Pulmonic Stenosis in Dogs is a congenital condition. In this disease, the pulmonary artery is not developed properly while the pup is growing in the womb. This leads to all manner of heart problems throughout your dog’s life. And while there may be three different types of this condition, all types end with the right side of the heart swelling up as it tries to unsuccessfully pump that blood through an artery that is just too small.
If left untreated, this condition will eventually become fatal to your dog. The good news is that it is usually diagnosed in puppyhood during vet visits. This type of disease is one of the many reasons your veterinary surgeon will want to listen to a new puppy’s heartbeat to ensure everything sounds alright.
Which is why…
We wanted to discuss what it is like to have a pet with this condition so that you, as their owner, can identify any potential issues sooner, and a professional can begin treating them immediately! So without much further ado, let’s get to the point. What is Pulmonic Stenosis exactly, what are the symptoms, and, most importantly, how do we treat it and sparing your poor pooch any more pain?
What is Pulmonic Stenosis, and why is it such a severe medical condition?
Pulmonic Stenosis is a septal defect that occurs in dogs as a result of hereditary DNA. As a result, the only known way to prevent it is to breed it out of existence. Diseases like this are one of the many reasons it is essential that you avoid puppy farmers and always find out as much information about your puppy’s parents as possible.
This congenital heart defect…
It is usually ventricular in its most common form. In this first variant, the problem arises when the three-pronged pulmonic valve in the left atrium is too swollen for blood to pass through. With blood flow hindered in the pulmonary valve, the oxygen and blood supply to the lungs is cut off. This version of the disease is known as valvular pulmonic stenosis but is sometimes referred to as valve dysplasia.
The second and slightly rare variation of this disease is known as Annular Hypoplasia, and this happens when specific tissues around the main pulmonary artery thicken and tighten like an elastic band wrapped around the vessel. This results in a swollen heart and possible right-sided congestive heart failure.
This horrible disease’s third version is supra valvular pulmonic stenosis. This is the rarest of all three and results from one side of the artery being narrower. Any of these variants might result in sudden death, a blockage in the ventricular outflow tract which will cause sudden death, or a blockage in the right ventricle, which will drive… you guessed it… sudden death.
But it’s essential to…
Remember that it’s not all doom and gloom, but your dog will need surgery if diagnosed with this condition – and the sooner, the better. Your vet will want to rush them through if they detect even the slightest hint of a heart murmur. Other clinical signs include exercise intolerance; the dog may be highly lethargic, might pass out, and won’t behave as energetically as its littermates.
Most Commonly Affected Breeds
Since this is a congenital or hereditary condition, it is safe to say that most breeds that carry the gene for it have been identified. Please take extra care to check your puppy’s parentage if you have any of the species below. Please also remember that mixed-breed dogs cannot be accounted for and may or may not carry the genes.
The most commonly affected breeds include:
- Airedale Terrier,
- Boykin Spaniel,
- Cocker Spaniel,
- English Bulldog,
- English Bull Mastiff,
- Fox Terrier,
- French Bulldog,
- Miniature Schnauzer,
- Scottish Terrier,
- West Highland White Terrier.
Thanks to modern veterinary medicine, all variants of this condition are not necessarily a death sentence and can be treated, provided the dog is otherwise healthy.
A balloon valvuloplasty…
This is the name of the operation in question. A catheter is fitted to the offending artery, and an angiogram is performed to push a little balloon-like device to the affected area. Lastly, the balloon is slowly inflated until the blockage has dissipated. This works for most patients, and recurrence is low. Eighty percent of all dogs who undergo this operation will live perfect every day, happy and healthy lives.
In cases where…
If the dog is too ill to be operated on, your vet may prescribe beta-blockers, which thin the blood and make it easier to pass through the heart, lessening the symptoms. This disease also permits your dog to take it easy, and your vet will restrict the dog’s exercise time to stop it from getting over-excited and risking a heart attack.
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. This is why if you feel like your pet may have pulmonic stenosis (or any other health issue), you’ll 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 with Pulmonic Stenosis be able to qualify?
No, probably not, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have other pets in the household that will be able to qualify, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars on treatment costs if they ever become sick or injured in the future.
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies, we encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance.