The dog’s owner Jenny, who did not want her surname published, was told by two veterinarians it would cost more than $5,000 to save her beloved pet.
But it was a bill Jenny could not afford.
“As a single mum, I could simply not afford all the costs and I didn’t want to put Leon down,” Jenny said.
“He got worse and the vets told me you have to make a decision.
“It was all a bit of a shock because he is so young.”
On Jenny’s third attempt, Dr Arthur House, from the Hallam Referral Centre, answered her prayers.
The Princess Highway vet put Jenny in contact with the Pet Medical Crisis Fund who raised $2,600, in addition to Jenny’s brother’s $1,500 contribution, which left Jenny with $2,000 to pay for the operation.
Support from Dr House, the Pet Medical Crisis Fund and the Facebook community, has blown Jenny away.
“It has been incredible for us, particularly the kids, to know that other people supported us,” she said.
“Leon is a mate for Jess and Olivia, a guard dog and a protector of the house.
IT will be a very merry Christmas for Rocco the Pekinese after emergency spinal surgery which saved his life.
IT will be a very merry Christmas for Rocco the Pekinese after emergency spinal surgery which saved his life.
The two-year-old was rushed into surgery yesterday morning with a leading Victorian canine spinal surgeon at the Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre in Malvern after he ruptured a disc in his spine on Friday.
The difficult spinal surgery can cost up to $5000 which owners John and Deanna Ahlberg from Wallington could not afford.
The retired couple had to contemplate putting down their family pet only a day before Christmas.
But luckily the Pet Medical Crisis Fund stepped in with a Christmas present of $1000 and in the spirit of Christmas, the surgery to chipped in $1000 too.
Mr Ahlberg was over the moon Rocco could be saved and said it was the best Christmas present ever.
“Rocco would have been in big trouble if he didn’t have surgery, we are just so happy,’’ he said.
“It was an expensive operation and we are so thankful the surgeon who helped us out, it is a really nice Christmas present.
“And they are pretty confident he will walk again.’’
Pet Medical Crisis Fund chief executive officer Jennifer Hunt said it was great to help a pet in need so close to Christmas.
“The fact that it was Christmas and they may have had to put him down because the surgery was so expensive was heart breaking, so we did as much as we could.
“Rocco is such a sweet little dog and the family had only lost another Pekinese in June.
“Now he will get to celebrate another Christmas.’’
Rocco will spend Christmas Day in hospital but is expected to be able to go home on Boxing Day.
WHEN blue heeler cross Freya was ill, her best mates Meaghan and hubby David feared their beloved pooch had heatstroke.
But when Freya refused to eat or drink and was disinterested in her family, they knew it was far more serious.
The Toogarook couple took Freya to Peninsula Vet Care Rosebud, where Dr Dr Ben Porter discovered the source of the problem during an examination — a nectarine pip possibly dropped by a bird in the family’s garden.
Dr Porter said the pip had been stuck in Freya’s small intestine before it was removed during surgery under full anaesthetic.
He said Freya — possibly the toughest dog he had ever come across — had made a full recovery post surgery.
For Meaghan and David, there was no question about going ahead with the operation — despite still paying off vet bills for other treatments.
“She’s such a beautiful girl. She’s always wonderful with the kids,” Meaghan said. “She’s one in a million.”
The Pet Medical Crisis Fund (PMCF) — a not for profit, volunteer run charity, that assists disadvantaged pet owners who cannot afford surgery to keep their pet alive — stepped in with $1000 to help with the latest bill.
Fund head Jennifer Hunt said Freya was an important part of her family’s life.
“It is the generosity of the public and our Facebook community that enables this work to be done,” she said.
“We are just the front line that get the joy of telling them that like-minded people are enabling this to happen — wanting their girl to survive and go home again.”
To support the Pet Medical Crisis Fund, click here
Family members became increasingly concerned after Bailey began ‘crying’ with pain.
Initially they thought he was cramping or had even strained ligaments in a knee.
But an examination by Dr Ben Porter, from Peninsula Vet Care, later confirmed worst — Bailey’s right back knee was prone to dislocation and he needed major surgery to rectify it.
The surgery was estimated at about $2000 — a tough ask for the De Araugos family, who were already going through tough financial times.
Dr Porter put the family in contact with the Pet Medical Crisis Fund, which helps disadvantaged pet owners prevent their pets from being unnecessarily euthanised when they cannot afford the cost of veterinary care.
Pooches learn to doggy paddle!
Fund head Jennifer Hunt said the charity donated $800 while Peninsula Vet Care discounted its fee — leaving the De Araugos family with a more manageable $400 to pay.
Ms De Araugo said the family was rapt Bailey had recovered from the surgery and following a period of rehabilitation was back to being his loveable best.
The Pet Medical Crisis Fund relies on public donations to continue its work and is run by volunteers. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.
Australians have among the highest pet ownership rates in the world. But when it comes to medical care for furry friends — the industry is in turmoil.
Jennifer Hunt forked out tens of thousands on vet bills to keep her pet dog Jed alive.
