Meet Harley. He's our 9 1/2 year old Boxer whom we absolutely adore. He has been living a wonderful, happy and loving life for most of his life. In late January 2020 he had his 1st seizure. We didn't know what the definitive cause was until August 2020. The only way to diagnose a tumor in a dogs brain is by MRI. Our vet suspected a tumor but said there really wasn't anything that could be done except radiation therapy and basically hospice. We ultimately found out about Clinical Trials for Glioma (Glioblastoma in humans - the deadliest of brain tumors) brain tumors occurring at The University of Minnesota Veterinary School in St. Paul Minnesota. The clinical trials have had very good outcomes and the human trials begin in the fall of 2021. We contacted the Surgeon conducting the trials and she, Dr. Liz Pluhar, told us to obtain an MRI of Harley's brain. After much finagling we got in on emergency to obtain the MRI. As suspected Harley was diagnosed with a Glioma by the Neurologist in St. Louis. He did not think surgery was an option. However, MRI was forwarded to Dr. Pluhar at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School. She contacted us within 1 hour. She said the tumor was operable and she had an opening in 2 weeks. On September 1st Harley underwent a craniotomy and 95% of the tumor was surgically removed. He began receiving vaccines comprised of reconstituted tumor cells some additional biologics and a tumor marker. Harley is 1 of about 400 dogs in the United States participating in these clinical trials. He's a very special boy. Harley was doing amazingly well for the 3 months after surgery. He was seizure free. He was romping, playing, laughing, riding shotgun and generally enjoying life. His follow up MRI was to be Jan 4th at the vet school. Well, we're up here now. Harley had his follow up MRI on January 4th. Unfortunately the news was very bad. Sadly the tumor grew back and as it turned out Harley's system completely rejected the vaccines. However, Dr. Pluhar has informed us this is not completely unexpected in some dogs. She has communicated the Harley is actually a very good candidate for gene therapy. After much deliberation with Harley the decision was made to move forward with another surgery and the gene therapy. Harley made it very clear to us that he's got more high quality life to live. My wife and me believe strongly the most important thing is quality of life. He still has a good quality of life but as the tumor grows in his brain the quality and quantity will go down.
We resist asking others for help financially because everyone in this country is dealing with some kind of financial duress. We understand the Pandemic has ravaged the lives of so many people and their finances.
We're beginning our 2nd week at the hotel. Harley is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, January 12th. We anticipate taking him home on Friday, Jan 15th. The hotel and veterinary bills are adding up as is the cost of food. Any help at all would be so greatly appreciated.
Thank you for reading this. It's a lot to take in. We're just trying to give Harley the opportunity to live a high quality life.
Love, Peace & Wiggle Butt❤️☮️
- Jessica Miller
- Chuck Hendricks
- Margaret Morrison
- Nathan Miller
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