides of the body

Symptoms seen with a complicated inguinal hernia may include:

  • Swelling in the groin area, which may become painful and warm to the touch
  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Frequent attempts to urinate
  • Bloody urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression


In cats, inguinal hernias are usually traumatic in origin.

Most are uncomplicated and cause no symptoms other than a swelling in the groin area. However, if contents from the abdominal cavity (such as the bladder, a loop of intestines or the uterus) pass through the opening and become entrapped there, the situation can become life-threatening.


Inguinal hernias can usually be diagnosed by finding the swelling caused by the hernia on a physical examination. However, sometimes contrast radiographs (x-rays) or an abdominal ultrasound are needed to determine which abdominal contents, if any, are entrapped.

inguinal hernia

A condition in which the bowels protrude through a thin area of the groin


The hollow bodily organ that holds the embryo and fetus and provides nourishment; only found in female animals.

inguinal canal

The opening in the wall of the abdomen from where the testes move into the scrotum


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


The area between the abdomen and thighs; the inguinal area

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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