Heartbreaking twist after severely emaciated dog 'scraped off road' by Aussie campers

A dedicated vet has revealed how Mango likely suffered his injuries as he slowly brings him back to good health.

Mango the dog seen here looking 'sad' and emaciated on a Cape York beach campsite.
Mango the dog was spotted by campers severely emaciated and gravely injured in Cape York late last month. Source: Supplied

A young Aussie couple who made the last-minute decision to pick up a "very sad pup pleading for help in the middle of the bush" saved the animal's life from certain death, an appreciative vet has declared.

Dr Sam Kovac of Southern Cross Veterinarian Clinic said the Queensland family from Cairns spotted the injured and unwell dog "barely able to lift his head" along a rural road while they were holidaying in Cape York. Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Kovac explained "one of our regular clients' children" spotted the severely emaciated dog — later named Mango — from the car window, and urged their parents to pick him up.

In a heartbreaking twist, Mango had sustained a major fracture and couldn't use one of his back legs, though the family didn't know it yet, with the seriously skinny dog so emaciated and dehydrated that he'd "clearly given up on life" and was "yelping in pain when moved".

"It's no easy feat for a young professional couple, with a son and daughter in tow, plus two large dogs of their own," Kovac told Yahoo.

"Yet they had a heart big enough to take Mango in — without knowing his infectious disease status, his temperament, or his history, they just knew that this dog needed their help and without them, he would die."

An emaciated looking Mango peering over the edge of a boat at Cape York beach.
It turned out Mango had sustained a major fracture and couldn't use one of his back legs. He was so emaciated and dehydrated that he’d clearly give up on life, yelping in pain when moved. Source: Supplied

The family brought Mango back to their beach camp and gave him some love and care, Kovac said, adding that there was "no veterinary assistance up that way", which is when they made the decision to bring Mango on "the long journey back to Cairns", where he was given life-saving treatment.

"The suspicions of my orthopaedic surgeon were confirmed by our specialist radiologist in the USA. Mango sustained a major fracture to his pelvis that would be causing horrific pain and possible injury to his right sciatic nerve," Kovac said.

Mango being hugged by a little girl on the beach.
Mango with his new adoptive sister. Source: Supplied

"Given the precision of the fracture and location, the most likely possibilities of what caused the trauma were blunt trauma from a size 13 steel-capped boot to Mango’s buttocks, or a kick from a brumby.

"Unfortunately, he'd been infected with a mosquito-borne heartworm disease that is common from Far North Queensland right through to Southern NSW. He's receiving daily treatment for that and we are being very careful that he doesn't develop a blood clot from this."

Dr Sam Kovac, with Mango - who is now on the mend - and his new family.
Dr Sam Kovac, with Mango - who is now on the mend - and his new family. Source: Supplied

Mango will be spending his life in a crate for the next six weeks to ensure the fracture site heals well — "no easy thing" for a busy young couple with two kids and two big dogs to do, but "they instantly agreed to do whatever was necessary to help".

Kovac said that now, after rigorous treatment, "he's 100 per cent perked up since he was scraped up off the side of the road" by the Booth family — and he "personally thinks he feels appreciative of the support".

"He's started to bear weight on his leg, and has been more interactive with the family including interacting with their children more and wagging his tail more," Kovac said, adding that he expects the Booths to formally adopt Mango in time.

Kovac personally funds community cases such as Mango's, having started Project Hope which provides unlimited veterinary care for the companion animals belonging to Sydney's rough sleepers, homeless and domestic violence victims.

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