Pomeranian Health Profile And Tricky Hereditary Problems

The Pomeranian is a pretty healthy breed, with a lot fewer possible conditions than you would expect in a toy dog. This is quite surprising and it goes to show what an excellent job the Pomeranian breeders have done.

But it makes sense; the list of hereditary diseases a ball of fur can possibly be susceptible to is bound to be minimal. And ironically, there’s a condition called black skin disease in which the Pomeranian’s fur falls but doesn’t grow back.

But seriously, this is a testament of how sturdy and healthy a dog you could use for biceps training (it has the added challenge of chewing your fingers) can be. So anyway, today we are going to talk about PDA. No, not public display of affection; but Patent Ductus Arteriosus.

Patent ductus arteriosus in Pomeranians

Pomeranian Toy Dog PDATo put it simply, at birth, a mammal must adapt from living in the amniotic fluid of the mother’s uterus, where one acquires oxygen from blood, to good old-fashioned breathing. The DA (no, not district attorney), which is the ductus arteriosus, is a very important, albeit small, blood vessel which facilitates this process.

There is quite a little bit of technicality regarding what happens during the moments immediately before and after birth. Suffice to say, the DA closes completely within a few days.

Problems appear when it doesn’t close. The dog is then left with patent ductus arteriosus. What happens is heart overload because of unnecessary recirculation of blood. It causes congestive heart failure well before the normal lifespan. Most often within two years of birth.

What does this mean to you and your Pomeranian?

Since the disease is often fatal within two years, any suspicions of PDA must be researched and confirmed or infirmed immediately. The tricky part is that there are no symptoms until permanent heart damage has already occurred. Tests are required to diagnose the seriousness of the condition and whether or not the dog needs surgery.

Most often, that is to say 98% of the time, the shunt is from the left to the right side of the heart and, consequently, an increase in blood volume to the lungs leads to labored breathing, poor oxygenation and greatly reduced tolerance to exercise.

In the other cases, the shunt is right to left, resulting in some blood bypassing the lungs entirely. This blood is poorly oxygenated but it is circulated nonetheless. Dogs with this kind of PDA stop during a walk and are reluctant to start again.

Is there treatment for PDA in Pomeranians?

Fortunately, if diagnosed early enough, there is hope. In left to right PDA, surgery is recommended. It used to be a thoracotomy (open-chest procedure, complicated stuff), now it’s just a deployment of an Amplatzer canine ductal occluder (no, I don’t know what that means either).

The point is it’s a much simpler procedure, a lot less invasive and is as successful as the old method. In right to left PDA treatment includes exercise restriction, being in a relaxed, non-stressed state and medication.

The top concern with this condition is actually diagnosing it before it’s too late. The veterinarian will listen for a murmur that sounds similar to a machine at which point X-rays of the chest and an echocardiogram are necessary. Be aware of this possibility and your Pomeranian is sure to live a long and happy life.

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