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Lori, Feline Healthcare
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4131
Experience:  16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
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degloved cat tail

Customer Question

We have semi-adopted a stray cat who comes and goes visting us for 1-3 days every 2-4 weeks, with no idea where he goes in between. Our Welsh terrier got in to it with the cat about 3 weeks ago and evidently bit the end of his tail as the cat ran. We found apx 1.5 inches of fur.

The cat returned today and has about 1.5" of his tail degloved, we have not been able to examine it closely but it looks like a rat tail with the normal fur resuming about 2" from the end. There appears to be a 1/4" open sore at the junction of the fur and degloved tail, no obvious swelling, abscess etc. Otherwise he appears as he always does in good health and well fed but without any apparent medical attention to his tail.

I have experienced 4 figure $, ER Clinic Vet bills with other pets and probably not interested in this route with this guy as he is not even ours but obviously he needs help. Is there anything we can do at home?. What would you suggest?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Lori replied 10 years ago.

Unfortunately, degloving is potentially very dangerous and basically untreatable at home. I would suggest taking the route of dropping him at a no-kill shelter where they will treat the problem. The biggest issue with degloving is the potential for infection in the brain due to the exposure of the spine to the elements. Fortunately, repair of this type of injury is relatively simply from a surgical standpoint, and recovery should be excellent unless infection has been introduced. As an alternative to taking him to a no-kill shelter, many vets are willing to treat and place 'found' pets (I know my vet does it routinely), and since you apparently have a good working relationship with your vet, you might contact them, let them know the situation and ask if they would be willing to take the cat and treat and rehome him. I know this is very common in many communities and I wouldn't hesitate to ask my vet to do this.

Other than pouring peroxide or other germ killer on the open wound, there is little you can do at home for this boy until the area is covered by skin.

Please let me know if I can help further.