From vomiting/bloody diarrhea, Ava now has PDA -- now what? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-12-2012, 04:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default From vomiting/bloody diarrhea, Ava now has PDA -- now what?

So for all those who lend their thoughts, suggestions, prayers, and positive energy to me last week during Ava's vomiting and bloody diarrhea episode, many thanks again for being there.

As you know during the vet visits last week, they discovered that she has an abnormally large heart (say 25% larger than expected for a 10 month old). Today was the cardiologist appointment and they discovered during the ECHO that she has PDA -- Patent Ductus Arteriosus. There was a strong recommendation for surgery. Of course I read up on it and would like to hear other people's thoughts.

Prior before the cardiologist appointment, my dad had suggested that no matter what we don't do any surgery. The way the vet explained it was that it was just removing a part of the shunt that was suppose to disappear during her development in the womb. In my head it's very simple -- remove.

I'm kind of emotionally crushed that we have to go the surgery route since the vet since no medication will help. Rationally and logically I'm all for it especially given the high mortality rate if I don't do the surgery. Again, emotionally I'm upset that she would have to go through that kind of surgery and the possibility of losing her so early.

I signed a contract that the puppy has a one year health guarantee (will have to double check -- I'm at work now). I'll be notifying my breeder but what kind of support should I expect or ask of her?
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So sorry to hear of Ava's condition - it is very difficult as a pet parent to make these kinds of decisions. Thoughts to you and kisses for Ava!
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, sorry to hear this, but at least you know what it is. I only studied this briefly for human babies. I had no idea this could happen in dogs. So this is obviously a congenital condition, I hope the breeder will honor their contract.

So now about surgery, I suggest you ask what is the success rate and maybe see in humans how well / or not well the outcomes are. I thought the success rate in human infants was good, but I don't know if your dog can be compared to them as she is an older pup. Best wishes for a safe and successful procedure.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh my gosh.

Is this where they do the coils? Or have they updated/changed?

I would ask how many of the surgeries they do/how often, what are the results - averages - what the potential complications are, etc.

Sounds like good prognosis: Dogs : Patent ductus arteriosus | Vetstream

Very interesting info: Treatment of patent ductus arteriosus by the use of an Amplatz canine ductal occluder device

I like these two to read first for the basics:
Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Dogs - Page 1
Merck Veterinary Manual

How much do you like reading stuff like this? Occlusion devices and approaches in canine patent ductus arteriosus: comparison of outcomes. | ResearchGate

I know you are in NJ but I cannot say enough good things about the cardiology and surgery services at Cornell in Ithaca, NY. My dog had an AV fistula that was operated on 8 years ago this month there and they were so good. In fact, we need to go for her yearly checkup ASAP!
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, the coils.

Basically the coil will form a clot sorta thing like scar tissue or some such.

Be aware - we took a foster pup we had here in for PDA surgery, the coil first, and that did not work, so they opened her up and...well, she didn't make it. I hate to have to say that but it's something to be aware of. Whatever congenital issue she was having caused her heart tissue to be very fragile and her heart just kind of fell apart while they were in there.

And it was a lot of money - you'll need to visit a cardiac specialist or a veterinarian college most likely.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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From what I gather from the ECHO results and the doctor's note is that it seems to be like a textbook case. I had asked my dad to call me and put me on speakerphone when he went to go pick up Ava and chatted with the doctor. Of course, he forgot the phone. I have to call the vet and then most likely schedule a consultation with the surgery center to ask the questions that Jean has listed.

The cardiologist had suggested Northstar Vet in Robbinsville, NJ and recommended a surgeon there. The estimate on the surgery is $3500 -- not sure if that includes post surgery stay. I do plan on getting a second opinion. A friend of mine has a sister who is a vet and her GF is a vet too, so I plan on shooting over the results for them to weigh in.

I had read up on PDA and it seems pretty cut and dry and the outcomes of having surgery vs no surgery seems obvious. Just sort of blah about the thought of her having surgery, let alone it being on her heart, at such a young age. I told my boyfriend that if there was a higher power, I'm happy that they decided to give me the dogs at a time in my life that I can afford to take care of them. When I first brought home my lab, I was a college kid scraping by but by end of his life, I was able to afford all the heavy medical bills that came with keeping his quality of life while he fought cancer.

I will be contacting the breeder but after rereading the contract a million times, I don't think she will be able to do much. Apparently its a one year health guarantee on the hips.

Does anyone here on the board have had a dog or known a dog with PDA?
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I really found that comparison of devices report interesting.

NorthStar VETS Specialties- Cardiology
NorthStar VETS Specialties-Surgery

Not sure if any of these people are around:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/137734-patent-ductus-arteriosus.html
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/91182-murmur.html
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/117053-heart-murmur.html
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/chat-room/109839-think-good-thoughts-arthur.html
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-information/142102-pups-weight-size.html
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My previous GSD had PDA. The quote you got sounds about right. We were quoted 3K. He was 12 weeks when we found out that he had a pretty loud heart murmur. The echo shown that his heart was already abnormally large and surgery was recommended ASAP. He had a cardiac arrest before the surgery even took place -- also another genetic defect, very rare. I often thought about how he would be if the surgery was successful. The surgeon told us that success rate were high and would have been fine had it not because of other complications. My pup wasn't so lucky, but I wish you and Ava the best of luck. My thoughts are with you.


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Old 12-13-2012, 10:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Karo so sorry to hear about your pup. I'm about to call the vet to set up a surgery consultation.

Jean -- read through the links and was trying to understand your statement. I'm not well verse in this area and don't have too much of a background in discerning what is interesting. Can you share your thoughts? This would be my first experience with a major surgery for any animal as well as people. Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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After having our foster pup die on the table (2nd surgery and thousands of dollars spent to that point) my feeling was...
I wish I'd just put her on meds and kept her with us until she passed naturally or had to be put to sleep at the vet.

She could have lived every day spoiled and maybe even made it to 1-2yrs.
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