A 12-year-old military veteran dog was rushed to the vets after vomiting blood. Mo, the “perfect” Labrador, was later diagnosed with a life-threatening tumour on her stomach. Her owners are now appealing for help and support to save her life and give her the retirement she deserves.
Charlie Cridland, a former search dog handler in the British army, rehomed Mo in 2019. He said that Mo had an “eventful” career serving five years overseas for the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, completing several search tours of Afghanistan as an IE3D search dog. Mo also won a silver medal at the International Canine Biathlon in Belgium for her work.
Ten days ago, Mo started vomiting blood after suffering a hemorrhage in her stomach, and without a second thought, her owner took her straight to their local vets in Bridgend. As Maes Glas Vets in Brackla didn’t have the extensive equipment to diagnose the issue, Mo was referred to Highcroft Referrals Unit in Bristol. Charlie said that Mo received “outstanding” treatment from both practices.
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Mo was diagnosed with a tumour – which a biopsy still hasn’t confirmed if it’s cancerous or benign – and while waiting to get surgery she also was thought to have tested positive for Brucella, which is a notifiable disease to public health. This meant that she was not able to have surgery while they waited for confirmation from the lab sample – which came back negative. In the meantime, this meant Mo had multiple veterinary stays being treated as a contagious dog, under quarantine rules, which increased the overall vet bill
The couple are now “trying to do everything they can” to save their beloved pet after finding out that their pet insurance will not cover Mo’s vet bills or life-saving operation. Charlie said: “We understood we would be covered under our policy for her, later to find out that we had not considered their four pages worth of definitions which has landed us with footing a bill of £8,105 – and the surgery costs £4,500. We can’t do it before covering the costs to date.”
He said: “When Mo fell ill she was vomiting blood and my partner didn’t have an hour to read over the fine print.” He added: “[You] would try to do everything you can to save your pet.
“Our argument is, if you have to put four pages of definitions then your policy isn’t easy to understand – it’s misleading and makes people be in a state of entrapment.” Charlie said that he had been with their pet insurance since 2019, but claims they had multiple loopholes in their contract which they were unaware of when it came to paying emergency medical care. He said: “Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it fair practice.”
A charity set up for ex-service dogs leaving the military, called Hero Paws Life After Service, have also been trying to help towards Mo’s treatment. Charlie said: “They have been incredibly helpful in contributing to our veterinary bills, sending supplements and dog food in addition to setting up our fundraiser online which has gathered £653 so far. Hero Paws are fronting £2,000 toward our vet bills too.” Charlie added that they are hoping their insurance will cover around £2,000, but are awiating on a settlement.
Charlie said that they’re at a crossroads of what to do if they can’t pay for her medical treatment. Although Mo is “an old lady”, she’s still fully of life and deserves to live a healthy and happy retirment, he said. “She’s an old lady in age but doesn’t resemble that in her body and mind. She’s a playful, sociable dog and loves people. She’ll get her belly out for anyone now.”
The couple are also expecting a baby in three weeks’ time. He added: “For us, bringing a baby into the world, if we could have any dog it would be Mo – she’s the golden standard for any dog.”
Charlie explained that when they first brought her home, it took her a while to transition to house rules. He recalled her playful and good nature, and a time she managed to grab a whole glass tub of lasagne off the counter onto the floor, ate it all up, and didn’t even break the glass. He added: “Over time, she is basically the perfect pet, good off and on lead, and gentle around babies and children in our social circles.”
Charlie feels “aggrieved and let down” by their insurance company, but hopes that they can fundraise enough money to save Mo’s life and “give her the chance at a happier extended retirement.” For more information and to donate to help cover Mo’s life-saving treatment, click here.