A DARWEN family is appealing for help to fund chemotherapy treatment for their beloved dog.

Staximus is a seven-year-old chihuahua who had lived a healthy life until being diagnosed with meningoencephalitis late last year.

Meningoencephalitis is a life-threatening inflammation of the tissue layers that surround the brain and spinal cord that is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection and can affect dogs as well as humans.

Owner Gary Pike of Avondale Road, Darwen, said: “He’s insured but the insurance payment he gets per annum has been used up so we need the £3000 to keep him in chemo until therapy when the next insurance payment comes in.

“Unfortunately, he’s had three spells in ITU in Liverpool University Small Animal Hospital in Cheshire and the bill for that alone was £850 on top of the normal costs.”

Staximus had his first seizure on December 5 last year, after which Mr Pike and his partner Annette Dearden took him to their local veterinarian.

After several tests, Staximus was then referred to an animal hospital on December 31 where after a CT scan he was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis of unknown origin.

As a result, the dog has lost his sight, developed epilepsy and has had to regularly take chemotherapy steroids and two forms of anti-seizure medications.

However, the treatment has had an effect with Staximus showing signs of improvement.

Mr Pike said: “It’s amazing what he’s overcome.

“He’s blind but you wouldn’t think it when you see him walking down the road and he’s much braver around other dogs.”

For this improvement to continue Mr Pike and Ms Dearden have set up a crowd funder to receive financial help from anyone generous enough to help Staximus continue recovering.

The fundraiser can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/chemotherapy-for-staximus, while Mr Pike has also set up a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Chemotherapy-for-Staximus-101025711736477.