Harvey is a male neutered 9yr 7mth old Newfoundland.
Harvey presented to the surgery at the end of May with symptoms including lethargy, panting and exercise intolerance. On clinical examination he had a normal body temperature however, on listening to his chest, his heart was racing at over 260 beats per minute (normally a dogs heart rate is 60-120 beats per minute) with an abnormal rhythm and murmur present. An ECG was performed and this revealed a very abnormal hearttrace. It was recommended Harvey visited a cardiac specialist.
A couple of days later Harvey visited the referral centre and had a full body work-up including blood profiling, ECG, xrays and ultrasound investigations. The chest xray and ECG revealed an abnormal heart rate and rhythm associated with an atrio-ventricular heart block. This is a very serious heart condition and can be fatal. The ultrasound and xrays also revealed a splenic tumour. The cardiologist advised us and Harvey’s owners that a mass on the spleen may cause secondary heart troubles and that the mass should be removed. Spleen removal is major surgery by itself, combined with Harvey’s heart condition, his owners were warned there was a high possibility he may not survive the surgery.
Two days later the decision was made to operate on Harvey before his condition deteriorated any further. Every precaution was taken prior to surgery to minimise the risk as much as possible. He was placed on intravenous fluid therapy and another intravenous catheter was in place in case of the need to deliver emergency drugs intravenously. Due to Harvey’s good nature we clipped the surgical site whilst he was conscious and provided him with oxygen for 5 minutes prior to the start of the general anaesthetic to increase his blood oxygen levels.
He was then given a general anaesthetic and surgery commenced to remove his spleen. A golf ball sized mass was discovered in his spleen and the whole organ was removed. His intestines, liver and other internal organs were then examined for any obvious signs of further masses. No other abnormalities were discovered and Harvey’s abdominal cavity was sutured closed. He was placed in a recovery kennel under close observation.
Harvey was hospitalised over night for fluid therapy pain relief and most importantly to monitor his heart. To everybody’s joy and amazement, the following morning he was stood wagging his tail wanting some breakfast!!
Harvey was discharged later that day with several different medications and his owners were advised to revisit the cardiac specialist after he had recovered from the surgery to reassess his heart condition. The visit to the specialist revealed his heart condition had improved although was still not normal. He was sent home with a heart monitor and a concoction of cardiac drugs. He stabilised well at home until the beginning of August when he presented once again with laboured breathing, a heart rate in excess of 200 beats per minute and collapsing episodes. He revisited the cardiac specialist and his medication regime was altered and his condition settled well.
All had been quiet on the Harvey front for a few weeks and telephone conversations with his owners had revealed he was quite stable and managing well at home. However the end of August brought a new problem ……………
Harvey could not pass urine on his own!!!
He was admitted and sedated, a urinary catheter was placed and nearly 1 litre of urine was removed from his bladder. A urine sample was sent to an external laboratory for analysis and an xray was taken of his abdomen to look for bladder stones. There were no obvious stones or crystals detected and the urine analysis revealed nothing significant. The difficulty urinating became a regular problem requiring regular catheterisation. Further investigative work found an underlying prostate problem – this is very unusual in a castrated dog!!
Harvey now has monthly injections for his prostrate and regular heart checks. He is taking numerous medications and requires constant observation at home.
Throughout all this Harvey has never shown any bad tempers and has always been exceptionally well behaved. He still comes through the door with a wagging tail, pleased to receive attention from anybody. Harvey has become a firm favourite with all the nurses and he is always happy to see them especially if they have some of his favourite treat …… A piece of chicken!!!!