News

Helping Our Friends in Need - Inspired Feature


9 April 2014

The Animals in Need fund at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Veterinary Science is helping cover the cost of much-needed veterinary care for pets from disadvantaged families, or stray and neglected animals and wildlife.

Patsy, an Australian kelpie, has been a wonderful companion to Ms Alja Brown, who adopted her at three months. But life hasn't always been easy for Patsy. In 2013, she suffered a chronic Achilles tendon rupture, which resulted in an inability to bear weight on the affected leg.

Surgery was clearly the solution, but this was likely to result in substantial costs that Alja could ill afford on her pension.

Friend and neighbour, Dr Peter Snowdon, stepped in to help.

He drove them to the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Sydney (UVTHS) where Patsy received treatment. It was here that Alja became aware of the financial support available through the Animals in Need Fund, which paid for Patsy's surgery and recovery.

The Animals in Need fund was launched by the University of Sydney's Faculty of Veterinary Science in 2012. It was established to help cover the cost of much-needed veterinary care for pets from disadvantaged families, or stray and neglected animals and wildlife.

It covers a range of services such as desexing, vaccinations, and surgery to treat trauma or cancer. This support is helping to improve, and in many cases, save the lives of animals in need.

Since launch, more than 570 donors have contributed upward of $32,000 to the fund.

A new lease of life for Patsy

"Before surgery, Patsy's gait had become distressing to observe," says Dr Snowdon. "Her loving owner, Alja and I could see that something had to be done. Alja and Patsy are fixtures in our community, seen walking several times a day and greeting neighbours, but this was becoming more and more difficult for them. I had heard great things about the UVTHS from a friend, so I arranged for Patsy to be seen there."

Dr Snowdon has nothing but praise for the orthopaedic team at the UVTHS, Dr Katja Voss, Dr Karl Mathis and Dr Chris Tan. He describes them as "extraordinarily supportive, communicative and committed in their approach", and adds that the hospital's facilities are "absolutely superb".

Though Patsy's Achilles tendon proved too damaged for her to make a full functional recovery, she made good progress during her time in the hospital, where she has been the recipient of much attention from the nurses, and has since returned home.

"She will need to use a supportive prosthetic for the remainder of her days," says Dr Snowdon. "But, she is still such a happy girl and is enjoying her return to, admittedly limited, physical activity."

"Without the Animals in Need Fund, Alja would not have Patsy, and my dog Gwindolyn, an English cocker spaniel, would not have her best friend."