If you regularly follow my blog then you know I have two Old English Sheepdogs, who are my pride and joy. My younger one, Abby, will be a year old in a few days. We had been thinking about breeding Abby but she has a heart murmur. We’ve always been told it is mild and that she would likely out grow it, but she hasn’t.
As part of our preparations for breeding her, we wanted to get the murmur further evaluated, so we took Abby to a doggie cardiologist this week. We wanted to find out if breeding her with a murmur would have a negative impact on her health. We also wanted to have the murmur genetically evaluated because it would be irresponsible to breed her if she might pass on this trait.
So after an ultrasound of her sweet little heart, we expected that we might hear breeding Abby was not a good idea and we have been preparing ourselves for that reality. What we actually heard was far more disheartening.
Instead of a mild murmur, Abby apparently has a very serious condition called sub aortic stenosis which is a narrowing between the left ventricle and the aorta causing the left ventricle to work harder, making it difficult for blood to get out to the body. She is also at risk for the left ventricle to build up scar tissue predisposing her to problems with arrhythmia and possible sudden death. Her condition is genetic.
She is not a candidate for heart surgery to repair the defect because of its location. And, we wouldn’t have been sure we would want to put her through that anyway. So, we are going to put her on a beta blocker. The beta blocker will reduce her heart rate, thus reducing how hard her heart has to work. We also have to limit her exercise. She will require annual cardiac evaluations and her condition may or may not have a negative impact on her life span.
Needless to say, she is not a candidate for breeding. And, at this point, that is the last thing on our minds. All we want now for our dear Abby, is a happy life and hopefully a long one. But I cannot deny that I am full of fear for her and sad beyond words.