In January of 2017 I took Simba in for his annual health check-up and the vet noticed a slightly enlarged heart. I was advised to take him to the cardiologist where I was told everything was fine and that he didn’t need to be on medication at the time. Approximately 1 month after his second cardiologist visit on August 11, 2017, Simba went into congestive heart failure (CHF). A month later, he had another episode and I cried every night reading about this terrible disease.
Bailey is a rescue dog that we adopted in Virginia in 2012. We fell in love with him the second we saw him. His diagnosis with MVD was devastating to us and we wanted to do anything we could to help him. During his annual check up in 2015 he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. Our vet said it was nothing to be concerned with at that time. He was fine until April of 2017 when we found out he had Mitral Valve Disease and his murmur was upgraded to Stage B2. We took him to a cardiologist and he was started on heart medication to try and slow down the disease.
In early December 2017 Dot went into congestive heart failure after 3 years of a mild heart murmur. I found out because he started lifting his nose in the air and refused to lay down. My family and I were all devastated and immediately went to UC Davis's cardiology hospital. We heard about the mitral valve repair surgery for dogs but weren't sure if it was reliable. We were so lucky because we met Dr. Nishimura who knew Dr. Uechi and guided us through the process and introduced me to the Mighty Hearts Project.
During a weekend in September 2017 I noticed Pedey was coughing more and seemed lethargic. I took him to the vet the next day. They performed a chest x-ray and found his heart to be severely enlarged. I thought it looked like a football it was so big. I was able to get him to a cardiologist the following day and he was diagnosed with mitral valve disease and congestive heart failure. He had a grade 4-5/6 left apical systolic murmur and his left atrium and ventricle were both severely enlarged.
Tiara is a 12-year-old Chihuahua. She was diagnosed with MVD on Nov. 2016. Our primary care vet prescribed Apinac 12.5mg for the first half year. In May of 2017, Tiara’s murmur started to get worse, so Dr. Fujisawa added Vetmedin for her. But just after 2 months, she started to cough, and was having difficulties breathing. We brought her to the hospital and they did all the cardiology examinations.
When first learning of Charlie’s diagnosis in July of 2017 I was absolutely devastated. He has been my best friend and constant companion these last 9 years and we have grown inseparable. After many sleepless nights I had stumbled upon the Mighty Hearts page and just like that everything changed! For the first time, since Charlie’s diagnosis, I experienced HOPE!
In March 2017 we discovered that Charlie had a heart murmur when we went to our vets for his annual vaccination and checkup. Following heart scans shortly after we were given the distressing news that Charlie had MVD and that other than managing the disease there was nothing that could be done and we would lose him within 18 months or so. After much research I discovered that surgery may be a possibility and learned about the amazing work of Dr. Masami Uechi. I also discovered that Dr. Dan Brockman at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in the UK
Riggs was diagnosed at the age of 5 with the common early onset heart murmur seen in many cavaliers. He was maintained on only Enalapril for 3 years and had echos done every 6 months. He had slowly been having an increase in his heart size but nothing dramatic or that warranted further medication. At the age of 8, Riggs started coughing and having increased respiratory rates. It took several attempts and different veterinarians and specialists to find the right medication combination at that time to help him.
Stella was first diagnosed in November 2016 with a heart murmur by her vet during a routine check up. It was recommended that I take her for an echo just in case. After the echo she was diagnosed with chronic valve disease, so I took her to a cardiologist. At that time she had no symptoms and was not in need of medication. I was told to bring her back every 6 months for re-evaluation. Fortunately, when my cardiologist explained what the disease was and I asked if there was a surgical option, she had heard about the Dr. Uechi and said she would investigate what their protocols where and see if they would look at Stella’s records.
Rusty was first diagnosed with heart murmur grade 3/6 in August of 2016 while traveling and seeing a vet for an unrelated health issue. We were told at the time that heart murmurs are common and that it was unlikely it would progress to anything more serious. In January 2018, Rusty suddenly and with no warning whatsoever started coughing repeatedly. After a quick visit to the ER, he was misdiagnosed with kennel cough and given antibiotics. Two days later with his cough getting much worse, he finally got imaged and was diagnosed with MVD Stage B2 and CHF. We were (once again) traveling at the time and were advised that he may not even survive.
