A DOG is fighting for its life after a bout of illness led to a ‘one-in-a-million’ medical condition being diagnosed by vets.
Sterling, a 15-month-old weimerarner, had to be taken to vets after ingesting what is believed to have been palm oil on Littlehampton beach a couple of weeks ago.
After the animal’s condition rapidly worsened, Ferring Street Vets told Sterling’s owners, Julie and Rod Davies, of East Ham Road, Littlehampton, their pet might have to be put down.
However, a chance x-ray revealed there was more than palm oil making Sterling unwell – the unlucky puppy had been living with intestines wrapped around its heart.
Julie, 39, said: “They didn’t think he would make it because he was so poorly. They said ‘this is close to saying goodbye’. Then they x-rayed him and he wiggled, so they x-rayed a different part and that’s when they looked at the X-ray and were shocked at what they saw.
“They had heard of the condition but never seen it before. They can’t believe he’s been so super fit – he shouldn’t have been able to do anything because the intestines have been crushing his heart.”
Vets believe the combination of being poisoned, and Sterling’s pre-existing condition, had caused the near-fatal bout of illness.
But while Sterling is not in a critical condition at the moment, the ailment will almost certainly prove fatal if left untreated.
Julie and Rod are now desperately trying to raise funds for the life-saving operation, which needs to be performed at a specialist animal hospital outside of Sussex.
Rod and Julie have pet insurance, but because of a technicality the couple’s policy will not cover the costs – which could reach an eye-watering £6,000.
Julie, 39, said: “There is a loop-hole in the policy which means the condition could be a pre-existing one from birth.
“As Sterling’s owners, we didn’t know about it, so it wasn’t a pre-existing condition in our world.”
Sterling’s condition means the intestines are slowly crushing its heart.
It also means Sterling is only able to eat a third of the food it was eating before, because extra food will further constrict the heart.
It is not known yet when the operation will be performed, but Julie and Rod are hoping to raise as much money as possible to give Sterling the procedure as soon as possible.
The fact Sterling had until recently been so healthy has further motivated Julie and Rod to raise the funds for the procedure.
Julie added: “If he had been sick before and was steadily going downhill it might have been a different scenario. But just two weeks ago he was having a great life.
“He’s gone downhill so quickly. We want to do whatever we can to make him better.”
To donate and follow a photo diary of Sterling, visit www.gofundme.com/saving-Sterling
Rod and Julie are also inviting people to join a sponsored dog walk, taking place on Sunday, March 9, at 2pm, meeting at Cissbury Ring car park.
Those taking part are invited to donate to Sterling’s fund, and there will be photos taken of the dogs on the day by Rod.