Samy Rodriguez

In September 2018, Samy had an episode of congestive heart failure. After a visit from his Vet, David made calls to obtain all information he could find on MVR. Fortunately, David connected with Nate Estes who recommended that we contact Dr. Masami Uechi at the JASMINE Clinic as an option for Samy’s surgery. David began researching the requirements and process for a possible trip to Japan for Samy’s procedure.

On October 25, 2018, David sent an email message to JASMINE Clinic, Attention: Dr. Masami Uechi. Samy’s medical information was provided to Dr. Uechi from his Vet Cardiologist, Dr. Yuhas. Dr. Uechi in return sent us information regarding the Quarantine process, payment and screening tests required before a determination can be made if Samy would be a candidate for surgery

On January 8, 2019 we received notification from JASMINE Clinic of tentative dates for Samy. His Pre-op appointment was scheduled for April 18 at 1:00 pm and Mitral Valve Repair surgery was scheduled for April 22 at 11:00 am.

An issue that we needed to address was having to register Samy as an Emotional Support Animal in order to have him in the cabin for the flight over to Japan. On February 7 we registered Samy with ESA Registration of America, completed a questionnaire and followed-up with a conference call with the ES Therapist. This process was necessary so that the Emotional Support Letter could be issued and presented to the ANA Airline special services representative, This was necessary to ensure our Samy could safely travel in the cabin without risking his health during our travel.

Arrangements were confirmed with Ms. Atsuko Kojima for use of an AirBnb apartment in Azamino for our dates requested. During this time, required forms were completed and sent to the Chief Animal Quarantine Services at Haneda Airport, Japan. A very helpful recommendation from Nate Estes was to arrange transportation from the Pet Taxi Services provided by Mr. Izu.

On April 9 we received approval from USA Agricultural Services, with certification and seal on our Import documents for the Animal Quarantine Services.

On April 15 we arrived in Tokyo, Haneda Airport. We went directly to the Animal Quarantine Services area and provided the required paperwork for approval. We were also given the export quarantine certificate form to complete and told to make appointment prior to departure from Japan.

We attended Samy’s pre-op appointment with Dr. Sayaka Takeuchi on April 18. Samy’s surgery date was confirmed for April 23 at 7:00 am. Dr. Takeuchi provided us with a very comprehensive explanation of the MVR surgical procedure. Everything up to this point had been very stressful and something of an emotional challenge. This meeting was just as traumatic. It was here when you realize that the decision that you made regarding the life of your fur baby is really going to take place.

On April 23 at 6:30 am, Ms. Atsuko Kojima picked us up from the apartment and drove us to Samy’s 7 am appointment at JASMINE Clinic. He was shaved and prepped and a few hours after his surgery we met with Dr. Uechi who reviewed the procedure and the before and after images of his heart.


Once Samy started eating and his complete blood count numbers improved, he was discharged on April 28. His discharge medications were Clopidogrel 25 mg for 30 days and Rivaroxaban 10 mg for 6 days. No cardiac medication necessary. He was put on strict rest and given his Post-op review appointment schedule – Appointments were on May 2, 4, and 11. On his last appointment at JASMINE Clinic Samy was cleared to travel back home.

On May 12 we had an appointment scheduled with the Animal Quarantine Service at Haneda Airport for final paperwork to approve export to USA. Mr. Izu, Pet Taxi took us to this appointment.

We arrived at Haneda Airport on May 14 at 9:20 pm for our 12:15 am departure to Los Angeles.

Samy’s first appointment with his Primary Care vet was on May 23. At that time the plan was to keep Samy with limited activity and continue giving him the Pimobendan.

On June 10 Samy had his first appointment with his Vet Cardiologist. The evaluation was very good and our Cardiologist indicated that she would communicate her findings with Dr. Sayaka Takeuchi and discuss future plans for care.

At the August 6 appointment with Samy’s Vet Cardiologist, he was taken off all medication and recommended that he start taking short walks every other day.

Our journey has been a long and stressful one, but we thank God for Samy’s surgery and recovery. We would like to express our appreciation for all the support and prayers we received during our amazing journey. Special thanks to Nate Estes, Drs. Uechi, Takeuchi and Takemura, Atsuko Kojima and Mr. Izu, from Pet Taxi Service.

For anyone with specific questions about Samy’s clinical experiences, please feel free to contact us through the Mighty Hearts website.

May God Bless Mighty Hearts Friends and their Furry Babies.

David and Dolores Rodriguez


Breed: Chihuahua Mix Age: 11 Diagnosis: Stage C Surgery Date: April 23rd, 2019 Hometown: Covina, CA Owner: Dolores and David Rodriguez Primary Vet: Dr. Joni Nasser, Community Companion Animal Hospital Cardiologist: Dr. Danielle Yuhas, , VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center Surgical Team: Dr. Masami Uechi & Team at, Jasmine Cardiovascular Medical Center

Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs | Mighty Hearts Project