Milo was diagnosed with MVD July 2016. I was told he didn’t need any medication; this was just part of the aging process and his heart was just reflective of his age of 10 plus years. I was told to bring him back in a year. Milo returned to Blue Pearl in August 2017 and the previous Dr. had retired and Milo was assigned to Dr. Mark Harmon. After reviewing his Eco, I was told Milo had advanced stage B2 MVD and probably had 6 to 12 months to live without medication. Even with medicine, the prognosis was death in 2 years or less. My only instructions to Dr. Harmon was to fix it. He said he couldn’t, but he knew who could. Milo was given Enalapril and Pimobendan. Dr. Harmon gave me the information to Jasmine and I started researching.
I came across the Mighty Hearts Project website and connected to the Facebook MVD support group. I poured through the resources on how to start the process. My first hurdle was getting a vet to do the health certificate. After calling what felt like every clinic in WA, Redmond-Fall City Animal Hospital agreed to take him as a new patient and help me in September 2017 get him into Japan. Next was getting the appointment with Jasmine. Dr. Sayaka scheduled Milo for March 31st 2018. With the date set, then began the waiting and the stressing out. I was stressing out over keeping him alive and affording everything. I simply prayed and acted like it was going to be ok rather than think negatively.
Shortly after Milo experienced his first of 2 episodes of congestive heart failure in November of 2017. His medicines were increased to include Furosemide and Spironolactone. In addition to that, he was on numerous Chinese herbs from Ancient Arts and supplements for heart health. Milo experienced his second episode of CHF early March 2018. By then I’d figured out how to get enough money out my 401k and within 48 hours of payment due, I got the check and wired the deposit to Japan. March 28th 2018 we took off after a mild panic were Mighty Hearts Project once again, provided me support to keep going.
After arriving in Japan, Milo was evaluated and determined to be stage C. Milo ultimately needed all seven cords in his heart replaced during surgery. After surgery, he then began experiencing a hematoma on the left side of his heart. After release from Jasmine, he also experienced a fever which sent him back to the hospital. Thankfully with much support from MHP, I had people to hold my hand as I occasionally freaked out about how to care for him after surgery. Returning home to Seattle, Milo’s left side enlargement seemed to stabilize and then began increasing throughout the year. At his last checkup on April 9th 2019, the left side had finally stop enlarging. Today he is still on Pimobendan, Amlodipine, Sildenafil and Clopidogrel.
I have had Milo since 2007 and while I’m crazy enough to think he’ll live forever, I know in reality he won’t. Yet without this surgery and the compassionate doctors at Blue Pearl, RFCAH, Ancient Arts and Jasmine as well as everyone at MHP, I wouldn’t have been blessed with another year of his presence. Milo is a whole new boy. It’s all I can due to contain him. At 12 he’s been more energetic then he was at 6 months old when I got him. From climbing the furniture, jumping out of his play yard, leaping onto counter tops to get at the roasting pan in the sink, tearing up garbage, endless braking, attempting to take on fire trucks, dogs and humans alike, he thinks he is invincible. In some ways he is. I’m just praying he slows down so his heart lasts. So we’re going back to puppy class! I literally have no choice. And I’m grateful to get to start all over with my sweet boy.