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Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Dogs

patent ductus arteriosus in dogs


Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a congenital heart condition. PDA is characterized by a defect of the ductus arteriosus, a large blood vessel that fills the lungs with oxygen upon birth. PDA reduces the amount of blood pumped into the left side of the heart, which causes the heart to overwork and enlarges its left chamber.

PDA mostly affects female dogs of smaller breeds, such as Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, and Bichon Frise.

The prognosis is good for dogs that are surgically treated during early stages, while the condition is life-threatening in cases that lead to a complication known as reverse PDA. Reverse PDA occurs when the pulmonary circulation exceeds the pressure in the aorta. The condition is usually non-reversible and treatments are catered toward palliative care. Owners are advised to seek prompt treatment to avoid the complications of reverse PDA.


PDA sufferers may exhibit a shortness of breath and have a general intolerance for physical activity. They may also have pronounced heart murmurs that can be picked up during physical examinations at the vet. Serious cases of murmurs may be felt at the chest of affected dogs, which create a trill, or slight buzzing.


Vets may conduct chest X-rays and ECGs to determine the extent of the defect and rhythm of the heart beat. Echocardiography and angiography are usually recommended for a definitive diagnosis of the condition. These advanced tests will help experts determine the degree of enlargement and the heart’s pumping rate.


Non-invasive occlusion is usually recommended for less severe PDA cases. The medical procedure involves inserting an interventional device (such as transarterial coil or ductal occluder) into peripheral vessels, which improves blood flow.

Surgical ligation is the preferred treatment for larger PDAs that may lead to congestive heart failure.

Treatment for complications such as pulmonary edema (fluid build-up) is treated and closely monitored before surgical procedures.

Estimated Cost

The diagnosis and treatment of PDA range between $2,500 – $5,000. However, fees may be much higher for treatment during advanced stages due to heart complications.

Home Care and Management of Dogs with Patent Ductus Arteriosus

PDA sufferers face a 50% chance of a 1-year mortality rate if the condition is left untreated. It is important for owners to seek treatment while PDA is small to avoid dangerous complications such as congestive heart failure and reverse PDA. Dogs that suffered congestive heart failure prior to surgery may require a lifelong course of cardiac medication.


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Heart Health Conditions in Dogs

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