A WINSFORD mother-of-three is calling for more support for pet owners who struggle to afford veterinary bills.

Helen Reynolds, 37, says her springer spaniel, Dotty, could not be treated at Winsford Veterinary Surgery, in High Street, because she did not have the necessary insurance to cover the cost of testing and treating a lump in her mouth.

The three-year-old dog was sent home with anti-inflammatory tablets and Helen was advised to take her back if she had the money to pay for further treatment.

Helen says she has become concerned about the lack of funding available in Cheshire for sick animals.

She said: “We think Dotty has an abscess from some of the symptoms she has shown, like unusually smelly breath and a general lack of appetite.

“I’ve called all the charities I can think of like the RSPCA, Blue Cross and PDSA but they are all too far away from here.”

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) is UK’s leading veterinary charity that provides more than 2.7 million treatments a year.

The closest PDSA Pet Hospital to Helen’s home in Winsford is 20 miles away in Stoke-on-Trent. This is followed by branches in Manchester and Liverpool, that are roughly 21 miles away each.

A spokesperson for the PDSA said: “To make sure we have the greatest impact, PDSA has hospitals in most cities and major towns where there is the highest level of need.

"With no government funding, we rely entirely on generous public support to provide our charitable veterinary services. Pet Hospitals represent a huge investment and cost an average of £1m a year to run, so it’s just not possible to have them in every single town.”

Helen, who lives in Delamere Street, has owned Dotty since she was a puppy.

Helen said: “Dotty and my five-year-old son Harry are absolute best friends, they love playing together in the garden and running around together.

“Now, my dog isn’t eating properly, and she is sleeping all the time. It is just heartbreaking to see our poor Dotty suffer. She’s not the dog she was a few weeks ago.”

A spokesperson from Willows Vet Group said: “We always try to work with our clients to provide a range of solutions to suit their budgets.

“Unfortunately, when a client has financial difficulties and is unable to pay for any of the treatment options available, vets have to refer them to one of the charitable organisations that exist to help in these circumstances.

“We would never see an animal suffer and emergency pain relief would be given as a minimum if required.”