Meet Gunner! At first glance, the photos you see here of this young, handsome Springer pup paint a picture very different from what he has actually had to endure. The life-saving measures that ESRA has had to take to save him tell a completely different story.
Late in February 2018, ESRA was contacted by Gunner's new owners requesting our help. Unfortunately, the sweet pup they had just purchased from a local breeder was a very sick boy. The owners shared with our southern California coordinator that when Gunner had undergone blood work prior to a scheduled neuter, it was discovered that he was in acute renal failure. This was a shocking discovery to his new family, and what was even more heartbreaking was that he would require the administration of very expensive medications to keep him alive, at a cost which the family just could not absorb. In Gunner's best interests, these kind people relinquished him to our care.
Gunner had been purchased from a breeder, and it was later learned that his original elderly owner had passed away, leaving Gunner an orphan. This man's family had left Gunner unattended for a week. He reportedly had no food or water to nourish or hydrate him during that time, and it was suspected that he may have gotten into a toxic substance while looking for something to drink. While Gunner's breeder did take him back, what she failed to do was to ensure the state of his health prior to selling him to his new family. When it was discovered just how ill this dear boy really was, the breeder was contacted again by both his new owners and ESRA, but she had no interest in taking him back. He was now the responsibility of ESRA.
Once in our care, Gunner began treatment for his kidney issues, including daily administration of subcutaneous fluids to hydrate him and help restore kidney function. While his kidney values did show daily improvement, Gunner began to present other problems: lethargy, labored breathing, and lack of appetite. Further testing and a chest x-ray revealed a suspicious area of unknown origin in his chest cavity. He returned to the vet the following day because his breathing had become more labored, and an additional chest x-ray revealed an even greater area of suspicion. Gunner's caregiver was given an emergency referral to California Veterinary Specialists (CVS) for further consultation.
Upon Gunner's arrival at CVS, his condition was considered grave. The staff there weren't sure that he was going to make it, but that didn't stop the medical team from doing all they could to save him. With further testing and review of previously administered tests and x-rays, CVS immediately diagnosed Gunner with a condition known as spontaneous pneumothorax syndrome. This meant that air was escaping the lungs, filling the chest cavity, compressing the lungs, and pressing upon Gunner's bronchial tubes. He was immediately sedated, and a procedure was done to remove one and a half liters of air from his chest cavity, allowing him to breathe easier and eliminating the discomfort he had been in. Later that evening, a chest tube was inserted and a blood patch was passed through it in order to plug any potential leaks from the lungs into the chest cavity. Oxygen was also administered at that time. While this helped, it still was not the solution to the problem but rather a quick fix. A CT scan and possible surgery were recommended to discover the cause of the condition.
On March 1, Gunner underwent a surgical procedure to get to the bottom of his respiratory problem. The CT scan had been performed, and two lobes of his right lung were found to be compromised. This was the reason that air had been leaking into his chest cavity. The lobes were removed, and the tissue has been sent to a lab for further evaluation and additional diagnosis.
Gunner is recovering well. He is eating, drinking, and performing normal bodily functions. He has been hospitalized and will remain under veterinary care for a few more days due to the serious nature of his condition and the procedures that he had to undergo to correct it. His surgeon reports that if there are no negative findings in the lab results, Gunner's prognosis is excellent for a great recovery and life as an "almost normal" puppy. While his kidneys are also improving daily and may repair on their own to near-normal, they will most likely not completely regenerate. Gunner may always need either medication, a special diet, or both to help him remain healthy.
Of course the costs of Gunner's care, testing, and surgical procedures have been significant. However, ESRA is committed to his continued care. We hope that with your help we may be able to mitigate the impact that these expenses have had on our rescue's finances. Gunner needed us, and we were not about to turn him away. It is what rescue, our mission, is all about. We thank you in advance for your prayers and concern for Gunner and for your financial support. Please continue to follow us here for future updates on this handsome boy's recovery.
His surgeons, veterinary caregivers, and foster mom are extremely pleased with how well Gunner is recovering. While we await the lab results of the lung tissue biopsy, the next phase in helping him become a healthy pup is to get to the bottom of his kidney issues. A diagnosis has not yet been specified, but everyone is working diligently to get some answers and come up with a treatment plan. Please continue to watch this page for updates on Gunner's road to recovery and his prospects for a much brighter future than he would have had if ESRA had not become a part of his life.
