This 18 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was referred with a heart murmur suspected to be patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel in the developing foetus which allows most blood to bypass the lungs, which are not yet functional. This blood vessel usually closes shortly after birth in response to hormonal changes, but in some dogs it fails to close owing to not enough muscle being present in the vessel wall. Failure of closure (the persistent ductus) causes a heart murmur and blood overloads the lungs and left side of the heart, causing heart failure. By one year old, 50% of affected dogs will die if a PDA is left untreated.
Our Cardiology team performed trans-arterial occlusion to close Nora’s PDA via the femoral artery in her back leg. This procedure has a 98% success rate, very little post-operative pain associated with it, and dogs only spend one night in hospital post-op.
Nora recovered well from her surgery, and returned to see us this week, 4-weeks post-closure. Her heart scan showed that the heart has returned to a normal size and there is no longer a heart murmur present. Dogs like Nora, who have their PDA closed using a minimally invasive approach, tend to have a good quality of life and normal lifespan.
Here you can see Nora enjoying a cuddle with one of our Animal Care Assistants the day after her surgery.