Owning a dog can be expensive, especially if that dog is diagnosed with a life-long health condition. Patrick Copley is currently faced with the difficult task of trying to fund his beloved dog J-Lo's treatment.
Following a vicious attack which left Patrick with limited mobility, he became increasingly isolated and decided that getting a dog may aid his recovery. When the seven-year-old Cavalier King Charles came into his life it was the perfect match but poor J-Lo had her own health issues. She suffers from Syringohydromyelia, sleep apnoea and facial nerve paralysis, requiring ongoing monitoring with the Animal Health Trust (AHT). Patrick relies on disability benefits and insurance to fund J-Lo's medical care but reached the limit on the insurance several months ago. The cost of travel to and from the AHT in New Market is also costly, as Patrick relies on taxis to get around.
Recently J-Lo required urgent blood tests and visited her local vet's. As the tests were priced under £500, Patrick was asked to pay upfront rather than wait for his insurance to renew, leaving Patrick in a difficult situation.
He describes J-Lo as a "little fighter" but with the cost of specialist food and eight different medications totalling up to £400 a month, the bills are mounting.
Patrick says, "J-Lo is not only my soul-mate and companion but also my support dog for my medical condition, she is also a very well loved and friendly dog with the most fantastic of personalities who has a great following on Facebook. Due to the fact I am on long term server disability benefits due to various health problems myself. We both have our good days and I’m incredibly thankful for them. Unfortunately, J-Lo’s insurance has ran out for this year’s cover and whilst the Animal Health Trust are not pressing me for payment, the bill currently stands at £12K plus and the bills for her monthly medication are just mounting up."
James Warland, one of the vets who is treating J-Lo at the AHT, said, "J-Lo’s sleep apnoea has got so extreme that she has had to be hospitalised for monitoring and more tests to work out the best way to treat her. She has had surgery in the past, but as she is currently overweight we have been using hydrotherapy and a weight loss programme to improve her overall weight, health and fitness, and hope to be able to avoid more surgery.
"The main problem with J-Lo’s eyes is that the facial nerve paralysis prevents her from blinking. She has had a temporary surgery on her eyelids to help protect her eyes while we hope the nerve function will slowly return. Fortunately most dogs cope very well with such nerve paralysis, which can be permanent, as long as we can keep their eyes healthy. We’re very pleased Patrick and J-Lo are helping to raise funds for the AHT, as every penny of profit the AHT makes treating animals is re-invested into research to improve the health and wellbeing of animals. We look forward to seeing J-Lo for a check-up again soon."