Our pet of the month for this month has traveled many miles and visited many vets to be back with us today completely cured!
The story of Bandit began with him visiting us for his first puppy vaccination at 8 weeks of age. At this examination it was discovered that he had a significant heart murmur. This is not an abnormal finding in puppies, and in most cases it resolves without any intervention as the puppy becomes older. In Bandit’s case however, the heart murmur did not improve, and was severe enough that it could be felt through his chest wall if he was lifted or held, and he seemed a little sleepier than he should be.
By the time Bandit was 4 months old, with no sign of the heart murmur improving, it was decided to refer him to WAVES, a veterinary specialist facility in Perth. A cardiac work-up at WAVES revealed the Bandit suffered from a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (or PDA). This meant that a small blood vessel that exists in the heart of all newborn puppies which normally closes in the first few days of life, had not closed properly in Bandit, and so was redirecting his blood flow and making his heart work increasingly harder to perform its job. Approximately half of the puppies born with PDA do not live beyond 12 months of age unless it is repaired.
The only way to fix a PDA is to stop the blood vessel from flowing. Traditionally this has meant opening up the chest of the dog and tying off the offending vessel, a painful and high risk operation. Recently a newer procedure has been developed that involves a small device (called a canine ductal occluder) being placed into the blood vessel via a small incision in a hind leg artery. This procedure is performed under x-ray guidance and has the advantage of not having to surgically enter the chest. The disadvantage is that it can only be performed by a specialist cardiologist in Melbourne!
So, you guessed it, earlier this year, Bandit and his dad flew to Melbourne to meet Dr Richard Woolley from Cardio-Respiratory Pet Referrals. Dr Richard confirmed the presence of Bandit’s PDA, and fitted him with his very own canine ductal occluder to stop the blood vessel from flowing. The procedure was a complete success, and Bandit has made a full recovery. Since the operation he has gained weight and is much more energetic. He will need another heart ultrasound in 6 month’s time, but we expect him to now live out a long, happy and full life with his loving owners.
Congratulations on such an amazing journey and successful outcome, Bandit!