Roma receives life-saving treatment for diabetes at PDSA.

Roma, a seven-year-old Dachshund from Brighton, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2022 and requires regular medication to manage her condition.

Sonny White (66), Roma’s loving owner, first noticed something was wrong with his beloved pet when she started losing weight.

He said: “I have two pet dogs, Roma and Gypsy. My wife and I weigh them regularly just to make sure they’re in good health. Over a period of about a month, however, I noticed that Roma was losing weight quickly. She also started drinking lots of water – no matter how much she drank, it just didn’t seem to satisfy her thirst.”

A concerned Sonny booked an appointment at his local PDSA Pet Hospital in Brighton where, following a urine and blood test, our team diagnosed Roma with diabetes.

PDSA Vet Tamara Drewett said: “Diabetes is a condition that develops when a dog can’t produce enough insulin to control their blood sugar level, causing it to become dangerously high. It’s usually caused when the body attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing cells (mistaking them for something else). Diabetes is an extremely serious condition that, without treatment, can lead to death.

“Thankfully, Sonny brought Roma to PDSA Brighton Pet Hospital as soon as he noticed her weight loss and excessive thirst – tell-tale signs of diabetes – and she’s been started on the appropriate medication.”

For Sonny, Roma’s diagnosis came as a complete shock.

He said: “The whole family were really shocked and sad about Roma’s diabetes diagnosis. She’s only seven – I didn’t expect this to happen to her at such a young age.”

Roma now requires two insulin injections daily and regular check-ups at PDSA to manage her diabetes.

Sonny said: “PDSA gave me injection training and advice on how to manage Roma’s diabetes. Every day, I get up at 5am to give Roma her breakfast and insulin. She then has her second injection at 5pm with her evening meal. She’s like an alarm clock; she lets me know when it’s time for her medication. Since we started with her insulin injections, we can see the difference in her. She no longer drinks loads of water, and she’s starting to put weight back on.”

According to Sonny, Roma is a special dog and has a knack for knowing when he’s feeling down:

“If I ever get down or depressed, Roma seems to know, and it helps me. All the time, she helps. Even before I say how I’m feeling to anyone else, she just seems to know. I don’t have many friends I can talk to when I feel like that. Roma is my best friend.

“She is very loving and always wants cuddles, especially with my wife. My wife is her person. I do all the feeding and injections, but she goes to my wife for cuddles. What I love most about her is her puppy face. She might be 7 years old, but she still looks like a pup to me.”

Sonny added: “She still acts like a pup too. But I know that Dachshunds can have problems with their backs due to how long their spine is, so we have to be careful with her. We try not to let her jump on and off the sofa, and we don’t play with her too roughly – even though she wants to!”

To date, the total costs of Roma’s investigations and treatment at PDSA have come to over £500.

For Sonny, who is unable to work following a stroke and receives an employment support allowance, this is money he simply can’t spare.

He said: “After my stroke, I called an animal charity for some advice about veterinary costs. At this stage, Roma hadn’t been diagnosed with diabetes, but the lady on the phone gave me PDSA’s number. I hadn’t heard of PDSA before. If it wasn’t for PDSA, I probably would’ve had to have Roma put to sleep. I wouldn’t be able to afford her monthly prescription of insulin. On top of the cost of her insulin, I would have to pay for the syringes, blood tests, and urine tests too. I donate what I can though.”

To add to Sonny’s concerns, like many people across the UK right now, he’s feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis:

“Everything has gone up – energy, food, pet food. I’ve had to tighten my belt, watch the pennies, switch the lights off, all the usual stuff. Life’s getting harder. As a pet owner, just the general upkeep and caring for a pet is expensive. But, even so, I’d rather eat beans on toast every day than see my dogs go without.”

Ultimately, Sonny is extremely grateful for Roma's ongoing care at PDSA and has one final message to supporters.

“Thank you! I honestly don’t know what I would do without PDSA. The vets and nurses are brilliant. Their support means everything to me. It’s a weight off my shoulders knowing that PDSA is there for Roma. Without donations, they couldn’t do the amazing work they do.”

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. Through our 48 Pet Hospitals and Pet Care scheme, we save the lives of poorly pets who would otherwise be left untreated.

Every year, we helped over 388,000 pets. Without us, emergency cases like Roma's would be left untreated and many pets could lose their lives or be separated from families who love them.

We wouldn’t be here for dogs like Roma without your support. Please consider donating today.

Keep pets like Roma together with their owners

As many families like Roma’s struggle to pay unexpected vet bills, they need our urgent support to provide their pets with life-saving treatment before it’s too late.

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