Summer on mend but vet treatment not cheap

RSPCA SA urges pet owners to explore all options for covering vet care costs

RSPCA South Australia is urging pet owners to explore all options for ensuring their animals receive timely veterinary care when needed, rather than turning a blind eye to their animal’s suffering or trying to treat them with ineffective and potentially harmful home remedies.

The call comes in the aftermath of another serious case involving an owner who cited financial difficulties as the reason for failing to get veterinary care for his desperately ill animal.

The 47-year-old man, whose case finalised last month, had failed to continue veterinary care of his eight-year-old dog, despite knowing the dog was suffering from a debilitating disease. By the time the dog, named Chucky, came into RSPCA SA’s care his condition was so poor that humane euthanasia was the only option.

RSPCA’s advice to people who own pets or are considering acquiring an animal is:

  • Be realistic about your financial capacity to care for an animal before acquiring it
  • Consider getting pet insurance
  • Act sooner rather than later if you find you cannot afford your animal’s care – don’t let their health deteriorate.
  • Request a payment plan from your vet – and ensure you meet its terms
  • Seek financial support from family and friends
  • Rehome or surrender your animal to a reputable animal welfare organisation such as RSPCA

Exasperating the situation is a current shortage of vets across Australia. RSPCA South Australia is still trying to recruit a new head veterinarian to lead the Lonsdale shelter veterinary team, following the recent retirement of Dr Brad Ward after 15 years of service.

“We have people call us almost daily, seeking help with veterinary expenses – two of the most common procedures are major dental work and repair of cruciate ligament injuries,” RSPCA SA spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said.

“Unfortunately, as a charity reliant on donations for the care of animals at our shelters, we aren’t in a position to assist financially with vet bills.”

Owners citing an inability to afford veterinary care is one of the more common reasons animals are surrendered to RSPCA SA. Among them is two-year-old Summer, a Staffordshire Terrier cross who came into RSPCA SA’s care in May after being hit by a car. She required surgery to repair a broken leg and months of care where her movement had to be restricted to aid recovery. She is now living with an RSPCA SA foster carer, the fifth to have contributed to her recovery journey.

Summer’s medical care has cost $6000 and she has been the subject of a special emergency fundraiser which is yet to reach its target. Anyone wishing to help cover Summer’s medical costs can do so on RSPCA SA’s website –

Summer has just become available to adopt. Anyone interested can view her details online and will need to book an appointment to meet her.

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