Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue

Harlequin Haven
Great Dane Rescue

11567 St. Rt. 774
Bethel, Ohio 45106

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Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) results from a failure of the body to close a small blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. The ductus communicates between the aorta and pulmonary artery when the puppy is in the uterus. Normally, the ductus closes shut within hours of birth. Failure of this vessel to close is a congenital defect that results in shunting of blood from the aorta to the pulmonary artery. This shunting of blood usually creates a loud heart murmur that is often characteristic of this congenital defect.

An echocardiogram is beneficial to definitively diagnose a PDA. This procedure will also determine if any other congenital defects are present in conjunction with the PDA. It also allows the cardiologist to determine how severe the defect is and what effects it is having on the heart's function.

The treatment of a PDA defect requires surgery. The surgical procedure involves open chest surgery by a specialist. Surgery is usually a cure and the puppy can lead a normal life after recuperating from surgery. The operation is usually performed when the puppy 8 to 20 weeks of age or as young as possible. There can be complications with the surgery. Since the vet is working around the aorta, hemorrhaging is a complication that can even be life threatening. But it is uncommon in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Other potential, but uncommon complications are the recanalization of the vessel after surgery (the body replaces the vessel between the aorta and the pulmonary artery) or postoperative infection. Puppies are discharged on antibiotics to help prevent any infection from occurring.  With this procedure the puppy is usually released from the vet hospital within 1 to 2 days after the surgery.

Another option for closure of a PDA is a procedure that utilizes special coils that are inserted into the ductus through a catheter. A small incision is made in the area of the femoral artery (inside of the hind leg). The catheter is advanced up the femoral artery to the heart via fluoroscopic guidance. The special coils are then carefully placed in the vessel which causes a blood clot to form. This type of repair is also permanent. Not all puppies with a PDA are candidates for this type of procedure. Puppies under ten pounds are too small for this technique. The vet will determine if this procedure is correct during the echocardiogram of the heart. With this procedure the puppy is usually released from the vet hospital within 24 hours after the surgery.

When the puppy is discharged, very strict exercise restriction will be required for 10 days until the sutures are removed by your veterinarian. Your vet will also want to recheck with a echocardiogram in 2-3 months to assure the success of the surgery as well as to evaluate the overall function of the heart after the operation.

In loving memory of Jasper Jax

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