Leyna is a lovely 8 year old Weimeraner who is normally very bright and active. But she became very lethargic and also started limping. Her first opinion/primary care vet found that Leyna had a high temperature, but unfortunately she did not get better with a course of antibiotics. When her vet re-examined Leyna she found that she now also had a heart murmur that had not been heard before, and referred her to Wear Referrals.
Because her symptoms were very suspicious for a heart infection, Brian Love, the cardiologist at Wear Referrals examined Leyna’s heart by ultrasound, and this showed that one of her heart valves was very lumpy because it had become infected. This is a very serious condition called endocarditis, and it can cause three main problems.
The first problem is the infection in the heart, which was making Leyna feel very unwell. This infection can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream, and in Leyna’s case had spread to one of her joints making her lame.
The infection also damages the heart valve making it leaky, and the cardiologist could see that Leyna’s valve was leaking quite badly. The blood leaking through the valve is what was causing her heart murmur. But luckily in this case the leak was not bad enough to cause her heart to fail.
The third problem that sometime occurs is when a small clot from the infected lump in the heart breaks off and is carried through the blood stream to other organs. Leyna was really unlucky and shortly after being seen at Wear Referrals she also suffered a stroke when a small clot was carried to her brain. This made her feel very confused and wobbly for a few days.
But Leyna is a real fighter, and with intravenous antibiotic treatment and intensive round-the-clock nursing in Wear Referrals’ intensive care unit, after the first few touch-and-go days she started to pull through. Then after a long course of antibiotics she made a full recovery. Although she has been left with a permanently leaky heart valve, this is not causing any problems and she will continue to have this monitored by the Wear Referrals’ cardiologist.
It is absolutely fantastic to see her back to her playful and active self !