SENECA, SC.....Adorable Latte is a 10-month-old Wire-Haired Terrier that was surrendered to the Oconee County Animal Shelter. The Owner said they did not have any time for her. Latte had not been given any medical care since she was born and was now Heartworm positive at ten months old. We were contacted to help Latte when the Shelter discovered she had a Heart Condition.
Latte was taken to CVRC in Charleston, SC to see our Cardiologist, Dr. Sophy Jesty. When she arrived, she was immediately taken to the ER to make sure she was stable. She was then given to Dr. Jesty, where she did an Echo and a full Cardiac work-up. Latte does have Stage I Heartworm Disease, but that is not what is causing her heart problems. She has a PDA (patent ductus arterious) which is a blood vessel that should have closed at birth but didn't, leading to severe heart dilation. If the duct were left open, Latte likely would have congestive heart failure within the next six months and would have had a significantly shortened life expectancy.
We managed to get Latte stable so she could have her PDA surgery. She was put on medication to help her heart until the procedure. There are two ways to close a PDA, in the Cath Lab or Open Heart Surgery. There are devices that can be deployed from within the duct to block abnormal blood flow; these are called occluders. We recommend closure of ducts in the Cath Lab using occluders because there are much lower risks to the dogs when the duct is closed this way, as opposed to open chest surgery. Five percent of dogs going through open chest duct surgery will die during the procedure because it is so technically challenging. We chose the more expensive and safer route by having the PDA closed with Dr. Jesty in the Cath Lab.
In the Cath Lab, Dr. Jesty put a catheter into Latte's femoral artery in her groin, and through the catheter put dye into her aorta to outline blood flow across the duct. She then measured the duct in order to choose the right size occluder, but Latte's duct was much too large to close in the Cath Lab. The collapsed occluders need to fit through the catheter in the femoral artery, and because Latte is a small dog, the catheter necessary to allow passage of the right sized occluder was much too big for her femoral artery. Latte has a massive duct for her size. Dr. Jesty had no choice but to hand her off to Surgery to perform open chest surgery.
Dr. Rachel Seibert took over Latte's Surgery and was able to close the duct more effectively by doing open heart surgery. We have posted a video of little Latte's heart beating during this delicate procedure. Each procedure has its risks but doing one right after the other meant this sweet pup was under anesthesia for almost six hours. It was a long day filled with lots of anxiety about the outcome for Latte. At some point, I was not sure if the day was ever going to end. The surgery did end with what we believe will be a good outcome.
Critical Care Hospitals are essential for the abuse cases we take on. We have no choice but to use the ones with the highest ratings because of situations like this. We do not know the history of the dogs we take on, and complications happen all the time. Latte is a young pup that now has the rest of her Life ahead because of these procedures. It costs thousands of dollars to get this kind of care even after deep discounts. One procedure was going to be expensive enough but then to have to do Open Heart Surgery on top of that to get the PDA closed was way out of our monetary reach.
We did what we had to do to save Latte. She is recovering from her procedures but will have several weeks to get back on her feet. Six hours of anesthesia would take any dog a long time to recover. We are expecting Latte to do exceptionally well from her procedures. It will take her a little longer because they had to go into her chest cavity. The good news is she now has the rest of her Life to run and play and be a puppy.
We are going into the 4th of July Celebrations where no one thinks about anything but setting off Fireworks and Celebrating. Before you start celebrating, please Donate toward this beautiful pup. Be considerate of our animal companions and keep them safe during this time of year.