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Cardiac Disorders - SAS/PDA

Heart Clearances: Will Only Doppler Clearances Do For Breeding Newfoundlands?

by Pam Rubio

I had some disturbing results with hearts from my last litter and would like to get this information out to breeders. I feel that this is information that anyone who breeds should be aware of, as the implications are enormous. In my opinion we need to echo/doppler all breeding stock from now on! I bred a four-year-old bitch who had been cardiologist cleared as a puppy and as an adult by auscultation, to a stud who was cardiologist cleared. This was my bitch's first litter and she whelped seven puppies by C-Section due to uterine inertia. One puppy was euthanized two days later with severe PDA. He had stopped nursing and was extremely lethargic. At a little over three weeks, the tiny female was taken to the vet office gasping for air. The "post" indicated the likelihood of SAS. My regular vet detected murmurs on two more of the puppies when he did their first exams, vaccinations and worming at six weeks, one of them severe. When the cardiologist screened the litter at nine weeks, I asked him to echo/doppler the two puppies with murmurs and my bitch. He wanted to wait a month on the puppy with the grade 2-3 murmur, found both PDA and SAS on the puppy with the severe murmur and felt that there was no reason to echo/doppler my bitch, since he couldn't detect a murmur and had never detected a murmur on her (he did her puppy and adult screening and has an excellent ear). Well, I insisted that she be echo/dopplered and we were all shocked by what was found. Though it was not typical SAS, he had to call it that, and her velocities certainly were above normal. Even when he knew it was there, he still could not detect a murmur! I would be glad to send copies of the report and put those of you who are interested in touch with the cardiologist. I'm just concerned about how many other dogs/bitches are out there who are being/have been bred, that we think of as being cardiologist cleared. Thank you for your attention to this matter. 



Reprinted from NewfTide 2003

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