The owner of Britain’s tiniest pug dog is trying to save her life by launching an organ appeal to get her a new – KIDNEY.
Pip the pug stands less than four inches tall – smaller than a drink can – but is on the brink of death after she was diagnosed with stage 2 kidney failure.
Unless the four-and-a-half month old whelp gets expensive tests and scans – and ultimately a donated kidney – sadly her prospects looks grim.
Owner Joanne Astley has not stopped crying after she took little Pip to the vet last week because she was losing weight and discovered her condition.
Joanne, 54, said: “The whole family is gutted, absolutely gutted. We can’t stop crying.
“We took Pip to the vet hoping she would get the all clear to run about outside with her sister and mum, but now she faces a death sentence.”
Pip currently weighs in at just 18 ounces, about the same as a baseball, while her sister Poppy, from the same litter, is more than twice her size.
Mum-of-four Joanne lives with gas engineer partner Steve Madelin, 56, in Dudley, West Mids., and only decided to start breeding pugs last year as a hobby.
She was initially delighted when two-year-old Ruby gave birth to a litter of four in January, but that turned to surprise when she realised that one of the puppies was half the size of the others.
Joanne said: “I couldn’t believe it – she was just so tiny.
“We took her to the vet, but they said that she was fine, apart from a cleft lip, and is just small.
“We love our little Pip so much – I thought she was going to grow up quickly, but she’s stayed so little.
“We don’t care that she never grew big, she’s grown to become such a big part of our lives.
“For such a tiny dog she really does have such a big character.
“She must be Britain’s smallest pug – and now she has the biggest challenge ahead of her.”
Joanne had been told that, despite her harelip and cleft palette, Pip was in fine health, and her size was just a genetic anomaly.
However, she has been told Pip will need blood tests and scans to identify the best course of action to treat the kidney failure if a tiny transplant is not available – and the scans alone will cost up to #1,800.
The full cost of the treatment will run into many thousands of pounds, but determined Joanne is doing whatever it takes to raise the funds to save her beloved dog.
Joanne said: “The tests alone will cost £1,800 so treatment could cost thousands.
“We will do whatever we can to save her – everyone falls in love with Pip when they see her, so now we’re calling on anyone who thought she was cute to help us keep her alive.”
To donate to Pip’s fund, please visit – http://gogetfunding.com/a-pound-for-pip/
The British Veterinary Association said that kidney transplants have not been performed on dogs in Britain, because it’s a “thorny ethical problem.”
Senior Vice President Robin Hargreaves said: “I have never heard of a kidney transplant being done in a dog.
“For many years we weren’t allowed to do it with dogs in Britain.
“There situation at the moment is that they are under review.
“The problem we have is that you would need a donor animal – an animal in otherwise perfect health.
“Dogs can’t give informed consent to donate their organs.
“It’s a very very thorny ethical problem and apart from that, to perform the surgery you would need a very qualified surgeon, not just a normal vet.
“To perform an organ transplant on a dog would take serious ethical consideration.”