Causes of Canine Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Arterial shunts are normal in fetal animals (including people), but they should close within a short time of birth. A patent ductus arteriosus is one of the most common congenital heart defects in dogs (congenital defects are those which are present at birth). Unfortunately, little is known about why PDA develops so frequently in domestic dogs. It may be influenced by a number of factors or combinations of factors, including environmental, infectious, nutritional, pharmaceutical and/or toxicological factors, among others. Usually, the exact causes of PDA are never determined. However, there are strong genetic factors which predispose certain dogs to retain a patent ductus arteriosus, especially in some smaller dog breeds. This is considered to be an inherited disorder by most veterinary cardiologists.
Affected dogs should not be bred and should be spayed or neutered once they are stable enough for elective surgery. There is no other known way to prevent patent ductus arteriosus in companion dogs.