A puppy which is only allowed a 20-minute daily walk will never lead a normal life, her heartbroken owner claims.
Leia – a Cane Corso-cross, an Italian mastiff breed – can’t be let off her lead, run or play with other dogs, due to a severe case of hip dysplasia.
Life is hard for this young dog who is often in pain, but owner Mike Jupp, from Little Hampton, West Sussex is determined to make her as happy and comfortable as she can be.
She’s currently on medication to help ease her symptoms and Mike is now raising money for vital treatment, which could include an operation, and possibly a full hip replacement.
Mike said: “Her personality was very relaxed and chilled, but that was due to lack of nutrition.
“So once we got her diet right, she is literally a ball of energy, but she’s very barky at the moment and I think that’s mainly due to the pain.”
After noticing Leia whinging whenever she went into a sit position or laying a certain way, Mike took his pup to the vets, and it was thought a muscle issue was to blame.
But after noticing the pain getting worse, he visited the vets once again where it was discovered she had hip dysplasia.
Unfortunately, Mike was only in the first 14 days of his insurance plan for Leia so was told that she wouldn’t be covered.
The worried owner is now waiting for Leia’s consultation, but has been told she would need a triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), depending on how far along Leia is with her condition.
Mike added: “To quote them, it’s the worst case of hip dysplasia they’ve seen in a puppy her age.”
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that is passed on from a puppy’s parents. It can be avoided if mum and dad are given a hip score before breeding, although this is not legally required.
Despite this, Mike initially blamed himself for Leia’s condition.
He said: “I love Leia to bits, like I want her to have whatever, like whatever we can do to get her better we’ll get her.
“When I first got a diagnosis, I automatically blamed myself because I felt I did something wrong.
“Like when it came to the stairs, I wouldn’t allow her to walk upstairs. I’d pick her up…I was just racking my brains and stuff… there was a lot of guilt on my part.”
The condition has really affected Leia’s chance to be a normal dog.
Mike added: “It breaks my heart. At the moment she can’t be full, I mean, just to be free and have fun, it’s heartbreaking.”
But this devoted owner is doing all he can to ensure his precious pup gets to lead a happy and healthy life.
“When she’s on medication, she is absolutely fine, but when she’s not on the medication, you can tell, like when I wake up in the morning, like before we give breakfast and stuff, she’s whimpering and all that stuff and it’s horrible to see.
“I’m trying my utmost to make sure that she’s happy as she can be.”
To help boost funds and to thank the kind people who have donated to Leia’s cause, Mike has committed to running a mile for every £500 raised, and all while dressed as Chase from Paw Patrol.
Touched by the support, Mike said: “It’s humbling and emotional in the same breath.
“I can’t explain how grateful I am for this because, obviously, if these people didn’t help then I don’t want to think what the alternative could be.
“Even with her health issues, I love her to bits. It’s overwhelming to be honest with you. And I don’t really know how to process it properly.”