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How to Tell if a Cat’s Tail is Broken

Cats use their tails for communication and balance. A broken tail will often heal on its own without being splinted. In certain cases, a broken tail may lead to further issues, and prompt veterinarian treatment may be necessary. Nerve damage may result from a severe break and the tail may need to be amputated. Bowel and bladder issues as well as damage to the anus may also result from a broken cat tail. These issues raise many questions regarding the causes, treatments and possible long term effects for your pet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

X-rays may be the only way to tell for certain if a cat’s tail is broken, although a vet can sometimes feel if there is a break in the tail. A veterinarian may not be able to do anything specific for a broken tail, but will monitor it as it heals over time. If there are soft tissue injuries such as cuts or wounds, they will need to be cleaned to avoid infection. Stitches may also be needed if the wound is larger than a centimeter. If stitches are not needed, the wound will be allowed heal on its own over several days. After the exam, your veterinarian may prescribe pain medications. Antibiotics may be needed if discharge or foul smells occur.

How to Fix Your Cat’s Broken Tail at Home

Your cat may experience swelling or an abscess because of the broken tail. To decrease the swelling, an ice pack may be used. A low dose of aspirin can also be given as a pain reliever. It may be given every 72 hours at 5 mg per pound (10 mg per kilogram) of body weight. You may need to confine your cat to a small area in order to keep it from causing further injury to its tail.

Any time that your pet has an injury, you may have questions and concerns about symptoms, home treatment, or the need for medical attention. Get answers from Experts on JustAnswer any time, day or night, from the convenience of your home.

Avoid Splints

If a cat’s tail is broken, don’t use a splint. Your cat may not tolerate it, and it can cause more discomfort. A vet can provide pain medications as needed. It may take your cat several weeks to fully recover. The prognosis is usually be good as long as there are no problems with urinating and defecating.

When to Consider Amputation

Amputation of a broken tail may be needed if the cat has no feeling in the tail and the blood supply is compromised. The injured portion of the cat’s tail may die and become a source of an infection when soft tissue circulation is cut off. The dead weight of a broken tail can also increase pain. Circulation may also be compromised because of a dislocation between the fracture fragments. If the cat has no reaction to the area being gently touched, there may be no nerve function or blood flow to the area beyond the break.

Bathroom Accidents

Your house trained cat may have accidents due to tail trauma. Loss of nerve input and control of the urethra and anus may result from a broken tail. Nerve fibers send signals down the spinal cord to the anal sphincter, which keeps the anus closed, leaving stool inside the rectum. The urethra is kept closed by the urethral sphincter, which is also controlled by nerves in the spinal cord. These signals can be disrupted by spinal cord injuries, causing the muscles to become weak or loose. See a vet if your cat is incontinent after a tail injury.

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