Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stray cats again: MICROCHIP!

Some of the most difficult situations we face happen because we don't have any way to find out the medical history of animals brought in because they appear ill or injured. Obvious traffic accidents are relatively straightforward, but it is much more difficult where the animal found is ill rather than injured. Even apparent injuries may not be what they seem, as it is possible for a bleeding tumour to appear like a partially healed and infected wound.
These are the other side of the debate about euthanasia; if you trawl the web you will find lots of people accusing the RSPCA of putting down animals who might have been saved, but very little discussion of the potential for suffering if we wait too long.
Nowadays, many vets don't have their own facilities for keeping inpatients over weekends and it is difficult and expensive to keep a terminally sick animal brought to us on a Friday for a reasonable length of time to give their owner a chance to locate them. If an animal has obviously hopeless injuries such as a broken back, there's no doubt that euthanasia is the right decision; the cases that keep us awake at night are the ones that might have a long-term condition that's normally controlled by medication.
My own cat, Fern, is a perfect example of what might have happened if she hadn't been chipped. She is epileptic, but her seizures are well controlled so long as she has tablets morning and evening. A couple of years ago, she wandered off and, after two weeks without medication, she was continually fitting. She was very fortunate that someone saw her and took her straight to a vet, who was able to scan her chip, identify where she lives and what medication she needs.
If we're asked to help a stray having fits with no knowledge of any previous history or way to find their owner, then the prospect is much more bleak. Seizures are a symptom that can be caused by a variety of things, some treatable, some hopeless, and it's difficult for a vet to make a sensible treatment plan even without the problem of providing long-term hospitalization if that's what's needed. (If an animal with an owner has a fit at least the vet will usually know whether the animal ever had one before and how old it is).
If you have a cat or a dog with a long-term health problem, please treat this as an urgent reason to get them chipped.

No comments:

Post a Comment