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Patent Ductus Arteriosis in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Patent Ductus Arteriosis in Dogs Is a thankfully rare condition.

Patent ductus Arteriosis is a medical condition that affects the body’s ability to supply oxygen and blood to the lungs and heart, and can result in heart disease if left unchecked.


This disease is also dangerous because it presents an opportunity for fluid to build up in your dog’s lungs, therefore making it twice as potentially fatal.

Which is why…

If you think your dog is suffering from heart problems it is important that you take them to the vet immediately. This condition is either diagnosed in pup-hood or your dog will die. It develops embryologically, meaning that from the moment your pup is born the fluid has started to build up. If you see any of the clinical signs listed below in your dog you should take them to the vet without further ado.

What is Patent Ductus Arteriosis and what does mean?

Patent Ductus Arteriosis (or PDA for short) occurs when the dog is developing in the womb. We all have a ductus arteriosis that helps blood and oxygen bypass the lungs when we are developing. It is important that we get this supply of oxygenated blood and that the unoxygenated blood is removed from the system.  Normally once full growth is achieved this vein will develop an ability to close.

In dogs affected…

By PDA this valve never develops, the vein remains open and fluid slowly leaks into the lungs. It can also affect their ability to pump oxygen rich blood to other parts of the body.

Chest X-rays will be…

Able to show a fluid build-up in the lungs or around the heart (known as Pulmonic Stenosis) and too much of this can result in right sided heart failure. Pulmonary Vascular Resistance is weakened and the heart becomes enlarged, causing heart disease. Subaortic Stenosis is usually the resulting factor and basically means that the valve that pumps blood out of your dog’s heart has become obstructed by the fluid build-up.

Although rare…

PDA is still the most common type of inherited heart condition in dogs. We can only speculate that this is because of over breeding and the weakening of the gene pool over time. Diseases like this one not only make pet insurance twice as important, but also further condone the actions of puppy farmers. When you buy from a rogue breeder you never truly know what sort of genetically inherited conditions that your dog might be lumbered with.


This disease has one redeeming feature in that it is easy to find and diagnose. It will come across as a permanent murmur in your pup’s heart and is one of the main reasons that your vet will want to listen to any new puppy’s heartbeat. If your vet suspects that your pup is suffering from PDA they will want to do Speckle-Tracking echocardiography to validate the diagnosis. Treatment will begin once they know for certain that this is what is wrong with your pet.

Affected Breeds

There are a number of breeds that carry the genes for this condition so you should always be aware of such things when buying. The affected breeds that we know about are as follows:

It is important to remember that this list is not exhaustive and that mixed breed dogs are also susceptible depending on parentage.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for this condition need to be swift because by the time it is diagnosed the puppy is already in danger of death. Otherwise and so long as the condition is detected before 18 weeks of age, this is thought of as one of the easier to treat heart conditions that your puppy might be born with.

Surgery is almost always…

The end goal and your veterinary surgeon will want you to undertake it as soon as you possibly can. For every second that the pup has not had the procedure he becomes more and more at risk. It is a fairly simple procedure during which a duct occluder is fitted to the offending ventricle/ This allows the vein to open and close as normal and rights the problem. The vet may want to keep your pet in overnight or even for a few days, just to make sure the operation has been a success.

Dogs who have undergone surgery…

For this disease have a high survival rate and, as far as we can tell, it does not affect the length of life the dog will live, nor the quality of it, thereafter. The only problem with this treatment option is the cost of surgeons to operate and recovery care or medications, which can all slowly add up.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have patent ductus arteriosis (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

This is also why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a dog that has been diagnosed with Patent Ductus Arteriosus be eligible for coverage?

No, probably not.  But chances are you probably have another pet or two at home who could benefit from having this type of coverage in place.  You yourself could benefit as well because if one of these “other” pets does develop an illness or is injured, having a quality insurance policy in place could save you thousands!

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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