Senior Pet Project: Buckley’s Big Surgeries

Buckley the 13-year-old Chinese Crested Powderpuff came to us looking a bit defeated. He had eye discharge crusted and matted into his fur, his ears were inflamed and full of discharge, his whole body was covered in dermatitis, he had a heart murmur and though his mouth was too painful to inspect, he appeared to have severe dental disease. It was desperate times for sweet Buckley.

Our vet team were very concerned for Buckley’s welfare and on his arrival, cleaned up his eyes and started him on medicated shampoo for his skin. He was so itchy he’d been chewing his hind end red raw, so we gave him a cream to sooth his sores.

Our vet team suspected Buckley’s heart murmur was due to mitral valve degeneration, which is common amongst older, small breed dogs. Buckley was booked in for an ultrasound to investigate further, and ensure it would be okay to anaesthetise him for surgery. This scan was done by a specialist, who found he did indeed have mitral valve disease, however there were no secondary changes to suggest he required medication at this stage. Eventually, this disease can lead to heart failure, but affected dogs can still live a good quality of life for several years after a heart murmur develops.

Buckley’s scans showed it was safe for him to receive anaesthesia, so he underwent surgery for his dental disease, which required multiple tooth extractions. His ears were also flushed and his prostate checked. He was found to have very full anal sacs, and a potential mass on his right sac. After a further investigative surgery, the mass was confirmed and sent to pathology, hoping it was simply a benign tumour. Unfortunately, the pathology results showed Buckley has anal sac adenocarcinoma, a locally invasive cancer, which will only give him six months to one year to live.

Even with mitral valve disease and cancer, with minimal symptoms present, Buckley can now enjoy a comfortable retirement and live up to 14 years old with proper monitoring and treatment. We are currently arranging a forever home where he can receive palliative care and retire in comfort.

Since Buckley arrived he’s had a safe place to rest, relax and receive around-the-clock care. It took a little searching, but we found the perfect foster carer Samantha, who had experience medicating and caring for an older dog, and a home environment where Buckley could be closely monitored.

Samatha tells us Buckley bounced back from his surgeries like a champ, and despite all the stitches in his gums, has a huge appetite. He’s gradually become more relaxed, happy and healthy in her family’s care, and has even been learning some new tricks, like sit and lie down.

Like many of the senior pets in our care, Buckley has required extra veterinary treatment and a prolonged stay at the time, costing us over $1,200. It’s only thanks to our wonderful donors we can afford to give Buckley this second chance at life.

Donate today to the Senior Pet Project to give pets like Buckley the care and treatment they need to thrive in their twilight years.


In its second year, our Senior Pet Project was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

With your support we are looking to raise $50,000 to help fund the Senior Pet Project in the months ahead, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.

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