Kitten Paralyzed by Botched Microchip Insertion Will Get Surgery

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A little rescued kitten paralyzed at the shelter when his microchip was improperly inserted will get a risky surgery this week to try to help him regain normal mobility.

Muffin was picked up from the streets earlier this month at about 5 to 6 weeks old and was taken to the Downey shelter in Downey California, in Los Angeles County. Downey is well known to animal rescuers, who work tirelessly to pull cats and dogs in danger of euthanization at the facility.

Loren Slama of 9 Lives Rescue Center rescued Muffin, and the kitten had a microchip implanted in accordance with adoption procedures before leaving the shelter.  It did not take long for Loren to realize something was wrong with the previously normal kitten, and X-rays quickly pinpointed the cause of Muffin’s loss of motor control.

“I noticed after 30 minutes his head started to dangle and it started to kind of crash. On the X-ray it was clearly demonstrated that the microchip was inserted all the way into the spine. That’s why he was paralyzed,” Loren said.

“I was in a total state of shock.”

Muffin is paralyzed from the chip in his spine and drags himself along now instead of walking. He is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, October 28 at the City of Angels Veterinary Specialty Center, where a neurologist will try to remove the chip and reverse the paralysis.  Muffin is still tiny, and the surgery is described as risky, but the procedure needs to be done as soon as possible for the best outcome. Dr. C. Robles is Muffin’s surgeon, and this was her soonest availability.

“It’s a highly risky procedure. He might die during the surgery and even a few days after the surgery. However, we need to do the surgery because the longer the microchip stays into the spine the more damage it can cause,” Loren said.

In addition to the increased damage that it can cause over time, he microchip is designed to set itself firmly into place over the course of the first month after its insertion.

Loren started a PARALYZED KITTEN DUE TO NEGLIGENT DOWNEY VET TECH fundraising page to help cover the costs of the surgery, and local media covered the story.  The original goal was reached and a new $5,000 goal was set.  The $5,000 goal was exceeded over the weekend and the fundraiser has been closed.

Downey Animal Control declined a request to pay for the surgery and is not accepting responsibility for the mistake.

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Control and Care released the following statement: “This was an anomaly. We acted in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of whether the kitten should be microchipped for its age and size.

“We have never had an incident like this before. However, we are conducting an investigation and determining whether or not any corrections need to be made.”

The story is told with more detail at Muffin’s fundraising page:

“MUFFIN is only about 5-6 weeks old and weighed only 1.1 when Loran went to rescue him last Thursday, October 16, 2014. From Downey. She went to building 7 to have MUFFIN’s microchip placed as required. She then went back to wait for another cat that was being spayed. She was there about an hour or less & during that time she noticed MUFFIN became lethargic and his head was, “dangling”. She thought it was odd since it happened right after the placement of the microchip, so she took him back to be seen by Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones told her she thought the microchip was okay. MUFFIN was given NutriCal and fluids. Loran left & took him immediately to her who vet recommended if he still [did] not seem right in the morning to bring him back and be seen by a neurologist.

“MUFFIN was unable to move — He was Paralyzed!!!!!

“The paralysis continued through the night along with incontinence of bowel and bladder. Loran took him back the next morning to be seen by a neurologist.


An update to the fundraiser by it’s organizer, Laurence Slama, explains more about how chips adhere and why it is important for muffin’s chip to be removed as soon as possible.

Laurence writes:  “We have spent days gathering information to ensure that we were making the most informed decisions for Muffin and his surgery. One item on our agenda, that we were very concerned with as far as removal goes, was the fact that we were advised that AVID microchips have a sticky substance that makes the microchip adhere to body tissue. We were able to speak to the vet at AVID today and were advised of the following [which is copied from the AVID website]:

“The sticky substance around the capsule is called Parylene-C. What it does is have the tissue fibers attach to the capsule. It doesn’t immediately attach and the best estimate by the Dr. as far as attachment is just inside a month. Dr. advised that, at this time, the neurosurgeon shouldn’t experience any resistance, from the Parylene-C, when removing the microchip.

“”AVID MicroChips are coated with Parylene C, which is vacuum-deposited polymer. This coating once in contact with the body fluids, forms a small layer of connective tissue around the MicroChip, preventing movement of the chip.”

Loren has used the days leading up to Muffin’s surgery trying to help him gain some weight. Loren and Laurence are giving their thanks to every one who has helped with Muffin’s medical costs.

Everyone who has been touched by Muffin’s plight is hoping for the best when the little fellow has his surgery tomorrow.


ABC 7 Los Angeles made this report on the story Sunday night:



5 thoughts on “Kitten Paralyzed by Botched Microchip Insertion Will Get Surgery”

  1. poor child that reporter guy looked like he was gong to burst into laughter talking about this. this is scary. the person who did this apparently did not know what they were doing!

  2. Oh My God!!! This is horrible! Hope this poor baby pulls through. Vet tech was either careless or needs more training.

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