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His Name is Harley

An Honorary Tripawd

His Name is Harley

Introduction and Medical History

August 27th, 2012 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

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Introduction
This is my first attempt at a blog so here goes . . .
Harley. Where do I begin. You see Harley is a rescue and I don’t know where or when he was born. The story goes something like this. His “owner” was unkind to him and a local rescue interceded and took him into foster care. He was then adopted by a family who named him Harley. Unfortunately they were unable to care for him and after two years, he went back into foster care. I remember when his foster Mom brought him over to meet me. He walked over to the sofa, got up and sat down looking out the window. He was very confident, as if to say “Let me know when the details have been worked out.” We later took him out into the yard and she said “He loves it!. I adopted him a week later on Sunday, March 18, 2007. That became his birthday, anniversary, gotch-ya date and every year on that day I make him corned beef and cabbage to celebrate.
Harley is my fourth golden. My first golden was a “free-to-good-home” and died of hemangiosarcoma of the spleen five years after I got him, at about 7-9. My next golden died while playing in the backyard at 7, the autopsy showed he had an enlarged heart. My next golden died at 11 of prostate cancer. I didn’t have a dog for 3 years and decided to go full circle and adopt a rescue again.
If I had to describe Harley in one word it would be HAPPY! He is an amazing athlete jumping with perfect form to catch tennis balls or snowballs. He is my best friend and my shadow and I am there when he goes to sleep at night and there when he wakes up in the morning. I promised him a forever home and he has become my heart dog. I like to say I am the proud owner of a Harley!
In my next post, I plan to chronicle his medical history. The Tripawds site has been invaluable to me with the extensive knowledge base and genuine support of its users. I want to share my experiences with others facing similar experiences.
Medical History
Harley is a Quadpawd with a long medical history. His surgery for a front limb amputation was canceled because his preoperative xrays revealed two masses in the chest cavity.
When I first began to immerse myself into the stories of tripawds, I would look for similar cases and then go back to piece together the medical history. In the hope of helping others to make a decision regarding their pet’s amputation I will chrono the events that led up to Harley’s diagnosis.

4/09/10 Noticed a very slight difference in gait. Visit to the vet and rec’d Deramaxx

4/22/10 Noticed a very slight swelling in front left limb. Visit to the vet and the following tests: xray (which showed soft tissue swelling), CBC and biochemistry, tests for heartworm, lyme, ehrilichiosis, anaplasmosis nand blastomyces. All tests came back negative or normal. Prescribed Deramaxx and Ciprofloxacin for possible sprain.

5/14/10 Back to vet for an ultrasound guided fine needle aspirate. Diagnosis was a lipoma.

6/22/10 Appt at UW Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Numerous fine needle aspirates showed lipoma. Report indicated the lipoma could be either an infiltrative lipoma or encapsulated which would shell out easily. CT Scan would need to be done for an accurate diagnosis. If infiltrative, they recommended either amputation or surgery followed by radiation.

6/30/10 CT Scan performed at local Animal ER (referred by UW) revealed mass to be a discreet lipoma.

7/7/10 Surgery at same facility to remove mass. Surgery was successful with clean margins. Biopsy came back as benign lipoma.

8/31/11 MRI of limb showed regrowth of lipoma with expansion under muscle and more lobular in appearance. Indicated infiltrative lipoma.

9/08/11 Surgery to again remove/debulk lipoma, knowing mass would come back and amputation would be required at that time. Biopsy indicated benign infiltrative lipoma.

5/9/12 Appt with surgeon to evaluate limb and schedule amputation. Surgeon felt Harley would be good candidate for amputation and noted no reason for concern since his other limb showed no evidence of arthritis, but said she would xray limb prior to surgery.

5/29/12 Harley brought to hospital for surgery. Later that morning I received the dreaded call that preoperative xrays showed two masses in the chest cavity — 4 cm mass in left lung field and 6 cm mass in right lung field. Surgery cancelled

6/06/12 Consultation with oncologist and repeat of xrays confirmed masses. Since lipoma on limb was benign, possibly metastasis from another area.

6/20/12 Urine blastomycosis test done: Results negative
Abdominal ultrasound revealed two small masses on spleen (1.2 – 1.4 cm) which oncologist felt were age-related so overall ultrasound results were considered favorable, but still questions regarding where lung masses came from unless the benign lipoma was not benign.

6/27/12 Ultrasound guided fine needle aspirate of right lung mass confirmed cancer, but since sample was small it was not definitive of what kind of cancer (Narrowed to a carcinogen, liposarcoma or histiosarcoma). Pathologist who did previous biopsies said it could have been liposarcoma instead of a benign lipoma.

7/7/12 Began metronomic chemotherapy: Chlorambucil

8/09/12 Consultation with oncologist. Bloodworks were good, xray showed a 6% increase in lung tumors. This indicated minimal growth or “stable disease”.

9/06/12 Consultation with oncologist. Bloodworks were good, xray showed a 13% increase in lung tumors. This indicated minimal growth or “stable disease”. She indicated that stable disease is anything less than 20% from initial diagnosis.
Discussed surgery to de-bulk to improve his quality of life.

9/20/12 Surgery for the third time to debulk this tumor. Amputation was not a recommended option at this time because his prognosis is not long-term and surgery will be more palliative.

10/15/12 An oncology Appt. to discuss a new chemo protocol discovered yet a new problem — Harley’s platelets were 42,000 so he was unable to begin the new protocol.

Tests were done to rule out any tick-borne diseases. Harley went on doxycylin, then high dose Prednisone, then Azathioprine was added in and during this 2 1/2 month period the platelets never rose beyond 77,000, then dropped to 64,000. His last bloodworks in January showed signs of kidney change. He had lost muscle mass, was lethargic and his appetite had waned. Things were not going in the right direction.
On Wednesday, January 9, 2013, Harley’s favorite vet along with a technician he adored, came to his home and helped him on his final journey. It was a beautiful sunny even warm January day.


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