Today we are looking at what happens when a routine vet appointment unearths a condition that you may be unaware your dog has.
What Are Arteriovenous Fistulas in Dogs?
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In other words, your veterinarian has informed you that your dog has an arteriovenous fistula and that it is possible that they were born with this rare ailment.
It can be frightening just to hear the name of this ailment, but is it truly so frightening, or is this a large word for a minor problem?
How far along your pet’s condition has progressed will determine the response to this question.
Putting it simply, an arteriovenous fistula is an irregular blood flow between a vein and an artery caused by a fistula (an opening or passage).
This disorder is most commonly caused by a traumatic injury and occurs when a fistula is created.
This can cause the flow of blood from the heart in the affected location to bypass the capillary bed if the fistula is not treated and is allowed to continue to expand unabated.
Your pup’s heart will have to work even harder as a result of the shortage of blood in the area, as it attempts to push more blood into the area in order to keep it properly oxygenated.
Although this may provide temporary relief, if the problem persists, your dog may develop what is known as “high-output” congestive heart failure, which occurs as a result of the heart working harder than it is supposed to for an extended period of time.
An Arteriovenous Fistula can occur anywhere in the body of your dog.
In contrast to certain illnesses that tend to manifest themselves in a very specific area of the body, an arteriovenous fistula can manifest itself in any part of your dog’s body, from the limbs to the brain or any one of several essential organs.
Your dog may have been born with this problem, but it is far more likely that they were subjected to some type of injury to the blood vessels at the place where your veterinarian discovered a fistula in your dog.
It is possible that the injury was caused by anything from falling from a high place to being hit by a ball while playing football (dogs are very susceptible to this type of injury).
Another possibility is that a secondary condition, such as a tumor, surgery, or blood draw, resulted in the formation of the fistula.
This means that it is entirely feasible that the same veterinarian who treats your dog was the one who unwittingly triggered the condition.
Remember that no matter what the origin of the fistula is, you must take your dog to the veterinarian for treatment immediately since it will only worsen if you do not act quickly.
Arteriovenous Fistula: Diagnosis and Management
In order for your veterinarian to detect an arteriovenous fistula in your dog, he or she must conduct a complete and thorough examination of your pup, which may include an ultrasound and echocardiogram (ECG).
This will assist him in determining the precise location of the fistula as well as the size of the fistula. Afterward, your veterinarian will be able to determine the most effective strategy to correct the condition.
When it comes to treating your pup’s arteriovenous fistula, your veterinarian has a variety of alternatives to choose from. First, he will have surgery, during which he will hopefully be able to repair the fistula.
Even while surgery is frequently quite beneficial, it is not without its own set of risks, which include severe blood loss, recurrence of the ailment, and the loss of the affected limb.
The introduction of a catheter into the fistula itself has been possible in recent years, providing a new therapy option for patients suffering from this condition.
Transcatheter embolization is a procedure in which a catheter is used to stop the flow of blood into a fistula and redirect it back to where it should be.
The good news is that this surgery is less intrusive and has a far greater rate of success than other options available.
In order to ensure that the arteriovenous fistula does not recur, your pet will need to be visited by your veterinarian for a number of follow-up examinations after it has been successfully treated for it.
Although there are just a few things you can do to avoid the establishment of an arteriovenous fistula, the most important thing you can do is make sure your pet does not suffer any type of traumatic injury while you are watching over him or her.
If you have any questions or suspect that your dog may be suffering from an arteriovenous fistula, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.