Gunner has made great progress in a short time, yet he still has a way to go until ALL his health issues have been addressed. Your continued well-wishes, prayers, and financial contributions to his care are greatly appreciated.
Just three and a half weeks after lung surgery, Gunner continues on the road to recovery. We are very pleased to report that the biopsy of his lung tissue came back with no adverse findings or cancer! This is certainly happy news to all of us here at English Springer Rescue America, Inc., including his caregivers.
Gunner's happy spirit is evident in his day-to-day antics, as he continues to show his foster family how quickly he is healing and how desperate he is to play like any pup his age. His appetite has greatly improved, and he has added five much-needed pounds to his tall, thin frame.
Gunner's kidney malfunction continues to be a topic of much discussion, diagnosis, and treatment planning. While we had hoped that his renal issues might have been a result of poor care in his first home, we have learned that Gunner has deformed kidneys. This condition is congenital. With a special diet, renal supplements, and frequent blood monitoring, we are seeing great improvement in some of Gunner's blood values, specifically with his BUN (a level in the blood that measures protein absorption and the disposal of waste, in the form of urea, from the metabolisis of said protein). This is positive news for Gunner and his current state of health. Other specific blood markers continue to be monitored as well, and while they have not shown the same level of change as the BUN level, they are also moving in a positive direction, which indicates improvement in his overall condition. Nevertheless, Gunner's recent diagnosis still comes with concern for his future, and various treatment protocols are being investigated to determine what can be done to aid in his continued improvement and to insure a healthy life for the long term. One of the symptoms of renal failure is fatigue, and Gunner requires several naps throughout the day in order to prevent this condition from becoming more chronic.
This week also marks a very important milestone in Gunner's life. He celebrates his first birthday today, March 30, 2018! Had it not been for ESRA bringing Gunner into our rescue and putting him under our care, this monumental day might never have been realized. What a special day indeed!
The generosity of your donations has helped us to recover some of the costs of Gunner's surgery and the ongoing research into his kidney diagnosis and treatment. Our boy still has a way to go, but he is certainly doing much better than we originally anticipated. Your continued well-wishes and financial support for Gunner's continued care are greatly appreciated, and we look forward to sharing more good news with all of you in the not-too-distant future.
We are pleased to share that Gunner's personality and behavior traits continue to emerge as those of a normal adolescent Springer. He is very, very loving but is also showing some spunk while testing his boundaries. Gunner is learning the joys of being a Springer puppy. He will fetch a toy and bring it back for another toss (usually in the house), he loves to wrestle with the female Springer in his foster home, and if he's lucky enough to spot one, he may chase a bunny in the yard! Gunner really enjoys chew treats and carrying around his "stuffies." However, if he had his way, he would be permanently affixed to his foster mom's lap!
Your continued support of Gunner's care is important to a successful outcome. It's hard to realize that a young, active Springer who appears so healthy on the surface could be dealing with such a serious illness. ESRA's ongoing commitment to Gunner is to continue testing and research until his kidney disease is in a state that can be managed by anyone who might consider adopting him. Until that day comes, we are grateful for your donations and concern for this special young man.
Gunner did give us all quite a scare several weeks ago with a bout of pancreatitis that appears to have been brought on by ingesting a small amount of bark from a stick that he was playing with. While this would not have affected most dogs, Gunner's already-compromised condition triggered the adverse reaction. We are thankful that his veterinarian was there to assist him throughout the weekend when this occurred and ensure that this very dangerous condition did not end in disaster.
The heat can be quite risky for Gunner, but fortunately he really has no desire to be out in it. His foster mom gets him up very early each morning with the rest of the pack so he can have a couple of hours of playtime before the heat sets in. In the evening when things cool down, he is allowed more time to run and play with the rest of his pack-mates. Excessive heat and panting can decrease the oxygen in his bloodstream (exacerbated by the fact that he has lost part of one lung), which, in turn, can increase his anemia. His anemia is currently being very well controlled with an iron supplement.
