A solution for Mitral Valve Disease
Novel gene therapies for dogs

Mitral Valve Disease

Over seven million dogs in the United States alone have Mitral Valve Disease (MVD). For certain breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, more than 80% of dogs will be afflicted with MVD. We aim to change this.


We have developed a cardio-protective gene therapy that holds the promise of stopping the progression of MVD. We are preparing to run a pilot study in dogs with MVD.

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Why are so many of our pets overweight?

When I looked at my appointment book for the day, I thought something must be wrong. Someone who worked in the fitness industry was bringing his cat in to the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals. Did he confuse us for a different kind of weight management clinic? Is he looking to get muscle on his cat or maybe kitty protein shakes?

I was utterly surprised when I called for my appointment in the lobby and an athletic man stood up with an almost 20-pound cat! I asked if I could speak bluntly with him. Why does someone who clearly knows a lot about keeping healthy need to bring his cat to a veterinary nutritionist? What would he say if the cat was one of the people he helps to keep fit every day? Our conversation then went something like this…

“Well, I’d tell her, suck it up, buttercup. Do some kitty pushups and no more treats!”

“Well, I have to ask, then, what’s stopping you from doing this with your cat?”

With a worried look of guilt on his face, he replied, “Well, Dr. Linder, I mean… she meows at me…”

This was the moment I realized that I was treating pet obesity all wrong. I needed to focus less on the pet and more on the relationship between people and their pets. That’s what’s literally cutting the lives short of the dogs and cats we love so much.

... read in full this article in The Conversation

Dr. Borgarelli, from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medice, reports successful replacement of mitral valve chords using the Harpoon TSD-5 device.

M. Borgarelli, O. Lanz, N. Pavlisko, J.A. Abbott, G. Menciotti, M. Aherne, S.M. Lahmers, K.K. Lahmers, J.S. Gammie. J. Vet. Cardiol. May 2017.
Quote: Objective: Mitral valve (MV) regurgitation due to degenerative MV disease is the leading cause of cardiac death in dogs. We carried out preliminary experiments to determine the feasibility and short-term effects of beating-heart MV repair using an expanded polytetrafluorethylene (ePTFE) chordal implantation device (Harpoon TSD-5) in dogs. Animals: This study involved six healthy purpose-bred Beagles (weight range 8.9–11.4 kg). Material and Methods: Following a mini-thoracotomy performed under general anesthesia, the TSD-5 was used to place 1 or 2 artificial ePTFE cords on the anterior MV leaflet or the posterior MV leaflet via a left-ventricular transapical approach. The procedure was guided and monitored by transesophageal echocardiography. Postoperative antithrombotic treatment consisted of clopidogrel or a combination of clopidogrel and apixaban. Dogs were serially evaluated by transthoracic echocardiography at day 1, 7, 14, 21, and 30. The hearts were then examined for evaluation of tissues reactions and to detect signs of endothelialization. Results: One or two chords were successfully implanted in five dogs. Four dogs completed the 30 days follow-up. One dog died intra-operatively because of aortic perforation. One dog died early post-operatively from a hemorrhagic pleural effusion attributed to overly aggressive antithrombotic treatment. One dog developed a thrombus surrounding both the knot and the synthetic cord. Postmortem exam confirmed secure placement of ePTFE knots in the mitral leaflets in all dogs and the presence of endothelialization of the knots and chords. Conclusions: This pilot study has demonstrated feasibility of using the Harpoon TSD-5 device to place and anchor ePTFE artificial chords to the MV of small dogs and that endothelialization of the synthetic cord and knots can start within 30 days.

...more in

Read also:
Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair in Dogs with Chronic Mitral Valve Disease (CVD) ... [+]

Researchers study heart disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels using high-tech 3-D imaging ... [+]

Veterinary college study and pioneering database tackle most common heart disease in dogs ... [+]

Outstanding canine open-heart surgery succeeds

Last April, Dylan Raskin’s Japanese Chin, Esme, was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, a fatal condition that causes backflow of blood in the heart’s chambers. Though veterinarians initially treated the condition with pills, the dog’s heart failure became worse, leading specialists to predict just a few more months of life for Esme.

