Patent Ductus Arteriosus represents a congenital defect that responds quite well to surgery and correction. When performed by a skilled cardiologist at Rocky Mountain Veterinary Cardiology in Boulder, this procedure is of minimal risk and can result in improved quality of life for your pet. 

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What is PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus)?

PDA occurs when the patent ductus, a vessel that is present in fetal life so blood can bypass the lungs, fails to properly close when your pet is born.

If your pet has a PDA, the open vessel causes a portion of the blood to be averted through the lungs and back to the left side of the heart. This causes over-circulation of the lungs and the left side of the heart. 

This over-circulation causes the left heart to dilate and, over time, increases the pressure in the left heart. This increased pressure in the pulmonary veins (the vessels that drain into the left heart from the lungs) eventually causes fluid to build up in the lungs — a condition called congestive heart failure.

Symptoms of congestive heart failure include difficulty breathing, coughing and exercise intolerance.

The good news is a PDA is repairable with an interventional or surgical procedure that closes the open vessel. 

PDA Occlusion, Boulder Veterinarians

What can I expect on the day of the procedure and in the weeks after?

On the day the surgery is elected, your pet will be admitted in the morning given a slight sedative prior to anesthesia to help with pain and anxiety. 

After your pet is under anesthesia, an IV will then be placed in your pet so we are able to administer medications and fluids as needed. 

After a PDA occlusion, exercise restriction is recommended for 2 to 4 weeks to allow adequate healing and a followup exam is recommended 10-14 days after the surgery to assure adequate healing and remove sutures. 

Generally, any medication for congestive heart failure may be discontinued at this time. Repeat echocardiograms may be recommended if there is a concern for continued cardiac disease in the future.

What are the possible complications associated with PDA occlusion surgery?

As with any procedure requiring general anesthesia, there is a potential for an adverse reaction to the drugs being used. Poor reactions to the anesthesia can range from mild allergic reactions such as hives to more serious complications like sudden heart failure, and in rare circumstances loss of the pet. 

Complications associated with the device implantation are rare, with the most common being excessive bleeding or bruising from the incision site.

On rare occasions, the blocking device can become dislodged from the PDA and move into the arteries supplying blood to the lungs.  This tends to be tolerated well by most patients however additional surgery would be required to re-occlude the still functioning vessel. 

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