These are seen in young colts and occur when piece of the gastrointestinal tract moves into and through the inguinal ring (usually the small intestine). Clinical signs include colic, severe swelling in the scrotum, and cold testicle on palpation. These hernias can be unilateral (one side) or bilateral (two sides). In young colts the hernia can resolve by reducing it several times a day with the colt standing. Surgical correction of the inguinal hernia should be pursued if the hernia does not resolve with frequent manual reduction, the hernia cannot be manually reduced or if the colt starts to colic.
Surgical correction of an inguinal hernia involves making an incision into the abdomen and pulling the intestine within the scrotum back into the abdomen. Once the intestine is back in the abdomen the inguinal ring is closed through a scrotal incision. The testicle on the side of the scrotal hernia may or may not need to be removed, depending on the level of vascular compromise.