Groundbreaking Research To Be Conducted in the Weimaraner - Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Researchers at the University of Missouri would like to identify genetic variants associated with PDA in the Weimaraner.
•  You do NOT have to travel to MU to participate in this study •  PLEASE participate if you have:
   –  Weimaraner that has been diagnosed with PDA
   –  Sire / *Dam of a Weimaraner that has been diagnosed with PDA
   –  Littermate of a Weimaraner that has been diagnosed with PDA
•  Please contact MUcvmCardiology@missouri.edu for more information

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Patent ductus arteriosus (also called PDA) is a birth defect in the heart. It is caused by incomplete changes in the heart's circulation when a dog is born.

The ductus arteriosus is an important blood vessel that ensures that blood does not go to the lungs unnecessarily as the fetus is developing in the uterus.

During the first few hours after birth, this blood vessel naturally closes off. This allows blood to travel normally through the lungs for oxygenation as the lungs begin to function when the puppy takes its first breath. In some puppies, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This results in serious, life-threatening changes in the way that the heart pumps blood through the heart and to the rest of the body.

As the disease process progresses heart failure can ensue which include signs of shortness of breath, coughing, weakness, and exercise intolerance.

Most cases of patent ductus arteriosus are found in perfectly healthylooking puppies when a heart murmur is detected on routine examination.

A heart murmur is the sound produced by blood moving through the heart in a turbulent fashion.

PDA murmurs produce a very distinctive sound. If there is a concern that the murmur may indicate a patent ductus arteriosus, then further evaluation is warranted.

Usually, radiographs (x-rays) are taken of the chest to evaluate the size and shape of the heart and to evaluate the lungs. An electrocardiogram (ECG) depicts the pattern of electrical activity in the heart and any irregularities in the heart's rhythm (arrhythmias). The ECG may show changes that support a diagnosis of a PDA. An echocardiogram, (cardiac ultrasound), is the test of choice for a PDA. An image of the inside of the heart is displayed in real time and allows the cardiologist to observe the abnormal communication between the aorta and pulmonary artery.

Having a patent ductus arteriosus is not usually compatible with a normal life span unless the PDA is corrected (closed).

The goal of treatment is to close the ductus arteriosus. This can be accomplished through thoracotomy (an open-chest surgery) or through cardiac catheter-based (minimally-invasive surgery) occlusion.

It is important that one of these two procedures is performed as soon as possible after the diagnosis is made. In some cases, waiting too long allows other very serious complications to develop and creates the need for even more extensive treatment.

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