Save the puppies: Pepsy's owner

PET owners have been reminded of the importance of keeping their dog's vaccinations up to date after one Fraser Coast woman only learned her dog was suffering from a life-threatening condition when it was detected during a vaccination.

Tanya Hoberg has now taken to the internet in an effort to save her puppy Pepsy.

Mrs Hoberg started the website when a local vet detected an unusual heartbeat in the puppy during a routine visit.

PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) occurs in dogs when a blood vessel connecting two main arteries fails to close after birth, putting pressure on both the heart and lungs.

While normal in a foetus, if the vessel remains open it pushes extra volumes of blood into the lungs.

Veterinary cardiac specialist Brad Gavaghan said in his report that PDA was the most common congenital heart defect in small dogs.

He said congestive heart failure could occur as early as six months of age with a PDA as severe as Pepsy's.

Pepsy weighs less than 4kg, but her heart has swelled to a size more like that of a 10kg dog.

She will need to reach 5kg before she can have surgery in Dr Gavaghan's Brisbane surgery.

He is one of only three cardiac specialists in the country able to do the surgery.

The surgery costs more than $4500 and Pepsy will require post-op visits for the next 12 months.

Mrs Hoberg will blog from, where pet lovers can donate.

Pepsy is on track to reach 5kg by August, leaving three months for Mrs Hoberg to raise the funds.

“When she was diagnosed, there was no option,” she said.

“It (the surgery) just had to be done,”

PDA facts

  • PDA affects about seven puppies out of every 1000. Most of them are female
  • About 60% of dogs with PDA will die within a year of diagnosis

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