A Montreal dog owner says she had to surrender her sick, 11-week-old puppy to a veterinary clinic after she could not afford the costly medical treatment.

Julie Mainardi says her puppy Marley was diagnosed with Parvo, a highly contagious disease that affects the intestinal tract, after becoming suddenly sick on Christmas Day.

Mainardi says the DMV Veterinary Centre -- one of the only emergency vet clinics open in Montreal during the holidays -- told her that the treatment would cost approximately $7,500.

When Mainardi explained she couldn't afford to pay, staff at the clinic said her only other option was to leave the bullmastiff-malamute mix at the DMV for treatment, legally surrendering the pup who would then be put up for adoption.

"I just didn't realize how bad it was," said Mainardi. "I didn't think I was going to be walking out the door with a blanket and not my puppy."

The SPCA West has since created a fundraising campaign to help cover the cost of Marley's treatment. As of Saturday morning, the campaign had raised approximately $6,000.

Dr. Enid Stiles, a veterinarian and owner of Sherwood Park Animal Hospital, told CTV Montreal that the estimate Mainari received may be high for a Parvo treatment.

"I would say that's a worst case scenario," said Stiles. "We don't often see them a lot more than that, but we do see cases that come to that much."

Stiles also said that while the case is devastating to a pet owner, returning the dog to its original owner is at the discretion of the DMV.

"It's difficult, because often in these situations, they've legally transferred ownership over to the hospital or the rescue agency," said Stiles. "So there is no legal ground, typically, to get that dog or cat back."

The DMV declined to comment on this specific case, but told CTV Montreal in a phone interview that when someone comes in with a sick animal, the owner is typically offered three options.

"Going to family and friends for assistance, different modes of payment financing," explained DMV customer care manager Nicole Craig. "Sometimes, depending on the medical condition, euthanasia is the way to proceed and, exceptionally, abandonment to a rescue organization."

Stiles and the DMV say animal owners can avoid situations like this by getting pet insurance, which is usually free for the first month.

Mainardi says she hopes the SPCA and the DMV will work with her so Marley can come back home.