Bella & Sophie’s Story: How We Got Here
Our beautiful black and white 7-year-old Shih Tzu was diagnosed with a heart murmur during her routine wellness visit. She was initially given 9-months to live. After exhaustive research, calling experts around the globe, we were lead to Dr. Augusta Pelosi, who at the time was leading MSU’s veterinary open heart surgery team, and had years of expertise in MVD and repair surgeries. Dr. Pelosi was trained by Dr. George Eyster a veterinary heart surgeon who is often cited as one of the world’s best. Unfortunately, MSU’s clinical trials had come to an end and although surgical intervention for Bella was not an option, Dr. Pelosi worked with us to monitor and optimize Bella’s treatment – we believe this was the main reason Bella lived nearly three years from her diagnosis. In working with Dr. Pelosi we realized we shared a common vision to bring world class cardiac management and open heart surgery to the Americas, and we spent nearly six years fine tuning our vision and in 2017 NAVHC and the NAVHC Foundation were opened.
Sophie was our other fur child; she was lost due to an improperly placed breathing tube during a routine dental procedure. Sophie aspirated during surgery and she developed bi-lateral pneumonia. We learned from Sophie about the significant shortcomings of pet dental procedures. Sophie could have survived however, she was taken to a 24-hour emergency practice, she was responding well to her treatment however two days into her stay, she was left unmonitored and on too many IV fluids, which in essence drowned her, sending her into cardiac arrest. Once again we learned the hard way how our industry is managed and the lack of world class health care available to pet families.
Bella and Sophie were the catalyst for the NAVHC and the NAVHC Foundation and we credit them for teaching us so much, connecting us with Dr. Pelosi, and bringing better skills, knowledge, equipment, and procedures to the veterinary industry.