Sophie is a 9 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from Washington Crossing, PA. Sophie was diagnosed with MVD in June 2012. It was only a grade 2 murmur and did not require any medication at that time. She was rechecked in March 2013 and the MVD had progressed. There was some regurgitation with minimal heart enlargement so she was put on 25 mg Enalapril 2 x per day. Slowly over the following years her heart continued to enlarge
Maddox was asymptomatic with severe Mitral regurgitation and moderate Tricuspid regurgitation. Six months prior to MVD diagnosis, Maddox had no heart murmur before suddenly having grade 5/6. She was prescribed Pimobendan and remained stable until surgery at JASMINE Veterinary Cardiovascular Medical Center. Her heart showed progressive enlargement during each follow-up echocardiogram leading up to surgery which later confirmed Mitral valve prolapse and ruptured chordae tendineae.
Zoey was originally diagnosed with a heart murmur at four years old and told it wasn't an issue and that the condition would be monitored. After an episode of gasping and coughing in July 2016, Zoey was taken to the vet and misdiagnosed twice with pneumonia and a mass on her lung. She would not have survived the surgery at the time, so Zoey's owners took her to a known ER vet who knew right away it was her heart. She was put on Lasix, put in an oxygen chamber, and referred to a cardiologist at the University of Florida.
In March 2016, Easy was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Disease. She had an enlarged heart which stabilized with drug therapies. In August 2017, she suffered from pulmonary edema and progressed to stage D. After finding out about the surgery, Easy's parents met with Sabine Bozon urgently. She said that Easy had only a few days to live and agreed to make the surgery urgently after having treated the edema. The day before the operation, she discovered 2 blood clots and hospitalized her.
Sachie was diagnosed with a heart murmur in April 2017. Then, in June 2017 she was confirmed to be in MVD Stage B2 with a murmur of 4/5. Between June and her surgery on September 20, 2017, Sachie progressed to Stage C but remained stable. Her surgery at the Bozon clinic in France was a success and Sachie seems to be doing very well. Her energy level has increased and she looks great.
Breed: Chihuahua/Yorkie Mix Age: 10 years old Diagnosis: Stage C Hometown: London, UK Owner: Dolly-Ann Osterloh Instagram: @snoopysbigheart Surgical Team: France, Drs. Masami Uechi, Sabine & Jean Hugues Bozon
Snoopy went to the vet to be diagnosed with MVD two months prior to surgery. He was in heart failure with a 6 out of 6 heart murmur. After a successful mitral valve repair on September 19th at the Bozon clinic in France, Snoopy is now at Stage B1 and doing very well. Dr. Bozon said that his heart is almost perfect. His regurgitation has significantly reduced but he still suffers from a cough.
In November 2016, Mong was hospitalized with pulmonary edema and diagnosed with a chordae tendineae rupture and Mitral valve disease. Last summer, Mong's brother passed away so his parents want to save him more than anything. In Korea, there was no information on the valve operation but research on overseas sites revealed that the operation was available in Japan.
Bailey was diagnosed in October 2013 with Mitral Valve Disease Stage B2. He was taken to the cardiologist after his owner detected his murmur. On Valentine's Day 2015, Bailey went into mild CHF and in 2016, Bailey had several readings of pulmonary hypertension. Surgery is scheduled in Japan with Dr. Uechi for July 25, 2017.
Paco was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Disease Stage B2 in October 2016. He is currently on pimobendan and enalapril, but no diuretics. Non-active at baseline, visits the dog park 1-2x/day, and takes short walks around the neighborhood or at the beach. Currently, he has no outward symptoms, other than a loud murmur. Paco is scheduled for surgery at the JASMINE clinic in Japan on July 24, 2017. We hope that Paco continues to be symptom free while he waits patiently for his big adventure.
Max was first adopted in October 2009 from a shelter and was so tiny his new owners had to fatten him up. It's a good thing he loves chicken! He loves playing with his Samoyed brother Kodi and loves his morning walks. He was first diagnosed with MVD Stage B1 in October 2015 and then Stage B2/C in January 2017. We look forward to Max's surgery at the Bozon Clinic in France on July 5th and stable prognosis until then.
Daisy was diagnosed with a heart murmur level 3/6 in January 2016. She was not placed on meds until July of that year and was started on Vetmedin (Pimo). By June 2017 her mitral valve disease had progressed and was on Vetmedin, Enalapril, Hydrocodone, Spironolactone Digoxin & Furosemide and needing diapers. Daisy was hospitalized in June 2017 due to vomiting & dehydration, taken off Digoxin. Her BNP was elevated to 4500 and lost 4 lbs prior to surgery.
Harper lives in Lake Forest, California (Orange County), with Kim and Jerry Thornton, whom she owns body and soul, another Cavalier named Keeper and a Chihuameranian named Gemma--the one who really rules the roost. She likes to do nose work--she competes at the NW3 level--but her main focus is trying to knock on the neighbors' doors to see if they have any treats for her. She was diagnosed with a murmur when she was 5 years old but did not become symptomatic until January of this year.
