Turgon's Surgery Story


Today is a special day for me and my family. One year ago today we received a devastating news as our friend had mitral valve disease (MVD) at a very advanced stage (5/6 murmur, dilated atrium and ruptured chords). How it could be possible? He went from nothing to probably one year left. Our cardiologist was, as I was, aware of the surgery.  When I asked about it she did not agree and finally added 'It depends on the size of your pocket'. This was the last time we went to see her.

Two months later Turgon had an appointment with Dr. Sabine in Versailles. She is so kind and competent! As we expected, Turgon was at C stage, but he never fully went into congestive heart failure thanks to proper treatment (pimobendan, benazepril and diuretics).

Tania with Turgon at the JASMINE clinic

Tania with Turgon at the JASMINE clinic

We contacted Japan for the surgery and Dr. Sayaka gave us a date - October 3rd. I remember those months waiting as a really hard time. We also received a message that as Turgon was so big (18 kg), there was not going to be sufficient blood in case of acute hemorrhage. This was of course a concern for us, and we moved earth and sky to find a donor in Japan, but without success. So we moved forward to surgery knowing this risk. I remember that day of surgery, I held my breath for 7 hours. Dr Uechi confirmed us how bad his valve was, as he had 4 ruptured chords. I visited my boy after surgery and I was so happy this first step was finally behind us.

During his stay, Turgon developped anemia, he was not eating so they asked us to come to the clinic 3 times a day to give him some food. So we did, and 3 days after he was feeling better... so much better that it was impossible to keep him in the hospital any longer. He had a lot of energy and was continuously trying to get out of the oxygen cage. We were asked to take him home and come back to the clinic everyday to check his vitals.


After the 6th day, Turgon developed acute hepatitis. We were very scared after they told us his liver numbers were sky high (more than 100 times normal values) and it was maybe a toxic reaction to a drug or the effect of bypass. We went to the clinic for 6 more days so that Turgon was able to receive intravenous liquid. We stayed with him in a separate room for 12 hours a day. Three days after they started the treatment, his liver values started decreasing, a sign that he was responding well. Finally we could got to take him home two days before our departing flight to return home.

We managed to keep him calm most of the time during the first three months and he slept most of the day (~20 hours a day). One month after the surgery his liver values were normal, his lungs clear, his regurgitation now mild-to-moderate (25-30%) and heart murmur of 3. Three months after surgery the ventricle of his heart was normal, and the atrium significantly decreased. However, Turgon has developed a significant cough that was misinterpreted by his regular vet on x-rays as pulmonary edema.  Dr. Sabine, who is following him thinks it could be bronchitis. He is on medication for this, and his cough went from wet to dry. Today my boy is not on heart pills or diuretics and we are patiently waiting for his 6 month check-up.

Turgon at home!

Turgon at home!

I have learned a lot during this past year, about me, about my family, about friends. I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart the people that stayed close to me during these hard months: Kaori, Nate, Marla, Desiree and very specially Madeline and Carol. If distance was not a barrier, I would hug them for a long time. Also, If I have not published this before it is because of the immense respect and love I have for friends who have lost their soul mate. May their love never leave them.

Thanks again to all the doctors who made this surgery possible.  Dr. Uechi and his team in Japan, and Dr. Sabine for following my boy with so much love in her heart. May this week be filled with successful surgeries and smooth recoveries.

Kind regards,

Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs | Mighty Hearts Project