Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Cardiovascular Disorders

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

General Information
The developing fetus within the womb does not use its own lungs to mix blood and oxygen. Instead, it receives oxygen-rich blood from its mother through placental circulation. A blood vessel (the ductus arteriosus) in the unborn fetus bypasses the lungs to send blood to the rest of the body. Only a small amount of fetal blood flows through the lungs.

Normally, the ductus arteriosus closes within a few hours of birth. In some animals, the ductus does not close, and blood continues to bypass the lungs and not pick up oxygen. A human infant with patent ductus arteriosus is called a “blue baby.”

This defect occurs more in Poodles, Collies, Pomeranians, and Shetland Sheepdogs than in other breeds. Many affected pups die of heart failure within the first few weeks of life, but most affected pets that live to 8 weeks of age survive into adulthood. When the bypass is small, the dog may live a normal life without ever showing any ill effects. Patent ductus arteriosus also occurs in cats.

Important Points in Treatment
1. Surgical closure is the only means of correcting patent ductus arteriosus. Medical therapy helps stabilize animals in heart failure only for short periods.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.