Gunner's care and his quality of life have been major considerations for his foster parents and his healthcare providers. While there is always concern for his overall well-being, it has also been decided that he needs to be a puppy and enjoy the best quality of life that we can give him. He should be allowed to play as much as possible, although under strict supervision. Gunner gives very clear signs when he has had too much play, and his foster mom pays particular attention to his actions. He is clearly "joined at the hip" with one of his foster siblings, and he loves running and playing with her. With careful monitoring, he is enjoying a somewhat normal life for a pup his age, and we are all so grateful that he has the chance to experience this.
We thank all of his followers and supporters for their continued concern, prayers, and donations to help with Gunner's ongoing care. We wouldn't be able to give him the life he deserves without your help!
It has been a couple of months since we shared an update on Gunner, but not too much has changed for this handsome young man. His blood levels continue to remain steady, and his diet, exercise level, and daily fluid administration remain unchanged.
The biggest thing that has recently happened in Gunner’s life is that he was neutered last month. Typically, a young male like Gunner would have been neutered soon after entering ESRA’s care. Because of Gunner’s kidney disease, however, there was great concern about possible side effects from the administering of anesthesia. It was decided that it would be best not to sedate him through an IV but rather with gas only. Gunner did well with his procedure, and within a couple of days, he was back to being an active, energetic pup. His foster mom reports that he seems to have even more energy than before -- which is hard for her to believe!
The cooler fall temperatures soon arriving in Southern California will certainly be welcomed by Gunner and his caregivers. As we previously shared, excessive heat can be detrimental to Gunner’s well-being, and relief from the unbearable heat of earlier this year is going to help our boy have even more opportunities to run and play with the other dogs in his foster family, which is something that he thoroughly enjoys.
There have been several people who have inquired about adopting Gunner, but the right family has not yet come forward to adopt him. Being meticulous about Gunner's care is critical, and it does come with a fair amount of expense. However, as we like to say in rescue, "There is an adopter for every dog." We are sure that one day Gunner’s perfect family will find and fall in love with him and make those special and serious commitments to his long-term care. Until then, know that Gunner is loved and very well cared for, and his joyous zest for life shows each day in everything that he does.
Many thanks to all of have supported Gunner in a variety of ways. Our gratitude for your kindness knows no boundaries.
Three-year-old Gunner has spent the better part of his young life in ESRA’s care. He has for the most part been doing well, but frequent blood tests reveal that Gunner’s kidney values are changing — not for the better, unfortunately. As hard as it is to believe, knowing how young he is and how active he can often be, this handsome boy is in renal failure.
Gunner’s foster mom has discussed at length with veterinary professionals his ongoing care, and she has looked into other supplements to aid in keeping him stable. Sadly, she was told that he is already on the best supplementation there is. Along with ESRA’s Special Needs Committee, she has also researched kidney transplantation as a means to help Gunner. This type of treatment can produce life-saving results for humans and even cats, but, oddly, it does not do so for dogs. The canine mortality rate is extremely high, with an average survival rate of only ten percent. Coupled with other markers that are necessary to achieve even those very poor odds, Gunner’s chance at survival would most likely be even lower. Rejection rates are extremely high and lifelong anti-rejection medication would also be needed if he were even to be considered as a candidate.
Since Gunner’s entry into our Special Needs program over two years ago, it has been ESRA’s focus to keep him happy, healthy, and as comfortable as possible. His foster family and his veterinary team have done just that. Gunner does sleep a bit more now, and he tires easily, but he is still very happy and enjoys the pack in his foster home. He adores his “stuffies” and his foster sibling, Sallie. ESRA will continue with Gunner’s care until it has been determined that his quality of life has diminished to the point where it would be unfair to allow him to struggle.
While Gunner’s story may be getting closer to its final chapter, he is still receiving love and the very best of care. The cost of his care over these past two and a half years has been almost double the amount of donations received during that same time period. However, our commitment to Gunner continues, and our focus remains on his health and well-being.
