Thank you everybody. Our campaign is now over.
Help Gleann Get Diagnosed
$965 raised
48% of $2k goal
25 contributors
0 days left
Ended Sep 11, 2016
UPDATE 8/18/16:
As time runs out for him, I have changed the title to focus on Gleann. Every day we get closer to this impacting his kidneys and any chance of saving him is needlessly lost!  Please share and help!  

UDATE 6/21/16:
I had intended to update here yesterday after returning from our consultation with Dr. Knapik at Peak Veterinary Referral Center for both dogs. I had meant to make this a post but there is apparently a word limit so I'm doing it here instead.
Here's where we're at with the pups:
 
Gráinne:
Yes, she very likely does have CLL. HOWEVER, it's not quite the "maybe a few months and chemo might extend it a few more weeks" prognosis we h Although I had read that dogs with CLL can live for year...there is the whole "when did this start" thing and our regular vet had made it sound like we're nearing the end. But She MAY still have years....her levels are actually pretty low and with no other symptoms, so this Dr. Knapik would not have likely put her on prednisone at this point! So we'll be weaning her off of it under Dr. Knapik's guidance. After she's been off for awhile we'll do another blood test to see what her levels are then monitor monthly. Possibly, of course, with other testing.
 
A definitive diagnosis of leukemia can be done via a blood test which is not only slightly less expensive than the bone marrow biosy we were told to get by our regular vet, but, obviously, way less invaisve and painful. We may do that, but it is still out of reach.
 
Dr. Knapik also noted that chemo can put CLL into remission if things get acute, rather than just "add a few weeks or maybe months" with them having to stay on it for the duration as we had been lead to believe. We are hoping we have years with her, maybe not as many as we'd like....but then no matter how many it never really is enough.
 
So we will get her off the prednisone, monitor her blood levels and watch for symptoms. We also hope to do further testing....there are several possible ones including the one I mention above, so we know better exactly what is going on and where she is.
 
 
Gleann:
A bit less optimistic and with a long way to go before we know what is causing it and what we an really do.
 
Dr. Knapik noted, as we had found in our research, that there are a LOT of possible causes of hypercalcemia, not just tumors in the couple of places our regular vet wanted us to have checked. So, really, we should have gotten a consultation with an internist, bue because of our vet's focus on those possible tumors there we were and she was happy to give us guidance. Only one of those possibilities was essentially ruled out as it was the only one that could be checked in a physical exame.... so it is not likely an anal gland tumor. Gleann did NOT appreciate that being checked!
 
Honestly, there was a lot of information and it was really hard to absorb. She did suspect, although I can't remember why, a tumor, likely non-malignant, of the para-thyroid. Oddly, this was the one that as I was reading struck me too....but while she had an educated medical reason that I now can't remember, mine was just a total out-of-the-blue thought. But it could be lots of other things, including cancerous tumors as our regular vet suggests. AND, yes, there is a chance he'll just die of kidney failure regardless of the cause.
 
So, we are looking at a lot of tests, some expensive (all expensive to us) to find the cause. And, very likely, some form of surgery. Maybe chemo if it's a malignant cancer. We need to find it first.
 
She did also find a lot more fatty lumps on him and thinks what we'd been told was a herniated muscle is, in fact, yet another very large one. We may want to get those aspirated just to be sure they are not malignant as well...as that big one hasn't grown for a long time, it is hopeful they are not.

We did have his blood levels checked again and there is no significant change. So what ever it is moving slow and hopefully we can figure it out and take action before it's too late.
 
There are a lot of things I may be forgetting to mention, it was a lot. We should be getting an email from them that might help with that. But the session ended with her noting that she saw that Gleann's eyes, which have been treated for a supposed auto-immune issue for years, do not close fully when the edges are touched. She feels this is contributing the the problem and may be neurological. That was truly a WTF as no one has noted anything like that before. Whether it's connected or not...well, she noted that things usually are.
 
So a looong road ahead to figure out what is wrong with my beloved heart dog and how we can help him. ~:(
 
 
Yesterday's appointment came to $374.  And we have so far to go.  Thank you to all who have helped us this far




Original:
This is Gleann (black Aussie mix) and Grainne (Greyhound). We're their people, Aaron and Saigh Kym. Aaron is a per diem EMT, working varying hours, and Saigh Kym is not working regularly due to health reasons as well as trying to get our homestead more productive and with current issues with our dogs has now put other business plans on hold due to time and money it would take to get it going.

In February we all lost our 15 year-old BC mix Sachairi and we're still recovering. Then a few weeks ago we took both Gleann and Grainne for their yearly checkups. Gleann is 12 now so the vet wanted to do a "wellness check" blood panel and, as Grainne has had some symptoms that seemed to be pointing to something autoimmune (as well as having epilepsy), she asked to do one on her too.  And so we found out that there is a possibility they BOTH have cancer!

This hit us like a load of bricks!  We just lost Sach, we know that Gleann would only have a few years; we didn't expect to learn that both are in such danger!

6 year-old Grainne's blood work apparently indicates chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)! This doesn't actually seem to match the symptoms we were asking about, but then CLL apparently does not show symptoms.  Prognosis is grim, it is 100% terminal in dogs, chemotherapy can add weeks, maybe months, but can be brutal on them.  But the truth is the indicators in the blood work are not conclusive, that would require a bone marrow biopsy. There does seem to be a smaller chance that it is something else that is treatable.  But in order to know how to proceed, treatment for something else or spoiling her like mad if it is CLL, we need to get her to an oncologist and have a biopsy to find out.

Gleann's blood work showed that he has hypercalemia (high blood level of calcium), which is a surprise as he has shown no real symptoms (although judging his eating habits is difficult, as he's never been a big eater and has always gone through periods of not eating much at all). A second test shows he still has it so it was not something he got into.  There are many possible causes, but the vet suspects a tumor in his kidneys or liver and wants imaging to look for them.  We want to get this done, as well as get him a consultation with a specialist so we can know how to proceed. If it is not this there are other things that need to be checked, this is, apparently, the most likely cause. Even if he does not have a condition that would cause death in itself, like malignant tumors, the high calcium itself can cause kidney failure. Therefore, we need to find the cause and get his levels normalized in whatever method is needed.

We have had Gleann since he was a puppy, we know that he's a senior but do hope that we can keep him happy and healthy for at least a couple more years. He is our heart and soul.  Grainne is still relatively young, we adopted her knowing she had epilepsy, which is well managed (she has had only one seizure since we adopted her and her meds were adjusted after that). And all this follows a huge horse vet bill (and the horses need their spring/summer shots, so that's hanging over us too).

We've already maxed out our CareCard on Sach and then with what we've already done with these two.  We desperately want to get them both tested as soon as we can, so that any treatment can be started before either get worse and/or we can do whatever we can for them.

EDIT: I realize I should post that our regular vet is Bethel Animal Hospital http://www.bethelanimalhospital.com/ and we have been referred toPeak Veterinary Referral Center http://www.peakveterinaryreferral.com/ but have yet to be able to afford to take them.

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