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

Patent Ductus arteriosis in Dogs Is a rare condition that affects the body’s ability to supply oxygen and blood to the lungs and heart. It can result in heart disease if left unchecked.  This disease is also dangerous because it allows fluid to build up in your dog’s lungs, making it twice as potentially fatal.

Which is why…

If you think your dog suffers from heart problems, you must take them to the vet immediately. This condition is either diagnosed in pup-hood or your dog will die. It develops embryologically, meaning that the fluid starts to build up from the moment your pup is born. 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?

Patent Ductus arteriosis (or PDA for short) occurs when the dog develops in the womb. We all have a ductus arteriosis that helps blood and oxygen bypass the lungs when we are creating. It is essential that we get this supply of oxygenated blood and that the unoxygenated blood is removed from the system.  Typically once total growth is achieved, this vein will develop an ability to close.  In dogs affected by PDA, this valve never sets, the vein remains open and fluid slowly leaks into the lungs. It can also affect their ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to other body parts.

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 enlarges, causing heart disease. Subaortic Stenosis is the resulting factor and 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 overbreeding and the weakening of the gene pool over time. Diseases like this one not only make pet insurance twice as essential but also further condone the actions of puppy farmers. When you buy from a rogue breeder, you never truly know what genetically inherited conditions your dog might be lumbered with.


This disease has one redeeming feature: 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 your vet will want to listen to any new puppy’s heartbeat. If your vet suspects your dog suffers from PDA, they will want to do Speckle-Tracking echocardiography to validate the diagnosis. Treatment will begin once they know this is what is wrong with your pet.

Most Commonly Affected Breeds

A number of breeds carry the genes for this condition, so you should always be aware of such things when buying. The affected species 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 must be swift because the puppy is already in danger of death by the time it is diagnosed. Otherwise, and so long as the disease is detected before 18 weeks of age, this is considered one of the easier-to-treat heart conditions your puppy might be born with.

Surgery is almost always…

Your veterinary surgeon will want you to undertake the end goal as soon as possible. Every second the pup has not had the procedure, he becomes more and more at risk. It is a reasonably simple procedure during which a duct occluder is fitted to the offending ventricle/ This allows the vein to open and close as usual and rights the problem. The vet may want to keep your pet overnight or even for a few days to ensure the operation has succeeded.

Dogs who have undergone surgery…

This disease has 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, after that. 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.

This brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.  If you feel your pet may have patent ductus arteriosis (or any other health issue), you will want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, 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 diagnosed with Patent Ductus Arteriosus be eligible for coverage?

No, probably not.  But chances are you likely have another pet or two at home who could benefit from this coverage.  You could also help because if one of these “other” pets develops an illness or is injured, having a quality insurance policy 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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