SPARKY PLUGGS THE BRAVE (TM)
SCARS: THE BADGE OF A SURVIVOR. BE BRAVE! (TM)
You're probably reading this because a dog you know if facing the frightening diagnosis of mitral valve disease (MVD), AND your dog's Veterinarian or Cardiologist:
1) Told you there's "no cure, no surgery fixes. You can only control their symptoms with medicine", OR
2) Knew about Dr. Masami Uechi's mitral valve repair (MVR) and didn't tell you, OR
3) Is not supportive of your decision to have Dr. Masami Uechi repair your dog's mitral valve.
This was Sparky Pluggs' plight as of March 8, 2016; his Cardiologist gave him 12 months or less to live due to his mitral valve's chord (chordae) tearing which would increase his mitral valve regurgitation and congestive heart failure. But with faith, hope, and belief we were able to provide Sparky Pluggs with a new “leash” on life!
Here's Sparky Pluggs' story! Read how the only team in the world with a 95% success rate FIXED his heart!
In the summer of 2014 Sparky Pluggs' Veterinarian heard a small heart murmur. At this time she referred us to a Cardiologist to obtain a baseline ECHO. It was determiend that Sparky Pluggs had MVD, but the Cardiologist wasn't worried about it at the time.
While at home on March 8, 2016, Sparky Pluggs had what appeared to be a seizure. Within one hour of leaving him at the Veterinarian for observation, they called us to say he had another “episode”.
After many tests and scans, it was discovered the Chord (Chordae) that holds Sparky Pluggs’ mitral valve into place tore; this is what caused his seizure-like symptoms of collapsing onto the ground, treading water (that wasn't there), and making noises, followed by severe weakness to the point he couldn't walk.
Due to his MVD Sparky Pluggs developed congestive heart failure. He was put on 4 medications including Lasix, Vetmedin (Pimobendan), Viagra (Sildenafil) and another blood pressure med. This experience was extremely devastating enough, only then to be told by his Cardiologist there was "no cure, no surgical fixes"! Nothing could be done! And, he had 12 months or less to live.
But through all of the sorrow and devastation, we replayed one phrase in our mind that his Veterinarian said "Sparky Pluggs is a Miracle, he's atypical". You see, if it doesn't cause Sudden Death, most dogs that experience a Chord (Chordae) tear need to have oxygen, fluids and medication for up to one week; it is a significant medical event . However our Sparky Pluggs didn't need any treatment. As a matter of fact after about 15 minutes of having severe weakness and being unable to walk, Sparky Pluggs was sitting in his hospital cage looking around at all of the action!
It was this glimmer of light, that gave us hope, and a feeling that Sparky Pluggs was not ready to throw in the towel. So we got to work!
After searching the internet we found that there in fact was help and hope for Sparky Pluggs. World-renown dog cardiac surgeon Dr. Masami Uechi of JASMINE Veterinary Cardiac Surgery Center in Japan conducted the Life-Saving Heart Surgery Sparky Pluggs needed. As a matter of fact, until May 2015 Cornell University’s Veterinary School brought Dr. Uechi to the USA to perform the surgery. However, Dr. Uechi would not be returning to Cornell. But wait! There's still HOPE!
Dr. Uechi is collaborating with Drs. Sabine and John-Hugues Bozon of the VETERINARY CLINIC BOZON in VERSAILLES France. Through this collaboration, Dr. Uechi has set up a Mitral Valve surgery platform in Versailles, France just like at JASMINE in Japan.
On Saturday, July 2, 2016, Dr. Uechi along with a team led by him repaired Sparky Pluggs' mitral valve at the VETERINARY CLINIC BOZON in VERSAILLES France. We captured the entire journey with pictures, videos and messages; you can find this journal on our Instagram page. Starting with the posts on June 27, 2016 @help_save_sparky_pluggs you can relive our journey from Philadelphia, PA to Versailles, France for Sparky Pluggs' mitral valve repair.
It would be SO EASY to keep this "secret" to ourselves; afterall Sparky Pluggs' heart has been fixed. But that would not be right. Approximately 60-70% of small dogs will get heart disease with 80% of it being mitral valve related.
Since we have posted Sparky Pluggs' journey and this website, people from all over the USA have contacted us in hopes of getting the Life-Saving Heart surgery for their furbabies.
We hope you find this website helpful and contact us if you need help getting in touch with the surgery team or have questions. It's our pleasure to help you.
Kimberly Valentine & Sparky Pluggs