Ralph’s Heart Hole Success

Ralph, a very sweet working cocker spaniel puppy at 14-weeks old was diagnosed with a heart murmur by his primary care vet so was referred to Valentina Palermo our Head of Cardiology in Winchester to investigate further.

Ralph’s echocardiographic examination showed that he had patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). PDA is one of the most common cardiac problems in dogs. A PDA is an issue that is caused by a foetal vessel (the ductus arteriosus) failing to close at birth. The ductus carries blood away from the foetus’ lungs and usually closes at birth. If it remains open, then some blood that should travel from the left heart to the body, via the aorta, is diverted into the pulmonary artery and travels first to the lungs and then returns back to the left side of the heart, causing a left-sided volume overload.

PDAs can either be closed by a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure or by open chest surgery. Ralph had the first option. He was anaesthetised and monitored by our Specialist-led team and an ACDO device was implanted, blocking the PDA. The procedure was completed without any complications, and Ralph recovered well. After the implantation there was no blood flow through the PDA and his continuous heart murmur disappeared.

The team repeated Ralph’s scan the day after the procedure; you could clearly see that the device was in place and there was no abnormal blood flow through the PDA. He was a very sweet, lovely dog and the nurses enjoyed caring for him while he was with us in Winchester.

His owners were really pleased that the procedure was successful and the good news is that the vast majority of dogs who have successful PDA closures go on to life normal lives with normal lifespans.

Ralph came back to see us three months later for a check-up and was doing really well and has now stopped all of his cardiac medications.

His owner said “We can’t be more grateful for the care he received.”

We have Puppy Heart Murmur clinics with our cardiologists that regularly identify the cause of heart murmurs before they become greater heart problems as the dog grows up, to find out more please click here.