While some may be minor and resolve with growth, congenital defects which are present at birth can involve any organ system or any part of the body, prevent normal development and function, or even cause premature death. Congenital anomalies can be defined as structural or functional anomalies and may occur for no known reason, be inherited, be caused by environmental factors, or can be a combination of any of these. Though certain defects may be obvious at birth, many may remain hidden for months, years, and some even lifelong. When an abnormality is present at birth, it is called a congenital condition.

Millie, the poster pup for MBJungle Foundation enjoyed most of her year’s disease free but was ravaged with defects beginning in her early teens. Millie was first diagnosed with a slight heart murmur in 2013 but over server years excelled to a need to visit Cornell University for further diagnostics and treatment options. Dr. Flavia Glacomazzi and his wonderful team spent hours with Millie resulting in a diagnosis of myxomatous mitral valve degeneration with severe mitral regurgitation and left atrial enlargement. She was placed on Pimobendan for the remainder of her life.

A few years later it became apparent Millie’s vision was changing and was referred to an eye specialist who then diagnosed Millie with several eye conditions. Corneal hereditary endothelial decompensation/dystrophy with secondary corneal edema, iris atrophy, inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder and finally early cataract/lenticular sclerosis which was age related. Surgery was placed on the table as an option but due to Millie’s server heart condition surgery was discouraged. I also did not wish to put her through that trauma or risk loss of life. Eventually, these inherited eye diseases lead to blindness.

The final inherited disease that showed its ugly face was luxating patella which progressed over several years. While Millie’s sever heart condition remained in check and blindness allowed a happy go lucky life it would be the luxating patella that forced a decision to send Millie to Rainbow Bridge. A decision I feel now was prolonged.