Dogs have been considered to be “Man’s best friend.” This goes a long way to explaining the close connection and relationship between man and dogs. Undoubtedly, dogs are as subject to illness as humans are.
Therefore, some of these illnesses must be detected early enough to be properly treated. One such illness is pulmonary stenosis; if your dog has been diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis, then this article is right for you.
Pulmonary stenosis is one of the most common canine congenital heart defects that affect dogs and requires prompt treatment once detected.
What is Pulmonary Stenosis
According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary, Pulmonary stenosis is a congenital heart defect of the semilunar valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery (the great vessel that takes blood to the lungs). At this point, the leaflets of this valve are thickened and partially fused.
Pulmonary Stenosis is simply a malformation of the Pulmonic valve, leading to an obstruction of blood flow from the heart to the lungs. It is considered one of the most common congenital heart defects in dogs. It is also classified as a hereditary condition. This is why breeding affected animals with other animals is highly discouraged.
How is Pulmonary Stenosis Detected?
Pulmonary stenosis can be diagnosed or discovered when a stethoscope is placed on the chest to listen to the dog’s heartbeat. The discovery of a heart murmur during the early busts by a veterinary doctor is the first way to diagnose it.
Sometimes, the murmur may appear not to be obvious or look normal. Most times, how loud the murmur is, collocates the level of severity of this heart disease.
What to do once your dog is diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis?
When your dog is diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis, immediate steps must be taken to ascertain the severity of the pulmonary stenosis, and treatment is commenced. This is important because a dog with pulmonary stenosis may only live 8 more years if not treated. It is therefore important that you consult a registered veterinarian doctor.
The dog must undergo some tests.
Balloon valvuloplasty is the treatment used for valvular pulmonic stenosis. It is not all dogs with this defect that this procedure can help. Some dogs have dramatic improvement, while others have adequate results. To determine the severity of the case, it is necessary to make the dog undergo any of the following types of tests, namely;
Complete Doppler ultrasound scan of the heart
This is referred to as an “echocardiographic examination”, this test determines whether a dog will undergo the treatment with balloon valvuloplasty.
Radiography and angiocardiography.
An echocardiographic examination gives indicators of dogs that are most likely to be helped. This treatment involves the passage under general anesthesia of special catheters, which, when an attached balloon is inflated, tears the restricted valve leaflets. Measurements of the pressure gradient before and after treatment give information about the success of the treatment.
Radiography uses x-rays to provide information as it relates and regards the shape of the silhouette of the heart and the size. On the other hand, angiocardiography is a type of radiography that employs the use of contrast (dye), which is injected into the vasculature to see the stenosis. This is done when using the balloon valvuloplasty means of treatment.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is required to further characterize dogs with pulmonic stenosis, but most often than not, this test is usually not as important as the physical examination, radiograph, and echocardiogram. Other tests may be ordered to determine other body systems’ status and ensure that all are functioning adequately.
Some dogs may be treated with beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., atenolol) either with or without the balloon valvuloplasty.
There is, therefore, the need to frequently take the dog for a regular re-examination. This is based upon the severity of the disease, the response to treatment, and the status of other body systems. Usually, after the balloon valvuloplasty, a dog is examined 3 months later and yearly.
It is important to note that pulmonary stenosis is not a death sentence and can be treated; interestingly, 80% of dogs that have pulmonary stenosis survive after going through the balloon valvuloplasty treatment.