GUNNER – Hemet, CA

ESRA Special Needs Springer

Age: 11 mos
Gender: Male
Color: Black and white

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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.

Gunner 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.

UPDATE 3/10/18: Gunner CA CT scan Gunner post surgery Gunner is simply amazing! No one would ever believe that his recovery is moving along as quickly as it is, considering that only a week ago he had major surgery to remove a part of his right lung. The foot-long incision, which is healing nicely, is proof of all he has been through. However, his actions and his demeanor are those of a young, active, happy-go-lucky Springer. It seems to be true that "boys will be boys!"

His surgeons, veterinary caregivers, and foster mom are extremely pleased with how well Gunner is recovering. While we Gunner incision 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.



Erin Stearns  
Wayne Gilbert  
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.
Jeanne Fleck  
Megan Mauger  
Isabel Sheeter  
Debra Sidman  
Deanna Zelinka  
Nita Watson  
Pomela Flanigan  
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.
Abby Belkin  
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.
Linda Wessell  
Tom Lenzmeier  
Diane Nagel  
Cathy Peters  
Michiko Yamamoto You keep on fighting Gunner! Angel and I are rooting for you.
Kerri Johnson  
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.