We appreciate all of the donations and fundraisers on Gunner’s behalf that have helped to offset the monumental expense of his care, and we are grateful for anything that you may be willing to contribute to allow us to continue to support him.
|Helga Wright||In honor of my Chester, who lived a good life for 15 years.|
|Sloan E.E. Schwindt|
|Mary Akkeron||In memory of my late husband, Al, who was rescued by Gracie!|
|Dennis Burkenpas||In memory of Mandy.|
|Janine Martinez||In memory of Maggie Mae 2005-2019.|
|Kerry Ross||In appreciation of ESRA.|
|Mark Rosen||In memory of "Charlie", companion of Bob and Geri De Vilbiss.|
|Frederic Moll||In memory of Maddy. The most wonderful dog.|
|Elizabeth Hall||In memory of Lance, Willie and Mo, and in honor of Sally. Happy Father's Day! - The Hall Family|
|Wayne Gilbert||Fab Four are looking over you.|
|Steve Minard||In memory of Sammy, Skippy, Fergus, Baxter and Liam|
|Jan Patton and James Steven Penn||In honor of Galahad and BuckLee|
|Wayne Gilbert||Gunner-we're thinking of you. Enjoy the Spring weather.|
|Deb Smith||A gift for Deb Smith.|
|Leah Fry||In loving memory of Poncho.|
|Terry Brye||In memory of "Boo" Brye.|
|Wayne Gilbert||The Fab 4 + Mary and Wayne wish Gunner a remarkable summer.|
|Linda Plate||The 'Plate Pack' is wishing Gunner many happy years ahead!|
|Regina Perez||Get well soon sweetie!|
|Lynda Niles||Happy Birthday Gunner!|
|Corp Philanthropy||Reward your Passion grant in honor of Sally Ehrenfried's service to the organization.|
|Don and Linda Coatsworth||In celebration of Percy's adoption!|
|Ralph Sproull||In celebration of the adoption of Tess!|
|Mary Phillips||Happy Birthday Gunner. Sending you love and healing XOXOXO|
|Monica Smith||Happy 1st Birthday!|
|Myrna Riesz||Love and Wellnes Gunner|
|Lynda Niles||Prayers and much love Gunner|
|Barbara Stone Davis||Happy Birthday Gunner!|
|Dennis Burkenpas||In memory of Mandy.|
|Michael Rosenquist||In memory of our beloved dogs Maggie, Chill and Hawk. Get well soon Gunner.|
|Wayne Gilbert||Mary and Wayne wish Gunner fabulous days ahead.|
|Carla Meyer||For Gunner, in loving memory of Beckham and Lucy.|
|Cheryl Hart||Good luck with your recovery, sweet boy.|
|Sheri Leider||Always grateful to the generosity of ESRA members who helped our special needs Riley who is so healthy today. He is the love of our lives.|
|Molly Brass||Get well soon sweet boy!|
|Jennifer Scott||Get better Gunner.|
|Shelley Downing McNew|
|Mary Surprenant||Gunner, you are special and very loved by so many. Praying for you. May you continue to strive with ESRA's help. In honor of Stephanie, Crispin and Jaymie and with all my loving thoughts.|
|Patricia Paterson||I wish we could take them all in. Thank goodness you do.|
|Leonilda (Nilda) Burke|
|Mary Viehoefer||In memory of one of my ESRA boys, Duke.|
|Jo Frances McCawley|
|Sara Rooth-Burkett||We hope you get better Gunner. With puppy kisses and hugs from Darby, Brooke, Zinnie (ESRA rescue), Gracie-Mae and Tasha.|
|Dessie Botham||Good luck Gunner.|
|Kelly Ann McNulty||Handsome young boy. Hope he recovers well.|
|Kim Matthews||In honor of Nita Watson on behalf of Lacey.|
|Kathleen Engberg||Complete healing, sweet boy!|
|Renee Holmes||In memory of ESRA CA volunteer Father Mike Mangoian|
|Nancy McClintock||Wishing you a healthy future. Love Racal, Annie and Winston McClintock|
|Michael Collins||In memory of Angel Addie.|
|Edward T. Egan|
|William J. (Bill) Sterling||In memory of our beloved dogs Bailey and Cody who crossed the bridge a few years ago. They were instrumental in helping many fosters feel welcome and aided in their rehabilitation both physically and mentally.|
|Stacey Annette Smith|
|Robin Downey||Hope for Gunner. Sincere thanks to ESRA and foster family.|
|Michiko Yamamoto||You keep on fighting Gunner! Angel and I are rooting for you.|
|Victoria Nielsen||In memory of my sweet Springer babies: Arco, Patrick and Jenny.|
|Rene Pizzo||In honor of his foster family and the ESRA coordinator caring for this sick boy.|
|Kathy Grossi||Best of luck special boy. In memory of Lance and Rio.|