Chuck was diagnosed when he was 6 years old with a heart murmur but did not require medication to control symptoms until the fall of 2016 when he began coughing frequently. His X-Ray shows a very enlarged heart and is currently holding steady on medication until his surgery date of May 23, 2017. We wish Chuck good health until his surgery date and a fast recovery!
Zeus was diagnosed at Stage B2 and has been noticeably slowing down and coughing more as the disease progresses. He had a very successful mitral valve repair surgery on March 24, 2017 at Clinique Veterinaire Bozon. After surgery, Zeus had some additional coughing from being intubated, but is currently recovering comfortably at home.
In November 2016, Bentley was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Disease Stage B2+ when his heart murmur elevated to a Grade 4. He had an enlarged heart with severe regurgitation and was stabilized with drug therapies. One week prior to traveling to France for Mitral Valve Repair surgery, Bentley went into Congestive Heart Failure, Stage C. With an additional drug added, he was stabilized once again.
Breed: Yorkshire Terrier Age: 11 years old Diagnosis: Stage C Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic Owner: Tomáš Kučera Veterinarian: Dr. Vojtěch Novák Read Belisa's surgery story here Surgical Team: France, Drs. Masami Uechi, Sabine & Jean Hugues Bozon
Bellissima, also called Belisa, was diagnosed in 2014 with a heart murmur which progressed to stage C in December 2016 prior to her surgery at the Bozon Clinic in Versailles, France on March 21, 2017. She had a successful mitral valve repair that day, and had many complications after surgery, some of which had nothing to do with her heart or the surgery. However, we are so happy to report that Belisa is back at home recovering comfortably.
Duke has had a known murmur since he was adopted and vets said from the beginning it would develop into heart failure. In November 2015, Duke was taken to the vet with labored breathing and was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and had fluid on his lungs. For a year after, Duke was treated with holistic supplements and acupuncture as well as a substantial cocktail of medications prescribed by Dr. Kramer.
Bodhi was diagnosed in the summer of 2015 in Phoenix, AZ with mitral valve disease and told nothing could be done except to medicate and given 1-2 years to live. Prior to surgery, Dr. Sabine Bozon diagnosed an advanced stage of mitral valve disease and saw that Bodhi's heart was close to rupture. Intervention was performed on December 7, 2016 at the Bozon Clinic in Versailles, France.
Breed: Maltipoo Age: 9 years old Diagnosis: Stage C Hometown: New York, NY Owner: Margaret Frederico Cardiologist : Dr. Keith Blass Surgical Team: France, Drs. Masami Uechi, Sabine & Jean Hugues Bozon
Tiffany was diagnosed on October 4, 2016 with stage C MVD. It was also suspected that she had numerous ruptured chordae tendineae. Her prognosis was poor. Her disease had a rapid onset and quick progression. At her prior check-up no murmur was even detected. Tiffany had surgery with Dr. Uechi at the BOZON Clinic on December 6, 2016. As suspected, Tiffany had 5 ruptured chordae.
Levi was diagnosed in July during a routine checkup with a heart murmur that was not present a few months earlier. Cardiologists confirmed that the murmur was a result of Mitral Valve Disease and chord rupture with an enlarged heart, stage B1. Prior to surgery, Levi was assessed at stage B2, his heart condition somewhat stabilized with drug therapy between July and December. Levi had Mitral Valve Repair at the Bozon Clinic in Versailles, France on December 6, 2016.
Zoey was diagnosed in July of 2016 with a heart murmur and stage B2 of mitral valve disease with a very enlarged heart. She was stabilized with drug therapies until her surgery date which was October 26, 2016 at the Bozon Clinic in Versailles, France. Today, Zoey remains in stable condition and had a great checkup at her 3-month postoperative appointment. Her heart size and reduced regurgitation have remained steady since she left the clinic in France and is now cleared for normal puppy activity.
Prudence was diagnosed with a heart murmur for the first time in June 2016. We immediately had a cardiologist perform an echocardiogram which revealed stage B2 mitral valve disease. Unfortunately, Prudence's MVD progressed rapidly and within 6 weeks was in congestive heart failure. At the time of her surgery on October 24, 2016 she was in refractory stage D (hospitalized). Prudence's MVD is now reduced to stage B1 (murmur: no enlargement). Her echocardiogram shows the mitral valve regurgitation is significantly reduced and her murmur is a grade 2.