Stories from the surgery: a lost cat with a broken leg and the importance of microchipping

Petplan vet Brian Faulkner has once again taken time out of his busy schedule to tell us all about some of the strange, funny and sometimes difficult things he encounters in his surgery.

This month, he tells us the story of a cat presented at his surgery and how their plight made him reflect on the importance of microchipping pets…

A few days ago I was called to the home of a local family who were worried about their cat, Chuggers.

Chuggers had returned home late one evening after being missing for four days and was walking in a strange manner. I turned up to their home and advised them to bring him into the surgery the following morning for x-rays.

As I suspected, Chuggers had broken one of his legs and required surgery to correct his broken bone.

Despite his injury, Chuggers – who was recently used in a Petplan photo campaign – and his owners were incredibly lucky that he was able to make his way home.

It’s something a great many missing and injured cats aren’t able to do.

Numerous times throughout my career, injured pets have been brought into the surgery by people who have found them and – because they don't have a microchip – we have no way of identifying them.

Because we are unable to contact the owners we are often left with some incredibly difficult decisions. Because we haven’t been given authority to treat the animal we are unable to operate on any ailments (like broken bones) which is both distressing for us and the animal itself.

Chuggers' lucky escape made me think about the importance of microchipping pets and how being able to identify pets quickly and contact the owners is so vital.

Microchipping in dogs becomes compulsory in England in April 2016 but I would urge all pet owners to learn the facts about cat and dog microchips, and get their animal chipped as soon as possible.

There are still plenty of myths surrounding the microchips and how they work.

Contrary to what some people believe, they don’t work as a tracker so you can see where your pet is at all times and you don’t immediately get the contact details of the owner.

A microchip works as a kind of registration number for your pet so, when you take a lost animal to your local vet or animal charity, they can find out their unique chip number.

From there the details of the owner can be found and they can be reunited.

Thankfully, Chuggers has now had his operation (which was covered by his Petplan cat insurance) and is doing well.

As you can see from the images of the x-rays, it was a serious break and he needed a pin to ensure everything heals properly and, while it may look like the bone has been misaligned, everything is as it should be and will heal perfectly in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case for cats and dogs that aren’t lucky enough to find their way home – which is why microchipping your pet remains amongst the most important things you can do to ensure your pet’s safety.

Has a microchip helped you find a lost pet? Let us know about any of your microchipping stories below...