Herbert was my father’s dog who lived in Israel. I brought him home from Israel after my father passed away so I could take care of him for my dad. My dad loved Herbert or “Herbie” as he would call him. He used to call me from Israel just to talk about him. I felt that I needed to bring Herbert home with me to America and care for him for my dad. A month after I returned home with Herbert my own dog Spencer passed away. I then knew for sure that I was supposed to take care of Herbert for my dad, and my dad would care for Spencer in heaven for me. Many years ago, Dr. Joyce Herbert’s wonderful doctor noticed Herbert had a heart murmur while I took him for his checkup. He said that since Herbert was not showing any symptoms we just needed to keep an eye on things. I am blessed that Dr. Joyce picked up on it when he did, and had many conversations with me on what to expect and what we can do to help Herbert. In about 2017, Dr. Joyce noticed that his heart murmur was progressing, and after an echocardiogram he was put on Pimobendan. About 4 months later I took him to a vet cardiologist who put him on several medications to help him stay stable.
I became a member of Mighty Hearts Facebook group, and I started to consider the option of surgery. Herbert was stable for a year on his medications. October 2018 after coming back from a family vacation I noticed Herbert was coughing a lot. His breathing seemed to have changed, and was more labored. In December, after much prayer I decided to send Herbert’s information to RVC. Herbert was determined to be a candidate for surgery, and got a surgery date of June 29, 2019. Herbert’s condition began to deteriorate, and he was diagnosed with Pneumonia. He was coughing a lot and having a lot of difficulty breathing to the point where we got him an in-home oxygen tank. The vets all told me that it was a miracle that he was still with me because his heart was so enlarged. It was the largest heart they had seen! Because of his heart being so enlarged it was restricting his airway. He also had many syncope episodes. This was a very stressful time, and we all felt Herbert would not make it until the end of June. After contacting RVC on a weekly basis and having a wonderful Cardiologist Dr. Swift advocate for Herbert RVC told me they had a new opening for Herbert April 29th. I will never forget the phone call I got from Dr. Brockman when hearing that Herbert made it through Mitral Valve surgery. I could almost feel my dad’s presence with me it was a very surreal moment.
Since having surgery at RVC Herbert is like a different dog. He has a new life, and is acting like a puppy again. It’s so nice to see him run and play. Before the surgery, he couldn’t make it a few feet without being completely out of breath. My husband had to give him oxygen daily, and I even went as far as buying oxygen supplement for him just so he could breathe. Herbert’s heart is now re shaping. He barely has any leakage of his mitral valve, and his heart reduced in size. We went for his almost 3-month post op check- up, and his heart is normal size again! I never thought that would be possible because of how big his heart was before surgery. We are thankful for Mighty Hearts Project as we would have never known about this life saving surgery without Mighty Hearts.
I am thankful that my prayers were answered and I can spend more time with Herbie!
Love and Blessings, xoxo
Jennifer, David, Samantha, Alexa, Daniella, Stephy, Lola, and Oreo (Herbert’s family)
Breed: Pekingese Age: 9 Diagnosis:Stage C Surgery Date: April 29th, 2019 Hometown: Palm Beach, Florida Owner: Jennifer Roth Primary Vet: Dr. John Joyce , Regal Animal Hospital Cardiologist: Dr. Simon Swift UF, Gainesville Surgical Team: RVC, Drs. Dan Brockman & Poppy Bristow