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Matters of the Heart: Congenital heart disease

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Humans and animals often have similar health problems. One example of this is Congenital Heart Disease. Congenital Heart Disease refers to a problem the animal is born with. There are multiple types of Congenital Heart Disease: valve malformations or dysplasia, valve narrowing or stenosis, abnormal openings between the heart chambers or septal defects, and patent ductusarteriosus.
Patent ductusarteriousus is the most common among dogs, said Dr. Ashley Saunders, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
“There are anumber of diseases that your dog can be born with, patent ductusarteriosus is the most common in dogs,” she said.
PDA is caused when the ductusarteriosus, an arterial connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery, doesn’t close properly after birth, Saunders said. This results in blood being pumped back through the artery instead of through the rest of the body.
Saunders added that different breeds such as German shepherds, miniature poodles, cocker spaniels, Pomeranians, collies, and Shetland sheepdogs are more susceptible to the disorder. Female dogs are also predisposed to the disorder.
Most dogs with PDA have a heart murmur that the veterinarian will hear upon routine checkup.


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