“I got asked by the vet if I would put him down as it’s expensive surgery and many pet owners can’t come up with the money.
“But then I thought, Jed is part of the family you wouldn’t put a family member down,” she told 10 daily.
Hunt ended up paying a total of $30,000 for various spinal treatments for her border collie.
While she managed to come up with the funds, she soon came across countless heart-wrenching stories of Aussies who couldn’t afford to keep their pets alive.
“For example pensioners whose pets are companions and bring them so much love and joy.
“Or families where a loved one is autistic, disabled or stressed, there’s a lot of evidence of how much a pet improves their outcomes,” Hunt said.
Owning A Pet Hits The Hip Pocket Hard
The Melbourne-based nurse decided to start a crowdfunding charity to help families save their pets.
Eight years later, the Pet Medical Crisis Fund (PMCF) has raised and distributed almost $400, 000 to save more than 450 pets across Victoria.
“Many of the people we’ve helped are single mothers with sick or disabled children as well as pensioners,” Hunt said.
Australian pet owners are forking out a $1.3 billion annually on the vet, according to recent research by comparison website Finder.
Hunt said she is working to take her service national and she knows it will “open a floodgate of need.”
The PMCF also covers the cost of some vets who agree to do procedures where an owner can’t pay.
The Human Cost Of Treating Pets
But it’s not just pet owners paying a high price.
Dr Oliver Liyou has been a vet in regional NSW for 25 years. He says he’s struggled to stay in the industry — where staff shortages, mental illness and clients who can’t afford to pay for treatment — is rife.
“The general public thinks all vets are rich and that’s just a misconception,” he told 10 daily.
Liyou estimates that around 50 percent of Australians can’t afford reasonable medical care for their pets, yet many clients he encounters own multiple animals.
“Many vets are walking away rather than being prepared to put their mental health at risk doing such long hours, managing financial stress and dealing with client expectations,” he said.
According to the Australian Veterinarian Association, suicide among vets reached “near epidemic” levels in 2013.
“I’ve had five vet friends commit suicide, and a few years ago I was lucky to survive a suicide attempt, I ended up in a coma and ICU,” Liyou said.
Liyou says access to information and misinformation online compounds the problem.
“I have seen attitudes change in the last five to 10 years. Clients often have distorted views and expectations not only of costs but how to treat things based on what Dr Google says,” he said.
How Vets Are Fighting To Keep Animals And Themselves Alive
“People often say ‘treating my dog is more expensive than my medical costs’ but they don’t see all the costs of caring for humans”, Dr Paula Parker, President of Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) said.
Parker says most local vets are equipped like small hospitals, and the huge medical equipment costs are absorbed by small business owners.
“We do not get state and federal government funding, Medicare and PBS,” she said.
According to Australia’s largest veterinary employment website, Kookaburra Veterinary Employment, there are currently 430 vet roles that haven’t been filled.
“We are seeing shortages, largely in rural areas and also where more specialists skill sets are required,” Parker said.
In response to dwindling vet numbers, isolation and stress, the AVA has introduced a 24-hour counselling hotline, a mentoring program as well as a benevolent fund to support vets in need.
HARRY the cute pup with the time-bomb ticker has been saved thanks to a medical crisis fund for pets and a veterinary heart surgeon.
But the extraordinary effort to keep Harry alive was not without a last-minute drama.
A tight schedule to save Harry almost came unstuck yesterday when a vital device needed to plug the hole in the little hound’s heart was held up by Customs in NSW after being flown from the US.
A suburban vet check revealed a heart murmur when Harry was taken for vaccinations by Mentone couple Kristy Picone and partner Matt.
Cardiologist Richard Woolley, at the Pet Emergency & Specialist Centre in East Malvern, said Harry would be dead within months, adding: “He is a cavoodle, a King Charles spaniel-poodle cross and poodles are a breed predisposed to the condition.”
Unable to afford the costs involved, Harry’s owners agonised over the pup’s fate.
But Dr Woolley contacted Jennifer Hunt who runs the Pet Medical Crisis Fund.
“Dr Woolley is discounting his surgery by $1000 and the Pet Medical Crisis Fund is donating $1000 and we are delighted to be able to help this little guy over the line,” Ms Hunt said.
Surgery went ahead yesterday and Harry is believed to have pulled through beautifully.
MARIA Kljuce has given all she has to save a chicken that does not lay eggs from certain death.
Ms Kljuce, of Endeavour Hills, said she rescued the hen with five others from starvation and named her ‘The Smart One’.
“She has always stood out as more intelligent than the others,” Ms Kljuce said.
“The Smart One follows the dogs (and) can spot easily if there’s a way out in the fence. She’s very clever.”
But, after a few days, Ms Kljuce said she noticed her pet chicken was not eating.
She brought her to to Dr Phil Sachs in Burwood, who found dog pellets stuck in its neck.
Surgery was about $600, which Ms Kljuce could not afford. Dr Sachs halved the surgery’s fees, Ms Kljuce chipped in $150 and the Pet Medical Crisis Fund covered the rest. “She’s the only one that doesn’t lay eggs, but I love her,” Ms Kljuce said.