Keyhole surgery for heart disease in dogs

Published on: 27th February 2020

Pulmonic stenosis is a common congenital condition heart disease in dogs. Presently we are seeing this condition most commonly in French Bulldogs and spaniels. Pulmonic stenosis means that the valve in the artery leading to the lungs is narrowed and this increases the workload of the right side of the heart.  If the valve is severely narrowed it is likely that the dog will develop heart failure often at a young age.

Pulmonic stenosis can often be alleviated by a procedure called balloon valvuloplasty where a small balloon on the end of a plastic catheter is passed through a small hole in the skin from a vein in the neck or hindlimb into the region of the narrowed valve and then the balloon is temporarily inflated to widen the narrowed valve.

The image shows a balloon in the narrowed valve and, as the valve widens, the balloon loses it’s waist showing successful dilation of the valve.

As the skin incision is very small, post-operative care and discomfort is usually minimal.

Another common congenital heart disease is patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) where there is a connection between the two main arteries leaving the heart.  Recently we have seen this condition in several chihuahuas and it is also more common in female dogs. If left untreated, the increased flow to the left side of the heart tends to result in heart failure at a young age. However if the PDA is successfully closed then the prognosis is generally very good.

The device in the image is called an ACDO. This device comes flat in a protected sheath which allows it to be introduced via an artery in the hindlimb into the abnormal PDA. Once in the correct position the device is deployed and takes this shape thereby plugging the abnormal vessel.

This picture shows the device successfully placed in the PDA and the dye (dark area) in the aorta is no longer reaching the pulmonary artery which runs below it.

We are looking forward to offering these procedures at our new surgery in Etwall.