This month’s pet hero is Flame Sullivan. Flame is a cheeky nine-month-old ‘champagne’ tabby with one of most determined fighting spirits we have seen here in the practice. The Sullivan family were lucky enough to witness the birth of Flame and his bother Ice and it was love at first sight.
Flame and Ice quickly asserted their authority over the Sullivans’ Labrador, Wilson, spending their time hunting his waggy tail before exhaustedly collapsing in a pile together to sleep off their adventures.
As the kittens grew, they were introduced to the outside world, making the most of their new-found freedom they enjoyed trying to follow the children to school in the morning. One day Mrs Sullivan became concerned that Flame hadn’t been seen for longer than usual and wasn’t responding to his name being called. She went out in search and could hear his sad mewing coming from a neighbours’ garden. Flame was found covered in blood, hiding underneath a lawnmower with an illegal gin trap clamped around his leg.
Gin traps have been illegal in the UK along with all other spring traps since 1954 and it is considered an offence to use or knowingly permit the use of any such trap. Having never seen such a cruel contraption before, Mrs Sullivan rans to her neighbours for help and fortunately a nearby elderly gentleman was able to release the jaws from Flame’s leg.
Flame was rushed to the Small Animal Practice where he was admitted for treatment. Our vets were concerned that Flame would lose his leg as the bone was splintered and displaced. The Sullivans were given three feasible options for treatment; referral for orthopaedic surgery to realign his leg, supportive bandaging to manage the healing with the risk that the third option, amputation, may then sadly become inevitable.
As Flame was uninsured, referral for a surgical fix was not a viable option. His owners decided they wanted to give him every chance of preserving his leg and opted for supportive bandaging after further investigations and x-rays. Flame’s dedicated family ferried him to and from the practice for dressing changes over the following weeks, sometimes several times a day when he was naughty and managed to remove them himself! He was put on strict crate rest to keep his leg as immobile as possible. Gradually crate rest turned into room rest, room rest into house rest and now the time has finally come when he can venture back outside. Throughout his ordeal Flame has maintained his fantastic, loving personality and is working on building up his leg strength. He is expected to make a full recovery but may suffer with a slight limp in the future.
Flame’s story is a stark reminder of the unexpected danger that our pets can face. This incident is currently still under investigation by the police. Should you see any such trap when out and about with your pets then please contact the police on 101 to report it.