Samson Ward


Samson was diagnosed with MVD at stage B2 in late July 2018. He had a heart murmur that had escalated from a grade 1/2 murmur to a 4/5 during the first half of 2018. He had been on a low dose of Enalapril to help his blood pressure ever since the mild murmur had started one year prior. He was prescribed Vetmedin by Dr. Dugan and I requested a referral to cardiology. We were told there was a 5 month wait for an appointment with cardiology. After Samson began the Vetmedin I saw improvement in his energy and demeanor.

At the end of August, Samson had a mild episode of congestive heart failure. I rushed him to the emergency vet clinic, where they confirmed my fears of CHF and he stayed overnight receiving furosemide and being closely monitored. I contacted the cardiologist and expressed how his condition had escalated. Fortunately, they had a cancellation and were able to see us 2 days later. They added furosemide to Samson's daily regimen. We had to closely monitor his kidney values due to being on 3 prescriptions. I was told Samson had 10-12 months to live.

By this point, I had already researched surgical options and was considering MVR surgery for Samson. Both my primary care vets and my cardiologist supported me in my decision to take Samson to London for the MVR surgery, despite the fact they did not have much first-hand experience with MVR surgery patients. Dr. Dan Brockman was incredible, as was Poppy Bristow and the entire team at the Royal Veterinary College. We were originally offered a surgery date in February, but a cancellation opened up a December 3rd date which I accepted. Samson was technically at stage 3 when he went for surgery because he had the isolated episode of CHF.

Jessica Ward with Samson and Dr. Dan Brockman

Jessica Ward with Samson and Dr. Dan Brockman

Samson's health was always great before the heart murmur. He is a very active dog that goes everywhere with me. He loves to travel and loves to fly (I'm a pilot). Samson recovered very quickly after surgery. He did not have any torn chords, according to Poppy, only stretched ones. Both Dan and Poppy were impressed with his results. By the time we were ready to leave the UK to return home Samson's heart murmur was inaudible and his heart had completely shrunk back down to its normal size.

Samson’s one month follow up with our cardiologist revealed more great news. They were barely able to detect a trace of regurgitation on the echo and all his numbers were perfect. I could not be happier. I am so thankful I found the Mighty Hearts Project website and was able to save my baby. 

Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs | Mighty Hearts Project