9/16/20: Please welcome Athena! She was turned over to us by her breeder because she has a heart murmur. She is currently four weeks old. We are not certain at this time how extensive her heart issue is. She will see the cardiologist once she is eight weeks old. We will be able to determine at that time with an echocardiogram what the issue is and how we need to move forward to help her.
10/20/20: Based on today’s echocardiogram, Athena has been diagnosed with ventricular septal defect (VSD). This is a small hole between the right and left ventricles (lower heart chambers). This results in flow from the left ventricle entering the right ventricular outflow tract and extra blood volume reaching the lungs – which can result in pulmonary overcirculation and left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF) if severe.
At this time, she has evidence of left-sided heart enlargement indicating an increased risk for complications such as congestive heart failure. Her breathing does not suggest that congestive heart failure is currently present. We will move forward with chest x-rays to rule out the presence of heart failure. Many dogs with small VSDs live a completely normal life span. However, if progressive heart enlargement is noted and congestive heart failure develops, the long-term prognosis is poor.
VSD’s are typically not closed surgically in dogs, but they can occasionally be closed based on the location. Other interventional procedures can sometimes be used to help dogs with severe complications from their VSD (pulmonary artery banding, for example). We will consult with a cardiologist at UGA vet school to see if she is a candidate for surgery to repair the VSD.
11/1/20: We spoke with the cardiologist at UGA vet school and they want to see Athena when she is six months old. We are hoping we will know at that time if she is a candidate for surgery.
11/11/20: Athena is 12 weeks old and weighs 14.8 pounds!
Athena is not available for adoption at this time but we appreciate your support in our journey to help her live her best life.