THREE-legged Mickey the Mouse is still going strong three years after having a limb amputated - thanks to an expert team of vets and the big-hearted woman who accidentally collided with him with a wheelie bin!
Mickey was taken to Westway Veterinary Group surgery in Houghton-le-Spring by Debra Tuck with an injured leg after she accidentally collided with him while putting her bin out, but the baby mouse wasn’t expect to survive.
His treatment was paid for by Westway’s Stray Fund, which treats injured or stray animals.
When well enough, they are placed into a loving home or found a suitable rescue centre. No animal that can be treated is ever put to sleep.
Westway Director and Senior Vet Jason Atherton authorised the delicate operation carried out by vet Catriona Redman to remove Mickey’s front leg, and Debra and husband Gary decided to adopt the tiny mouse, who now lives with them at their home in Seaham.
Vets were astounded by Mickey’s recovery and now the miracle mouse has just celebrated the third anniversary of his operation - and is showing now signs of slowing down.
Every year Debra keeps Jason and Westway staff updated with his progress by sending him a video of him playing on his wheel in his cage, which has been posted on video sharing website YouTube. http://youtu.be/3Ka_u49SOpw
Debra, an admin worker, said: “My husband and I love wildlife and we wouldn’t hurt a fly so we couldn’t have left a tiny injured mouse to die outside in the freezing cold.
“Even though I’m petrified of mice, I was mortified when I saw that I’d hurt him and there was blood coming from his leg.
“It was late at night so we brought him into the house and put him into a cardboard box, but thought he might die of shock overnight.
“We took him to the vet the next morning and told them we would keep him if there was anything they could do.
“Jason thought he might not come through the operation, but then I got a call saying he had pulled through and I was so relieved.
“He has thrived ever since and is so full of character, with the brightest eyes and the loveliest coat.
“He’s absolutely ruined and we can’t believe he has lived for so long.”
Vet Jason Atherton said: “His chances of survival where slim so we had to think carefully before authorising major surgery on such small animal. That decision has certainly proved right as mouse and owner so happy.
“I was really surprised when I received the update last year saying that Mickey was well and even more surprised this year because he is living far longer than we ever expected.
“When he came in I said I would fix him if it was possible to do so. He wouldn’t have been able to be released back into the wild but I agreed to amputate if Debra was prepared to keep him as a pet.
“Removing the leg is relatively easy, it’s just a bit fiddly, and because Mickey was so young, he has adapted to life as a pet.
“We treat wildlife as best we can through the Stray Fund unless they are suffering when euthanasia might be necessary.
“No creature gets turned away and over the years we’ve treated kestrels, swans and other wild birds.”
It costs £3,000 a year to run Westway’s Stray Fund, and Jason and wife Jill run half marathons to raise money for the service.
The cost of treatment, drugs, food and accommodation is paid for by the fundraising efforts of vets from Westway brances in Birtley, Houghton, Corbridge, Eden Hill, Salters, Crawcrook, Whickham and Sunderland.
Donations are accepted at all of Westway’s branches across the North East.