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Help a Champion Ridgeback Run again!

Help a Champion Ridgeback Run again!

Personal message

Overnight the normal active life of my best friend, and long-time companion, my 8-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback 'Tonga' was taken away from him.

Tonga is a very loving, balanced, willing-to-please doggy-friend - a real gentleman towards humans and other dogs.... a friendly and happy dog.

Tonga is also a well known South African Champion Ridgeback and provides great enjoyment to his over 1,900 Facebook-followers: TauTonga.

I woke up one morning about a month ago to find my Tonga was limping very badly with his right hind leg without any obvious reason of course –the day before he had been perfectly fine.

Since that day until today he has not been able to put any weight onto this hind leg. He is walking on 3 legs now - lifting the painful leg up...he cannot walk too far as it is quite exhausting for him…and if you know Ridgebacks you will know how they absolutely love to run and walk…which I used to do with him on a daily basis on the mountains and beaches of the Western Cape.

He is now getting thinner and thinner around this back leg area due to the lack of exercise.... He cannot even pee like a normal male dog would as he can’t stand on his right leg - so he must always turn around.
But the good news is: Tonga is still a very happy and easy to excite chap and he enjoys any kind of distraction other than being stationary at home in his doggy bed.

I have tried everything possible from:
• Numerous visits to various vets around Cape Town
• Anti-inflammatories and painkillers
o No sign of improvement
• Drastically restricting his movements to allow healing to occur
o Still no sign of improvement
• X-rays of bone structure, hip, elbow, spine and examination of ligaments (Steenberg Vet Clinic)
o All revealed nothing out of the ordinary

Happy to know, but we were still on the search for a Diagnosis regarding his painful condition.
We then consulted Dr Barry Hindmarch, AcuVet Clinic for further support to treat Tonga's Pain the Holistic way:
Acupuncture, K-Laser, and Homoepathic medicine.
Tonga's  condition unfortunately also did not get better - But this Holistic way is a long-goal-treatment. 

The next step was a consultation with Dr. Frans van Heerden, Vet Specialist Surgeon at Panorama Clinic. Dr. van Heerden suspected a "Slipped Disk" compromising a Spinal Nerve (Lumbo-sacral stenosis).

Dr. Van Heerden has done an MRI and confirmed the slipped disk. The quote for this was ZAR 8,687.00.

We were almost ready for Tonga's spine operation - and requested therefore a 2nd opinion of the well-known Senior Surgeon Dr. Michael Grey to do the procedure.

Sadly, we are not yet sure what the next stage is as Dr. Michael Grey has also found a growth in Tonga's inner leg. The tumor is putting pressure on the nerve and will only get worse with time as the tumor continues to grow (if). It is also often impossible to remove without doing damage to the nerve which will leave him in a neurological compromised position. 

So the spine surgery has been postponed and we are awaiting back the report of Prof. Dr. Kirberger (Radiologist/Pretoria) for a guidance wether or not we can consider a surgical biopsy of the tumor.

In the meantime Tonga is on strong pain-killers and Dog Cannabis Products.

I have already spent ZAR 14,083.61 on this whole episode and adding further Visits to Specialists, Scans, Tests plus Biopsy OP and (if nessessary chemotherapy/radiation) he may need the total would amount to approximately ZAR 49,500.00 - 59,500.00 which is completely out of my reach as a single 51-year-old woman doing her best to make her way in South Africa.

I would really be super grateful if anyone could donate any amount…however small towards his  professional therapy programmes and future cancer treatments (if possible).

He is an amazing dog with a huge heart and deserves to run and have fun again. With the right help, I believe that this will be possible!

Any donations will be very gratefully received.

*Funds raised will go directly to the relevant vet bills*


  • Apr 11, 2019 - R 510.00
  • "Goodluck beautiful boy!!???" - A.Pugh

  • Apr 10, 2019 - USD $ 14.20
  • "Praying for a successful outcome for Tonga and many happy running days ahead. " - Dominique

  • Apr 09, 2019 - USD $ 56.02
  • "Love to Tonga fronte Italy. Andrea." - Andrea

  • Apr 09, 2019 - USD $ 70.81
  • "JESUS of Nazareth is Tonga's healer" - JESUS

  • Apr 08, 2019 - R 200.00
  • "Hope Tonga gets well. So young still." - Rochelle

  • Apr 07, 2019 - USD $ 14.19
  • "All the best Tonga!" - Charmaine

  • Apr 06, 2019 - USD $ 13.04
  • "Can only help a little, but if everyone does this it should go a long way to helping you reach your goal. Sending love and hope from England xxx" - Jo Baker

  • Apr 05, 2019 - USD $ 14.17
  • "Good luck!" - Christina

  • Apr 05, 2019 - USD $ 70.83
  • "hope he will be better soon" - karin

  • Apr 05, 2019 - USD $ 14.14
  • "Wishing your lovely boy a speedy recovery xx" - Emma and Kizzy Lloyd

  • Apr 03, 2019 - USD $ 70.37
  • "Sister Fidele is keeping fingers crossed and we too!" - Rhinofields Fidele

  • Apr 03, 2019 - USD $ 70.37
  • "Hope that this spine surgery will bring him back on his 4 paws! " - Markus

  • Apr 03, 2019 - R 1 000.00
  • "Devastated! This is my Congo‚Äôs dad and a magnificent boy! Saying a prayer x " - Congo

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Donations to date

R 7 474.81

Fundraising target

R 14 084.00

Nicole Gerstenberg Vet Cause

Nicole Gerstenberg Vet Cause Logo

Nicole from Hout Bay is crowdfunding to help cover the vet bills of her best friend and long-time companion, the beautiful Ridgeback Tonga.