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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, 2014 and was released with a healthy prognosis Nov. 26. The surgery was conducted by a team of five Japanese veterinarians who specialize in such heart surgeries.