Certain large blood vessels present in the developing fetus normally disappear before birth. When parts of these vessels remain after birth, they can trap the windpipe and esophagus (passage to the stomach) in a tough, fibrous ring and interfere with normal passage of air and food.
Puppies and kittens with persistent right aortic arch eat normally but have difficulty swallowing, vomit undigested food shortly after eating, are short of breath, and grow more slowly than their littermates. These signs usually appear just after weaning, when the young begin to eat solid foods.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Persistent right aortic arch is treated surgically by freeing the esophagus and windpipe from the encircling structures. The chances for total recovery depend on whether the esophagus has been permanently damaged and whether the nerve supply in the area is normal.