Esme’s future now looks bright, as the Chin received a rare and successful seven-hour open-heart surgery at Cornell’s Hospital for Animals Nov. 19 and was released with a healthy prognosis Nov. 26. The surgery was conducted by (Dr Masima UECHI's) a team of five Japanese veterinarians who specialize in such heart surgeries, and led to some hefty medical bills, including $22,000 to fly the surgical team to Ithaca and $10,000 in hospital fees.

Raskin did research to find and contact the Japanese surgeons, and with the help of two Cornell alumnae, the College of Veterinary Medicine agreed to sponsor the procedure.

... more in Cornell Chronicle [+]

Read also:

Man turns to Cornell, spends last dollar to save dog ... [+]

'Miracle' dog Esme doing well after upstate New York man spends $32,000 for life-saving heart surgery ... [+]

Upstate New York man raising $30,000 in attempt to save dog's life ... [+]
WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dog's open-heart surgery opens doors for others ... [+]

Koffee Kat on Wheels hits the road ... [+]

Author and Friend ... [+]

Esme lived well and full of energy -without medication- after his cardiac surgery by Dr Uechi in November 2014. Sadly, Esme died recently due to a pancreatic cancer (June 2017)

New premises for JASMINE as from May 2020

How smart are animals -except humans?

Please ask your Member of Parliament to enforce a Clinical Protocol to free dogs from the horrendous degenerative diseases caused in the UK by reckless breeding

[2 years investigation first shown in 2008 by BBC]

Very few issues divide dog lovers as much as the question of whether or not breeding is something that should be done.
On one hand you have the so called pure breed enthusiasts who would not even consider anything other than a pedigree dog. On the other hand you have people screaming and yelling to stop all breeding altogether.
Both positions are equally wrong.
There was a time when breeding dogs was not about looks but about talent. Man needed dogs that could perform a certain task better than any other animal on earth. The original philosophy of dog breeding was "form follows function". That in fact is 100 percent correct. Let's say you wanted breed a dog with more power then you breed the most powerful males to the most powerful females. If you keep doing this then inevitably the dogs will start to look more and more muscular... "Form follows function".
When doggie beauty pageants became all the rage the opposite philosophy reared it's ugly head the first time...
This is, of course, completely ridiculous. People literally sat down and said: "What do we want this breed to look like?"
So then they decided to create these ridiculous standards which make no sense to anyone who truly understands dogs. The result was that sheep herding dogs who had been bred previously to be superior herders now could not herd anymore... Guard dogs could not guard anymore and so on...
The bulldog is a breed that used to have the ability to hold its own against a 2000 pound bull. I do not condone the atrocity of bull baiting. I am just trying to point out that doing battle with a 2,000 pound behemoth is a pretty severe test for a 60 pound animal. A challenge that can only be met by a dog that is 100 percent healthy, extremely powerful, athletic and brave beyond compare...
The bulldog of old was all of these things and more.
The AKC and the Kennel Club have taken this magnificent breed and reduced it to a fragile creature which is not able to breed without help, give birth naturally, run for more than a minute or even breathe without immense effort. This just breaks my heart. We took a superior warrior and completely healthy dog and turned it into a science experiment to see how many health issues can a dog have and still walk around this earth for a while.
There are those who believe that the wolf is the superior K9 and canis familiaris is nothing but a mistake man should have never made.
I will use certain breeds and their particular talents to illustrate what, without taking anything from the wolf at all, the dog is often much more than the equal to the wolf.
Canis familiaris has been specialized by man in order to make a particular breed superior to the wolf at a particular and SINGULAR task.
The greyhound is faster than the wolf...
The bloodhound has a better nose than the wolf...
The mastiff is more powerful than the wolf and so on...
The all around best survivor is the wolf but if he has to compete with "specialists" at any given task he is simply out of his league.
In closing...
If the right kind of breeding can produce dogs with talents that put all other animals to shame then I am all for it.
If beauty pageant breeding produces sad cripples just so people can marvel at their own "creations" regardless of what level of suffering this causes the dog, then it needs to stop.
Let us demand breeders to go back to the old breeding philosophy...
..suscribe to update information in Pedigree Dogs Exposed - The Blog (From the makers of Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the latest news and views regarding inherited disorders and conformation issues in purebred dogs.)

This photo of me, Argos, was taken by my friends after my bypass heart surgery at Jasmine Veterinary Cardiovascular Medical Center in Japan,
(9 April 2018).