Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Hernia Belts, Abdominal Bandaging



The equine abdomen is bound by sheets of heavy connective tissue that provide support and protection to the internal organs. If this heavy wall is damaged or does not heal properly after surgery, a visible outpocketing of the abdominal wall develops, a hernia.

A common congenital hernia seen in foals is an umbilical hernia. Some small umbilical hernias in foals heal with little or no treatment, while others require surgical repair.

A hernia belt is a commercial product sold to “heal” abdominal wall hernias. Bandages taped around the abdomen can provide similar support.

Hernia belts or abdominal bandages are intended to provide consistent pressure and support on a hernia of the body wall and push the hernia sac back into the abdomen. With the hernia sac pushed up by pressure, it is claimed that the strong body wall can repair without changes in contour. This may or may not happen. These commercial products do not all function as claimed.

Successful hernia treatment depends on many factors including the particular case (location and severity of the hernia), the equipment used and the skill and experience with the product used.

Generally, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That said, well constructed and designed hernia belts that are properly applied do play a role in the successful repair of some hernias. Abdominal bandaging or the use of hernia belts may be helpful to protect abdominal wall repairs post-operatively.

This Treatment Might be used for a horse exhibiting these signsRelated Observations

Related DiagnosesThis Treatment Might Be Used for these Diagnoses

Consider Potential Side Effects & Complications

The greatest side effect is simply not fixing the hernia. Usually, some surgical repair will also be required.

Consider Reasons Not To Use This Treatment

Not used in cases of major abdominal wall failure. Surgery to repair the body wall is indicated.

Is It working? Timeframe for effect

Takes weeks to months for hernias to reduce in size treated this way. Appropriate surgical repair usually provides much more rapid healing.

Questions To Ask My Vet

  • What evidence is there for the use of this product?
  • What has your experience with the product been?
  • How many similar hernias have you treated this way, and what were the results?
Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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