The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest (thorax) and abdomen. When the diaphragm is disrupted it allows abdominal organs to migrate into the chest cavity. Most dogs and cats who have this have experienced some sort of trauma or stress like being hit by a car.
How do you repair it?
Surgery needs to be performed as soon as the patient is stable. The diaphragmatic hernia is usually repaired through the abdomen resituating organs where they belong and suturing the diaphragm in the correct position. A chest tube will also be placed to remove air and any fluid that may accumulate. Once the chest tube is removed the pet can go home. It is important they stay quiet and avoid activity during the post-operative period.