Home / Travels / Bucks dog travels to France for $50K heart medicine not accessible in a US

Bucks dog travels to France for $50K heart medicine not accessible in a US

Jeanne Navratil knew that Cavalier King Charles spaniels were disposed to heart disease. So when her 3-year-old dog, Sophie, began to delayed down and nap some-more in 2011, she finished an appointment with her veterinarian. They discovered a amiable heart whimper — an early warning pointer of a lethal heart illness in dogs.

Six years later, she was diagnosed with mitral valve endocardiosis. And after a outing to France in Nov for open-heart medicine achieved by a organisation from Japan, a bright-eyed puppy with a honeyed showing is roughly as good as new.

“She’s my baby,” pronounced Navratil, of Washington Crossing, during a new follow-up appointment during the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC) in Levittown, Bucks County, where Sophie is a patient.  “I could not accept that this was a long-term genocide judgment for her.”

heart valve medicine in dogs
MARI A. SCHAEFER / Staff

In a ubiquitous race of dogs, a superiority and astringency of mitral valve illness increases with age, pronounced Beth Bossbaly, a board-certified veterinary cardiologist during VSEC, and Sophie’s doctor. It is mostly a illness of small-breed dogs, however, and by age 10, about 30 percent of breeds such as poodles, Pekingese, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas will have mitral valve disease, she said

“In Cavalier King Charles spaniels, a illness is overrepresented,” Bossbaly said. “By a time they are 10 years old, we believe, 60 percent will have a heart murmur.”


The mitral valve helps umpire blood upsurge from one heart cover to another. When a valve is damaged, blood flows backward, depriving a cover where it should be going.  Over time, a illness can weaken the heart muscle, heading to congestive heart failure.

Sophie was primarily treated in 2012 with drugs and monitored closely since a illness was surpassing so rapidly. She was stable until Nov 2015 when her whimper became louder and she was switched to another drug. Eight months later, her valve began to deteriorate. By Mar 2017, she grown pulmonary hypertension, or high blood vigour in her lungs, pronounced Bossbaly. Sophie was headed for congestive heart failure.

“I usually couldn’t take that answer that there is zero we can do,” pronounced Navratil, a late product manager during a bank. “There usually had to be something.”

Mitral valve repairs are made on people all a time. But there is no reanimate accessible in a United States for dog mitral valve disease, pronounced Bossbaly. “At some indicate a illness gets forward of us.”

heart valve medicine in dogs
MARI A. SCHAEFER / Staff

PennVet is not now charity open-heart medicine for mitral valve repair, said Mark A. Oyama, highbrow and arch of cardiology during the School of Veterinary Medicine.

At the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine during Virginia Tech, a team has begun to try options for a reduction costly and less invasive treatment, pronounced Mindy Quigley, clinical trials coordinator.

Although the illness is not rare, a stream diagnosis is so formidable and prohibitively costly that usually a few places in a universe are peaceful to perform that form of surgery, pronounced Quigley.

The Virginia Tech organisation is exploring a procession that could be finished on a violence heart involving “a series of knots and cords that mimics heart tendons and creates a fake anchor to assistance a mitral valve do a job,” pronounced Quigley.

heart valve medicine in dogs
MARI A. SCHAEFER / Staff

The University of Florida Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville hopes to start an open heart medicine procedure in 2018, pronounced Simon Swift, clinical associate highbrow of cardiology during a school.

“We desperately need this here,” pronounced Swift. The procession requires a use of a bypass appurtenance and a right mixed of people on a team, including anesthetists, perfusionists, and puncture critical-care staff to ceaselessly guard a dogs after medicine for an extended period, he said. Swift said nearby UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital has offering assistance and expertise.

“This is not a procession we can do once each 6 months,” Swift said. The mitral valve procession would form a basement of a open-heart procedure and concede them to do other procedures. “You will never be bustling adequate if all we are doing is a peculiar inborn repair.”

There is, however, assistance accessible outward a U.S.

Japanese veterinary surgeon Masami Uechi, of the JASMINE Veterinary Cardiovascular Medical Center in Yokohama, has a 90 percent success rate with an open-heart procession to correct a valve. He and his organisation frequently transport to the Clinique Veterinaire Bozon in Versailles, France, to work on dogs.

Navratil saw a posting on Instagram about the Mighty Hearts Project, a organisation of dog owners who have taken their dogs outward a nation for treatment.

“We are fundamentally all people that had a surgery” achieved on their dogs, pronounced Nathan Estes, who helped found Mighty Hearts. He took his dog Zoey to France for a procedure. He estimates about 50 people have contacted him and proceeded with a surgery.

The large cost tab – about $50,000 – can put a procession out of strech for many dog owners. Estes took out a loan to cover it, though pronounced he’s famous people to run adult their credit cards or skip vacations for years to cover what equates to a good car, countless vacations, or a year in college. It’s value it, he said, deliberation how critical his dog is to his family.

The cost to have a medicine in Japan averages $25,000 though there is a 15-hour flight. Plus, dogs have to be quarantined for 6 months during home before they can get into Japan — too prolonged for a ill dog to wait, Estes said

Navratil and her ex-husband, Kurt Fuoti of Long Valley, N.J., motionless to share a cost for a medicine in France.  Pet word lonesome some of a U.S. oldster bills before to and after a surgery, she said.

heart valve medicine in dogs
Courtesy of Jeanne Navratil

The logistics for transport to France were daunting, so Navratil incited to Mighty Hearts for assistance.

A USDA-certified veterinarian contingency pointer off on a trip, owners contingency produce rabies certificates and ensure their dog has a microchip. There are also a airline reservations, pet-friendly accommodations, and taxis that contingency be set adult in advance, Estes said.

Navratil pronounced she had Sophie approved as an romantic support dog so she would be means to travel in a airplane’s cabin. On a approach home, a dog indispensable to travel in a aisles for 3 mins each dual hours to forestall blood clots from developing. She also bought a dog stroller for 18-pound Sophie so she didn’t have to lift her.

“You could never put them in cargo,” she said, adding United Airlines, and generally a moody attendants, were “wonderful” during her trip. (And it should be remarkable that Sophie demonstrated during a new revisit from a contributor that she is an unusually respectful dog.)

Sophie’s treatment was not but complications.

The dog indispensable dual transfusions during surgery. She also developed a urinary-tract infection and 3 blood clots and was placed on heavy-duty antibiotics and blood thinners. Her time in France was extended an additional week, pronounced Navratil.

Following a surgery, there is a really despotic three-month liberation procedure to give a heart time to heal, pronounced Navratil. There would be no jumping or dog parks. Getting on or off seat compulsory assistance. Navratil’s residence is now filled with baby gates, and she has away her doorbell so it doesn’t terrify Sophie and send her heart rate soaring, she said.

heart valve medicine in dogs
Courtesy of Jeanne Navratil

Now, roughly dual months into her recovery, Sophie is starting to collect up, pronounced Navratil. She sleeps less, shows some-more seductiveness in her toys, and takes longer walks.

Last week, during an echocardiogram during VSEC, Bossbaly reported that dual of a blood clots were no longer visible.

“It’s an improvement,” pronounced Navratil. “We are going in a right direction.”

Sophie’s tongue, once a dark lavender, is now behind to splendid pink. Where once Navratil could feel each stretched kick of Sophie’s heart, now there is zero out of a ordinary, she added.

“Her peculiarity of life is flattering damn good,” she said.




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