Harper Faith Success Story
“One lung gets the job done and yes dogs can live with one lung” Those are words we embrace every single day. Harper Faith came to our family at 8 weeks old as a precious, furry bundle of sheer delight. She was the perfect addition we had hoped for us and her big sister, Pippa. When we took her to our LazyPaw family for a new puppy exam she was doing great but had a tiny cough- presumably a kennel cough from her litter mates. Antibiotics prescribed along with a daily regimen of steam showers and coupage, and we were off and running. None of us had any idea the journey that was ahead. The following week we had a recheck and her symptoms had progressed. The antibiotics were not working. An X-ray and further examination showed pneumonia in her left lung. We were sent straight to Animal Diagnostic Center’s Internal Medicine department. Harper weighed about 2 1/4 pounds and was too small to risk an aspiration or biopsy procedure to identify what strand of pneumonia she had. The next few weeks entailed oxygen tank therapy, fluids, a myriad of antibiotics, tests and research to try to identify and treat her pneumonia. One by one, our options were getting fewer and the next increasingly more invasive. Harper spent nearly a month in the “oxygen tank” only getting out for a few minutes a few times a day. We visited her twice daily during designated visiting hours. As she continued to struggle, the last option to save her life was a partial pneumonectomy (fancy term for removing a diseased lobe of a lung). The surgery was performed but not without another surprise. In surgery it was discovered her whole left lung – not just the lower lobe- was diseased and mushy. The entire lung needed to be removed. This was a complete surprise because x-rays showed air in the upper lobe. As it turned out, her body’s other lung had expanded and compensated during her fight to live. Harper Faith’s surgery was a risk that would ultimately save her life. She will be 3 years old on February 19. Harper’s a bundle of happiness, playfulness, love and joy all rolled into one sweet little girl. If you saw her you’d never know she only has one lung. Sure she has a few specific accommodations such as extra care and coordination on the parts of both Dr. Hunter and Dr. Bilhartz with her internal medicine specialist, and then there’s the “no boarding ever” rule, and, a daily dose of a bronchodilator medicine, but those are minor needs compared to the love she brings. She is truly a miracle and a testament to the advances in today’s world of veterinary science and medicine.