Peanut Gallivan

 Our little Peanut is a Havanese.  She is sable coloured and very pretty.  We got her as a puppy from Thunder Bay, Ontario in August 2011.  She arrived on a WestJet flight full of life and even so full of energy.  She was tiny but she was mighty.  She was the runt of her litter and only slightly less than 3 lbs when she arrived.  Her sister Sydney was not at all sure she liked her but now they are great friends.

Peanut was always healthy and always happy.   She had a bladder infection in March 2016 and had two very large bladder stones removed a few months later.  Other than that she was completely healthy.

In November 2018 she had a cough.   At first we thought it would go away, it didn’t.  We took her to the vet a week later and were told she had a heart murmur and that there was nothing that could be done except medication to prolong her life slightly.  We were told that this was terminal, there was no surgery or other treatment available and they did not know how long she would live.

This visit was followed by a visit for an ultra sound that confirmed she had MVD and she was given furosemide and pimobendin.

After sitting home devastated for a few days I hit the internet, I could not believe that no one could fix a defective heart valve in an otherwise healthy dog.  That’s when I found Mighty Hearts Project and learned about the Mitral Valve Repair surgery.  I soon learned about Dr. Uechi in Japan and then Dr. Brockman in London. I then proceeded to learn everything I possibly could about the mitral valve, the surgery and the surgeons who performed the surgery.

I was shocked, to say the least, after being told that there was nothing that could help Peanut to find that there was a way to repair her heart.  I then found a cardiologist.  The closest one to us was a three hour drive at the University of Prince Edward Island.  We had an appointment in 2 weeks and met a wonderful team there, headed by Dr. Etienne Cote.  Dr. Cote was very knowledgeable and was familiar with the surgery.  He thought it would be a good option (the only) for Peanut and encouraged us to make contact with London and Japan to see if they considered Peanut a candidate for surgery.

In January 2019 I had my first contact with RVC and knew immediately upon talking to Dr. Brockman that we were in good hands.  Although the decision to go to London was easy, the process was a challenge. 

On April 3, 2019, I flew to London with Peanut.  She had been hospitalized twice during this time with a respiratory rate exceeding 80 breaths per minute.  Both times were short stays and she was given Lasix intravenously and sent home.  She was put on spironolactone during this time and was closely monitored by our cardiology team at UPEI (they called us every two days for updates!).

On April 9, 2019, I dropped her off at RVC and left in tears.  Approximately 5 hours later I received the wonderful news from Dr. Brockman that Peanut had come through her surgery with flying colors and was breathing on her own.  Due to a variety of factors, I actually got to see Peanut that afternoon around 3:00 pm.  She was in the ICU in an oxygen tent with lots of monitors and tubes but sitting up and, except for being a bit groggy, she looked like our Peanut.

From that point forward she improved dramatically every day.  The only complication that they discovered was a mark on her lung that was biopsied.  Although we did not find out what that was, we did find out that it was not cancerous – that was all that really matter since her breathing was remarkably healthy.

Peanut came home to Harpenden House 7 days after surgery.  7 days after that we traveled home to Nova Scotia, Canada.  She has remained on blood thinners and pimobendin for three months.

Peanut had her first post op echo in May and all is going very well.  She will soon have her 3 month echo which we hope will go equally well and hope will result in taking her off of her medications.

We cannot thank, RVC, Dr. Brockman, Dr. Bristow and their team and everyone at Mighty Hearts enough for all they did for us and our girl.  Along the way we met some wonderful people, made some lifetime friends and, had a fantastic time in a small town called Harpenden.

Breed: Havanese Age: 8 Diagnosis:Stage C Surgery Date: April 9th, 2019 Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Owner: Lisa Gallivan Primary Vet: Dr. Elizabeth Croft , Halifax Veterinary Hospital Cardiologist: Dr. Etienne Cote & Dr. Lynn O’Sullivan , University of Prince Edward Island Surgical Team: RVC, Drs. Dan Brockman & Poppy Bristow

Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs | Mighty Hearts Project