Good news from bad…

Eddie relaxing at home

Eddie relaxing at home

Meet Eddie, a rather handsome 18 week old Border Collie!

Eddie came to see me this week because his vets had detected a heart murmur when he was a very young puppy. Although Eddie is very active and able to keep up with his mum and dad on walks, his murmur is so loud that you can feel the vibration of the murmur on his chest wall. Puppies can sometimes have murmurs that go away after a few weeks, but Eddie’s vets were very concerned that he had a congenital heart defect (i.e. a heart defect he had been born with).

Eddie had a heart scan, which showed that he has a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA for short). The ductus arteriosus is a vessel that is present when the puppy is still in the womb, which allows blood to bypass the lungs (which are obviously not needed until the puppy is born). Normally, the vessel closes at or soon after birth, but in Eddie’s case something happened to prevent the ductus closing. A PDA allows very fast moving blood to shunt between the great vessels of the heart (the aorta and the pulmonary artery) which puts strain on the heart and also causes the very loud heart murmur.

This picture shows the PDA. On the left is a black and white image showing the PDA entering the pulmonary artery, and on the right is a simultaneous picture using colour to show the jet of abnormal flow coming from the PDA. This jet of fast moving blood causes the loud heart murmur

This picture shows the PDA. On the left is a black and white image showing the PDA entering the pulmonary artery, and on the right is a simultaneous picture using colour to show the jet of abnormal flow coming from the PDA. This jet of fast moving blood causes the loud heart murmur

Dogs with PDAs can develop serious problems with heart function, and the vast majority will develop heart failure before the age of 1 year if they do not receive treatment. The great news for Eddie is that the PDA can be closed surgically, and he is going to have his surgery very soon. Dogs that undergo surgery before going in to heart failure have a very good chance of living a completely normal life after the surgery. We wish Eddie lots of luck for the operation and hopefully we’ll be able to post an update soon!