There are a number of possible causes anytime your cat seems to be experiencing discomfort with their tail. The various tail afflictions are easy to identify if you know what to look for. Once you identify what the problem is with your cat’s tail you can treat it accordingly. This post will help you do that by covering:
If your cat is dealing with a cat tail injury there are some things you can look for.
Bites from other animals are common cat tail injuries. These bites could be from fights with other cats or from your cat running away after an encounter with another toothy animal.
Bite wounds, even small ones, are at a high risk for infection so it’s extremely important to keep the wound cleaned. It’s a good idea to bring your cat to the veterinarian after a bite so they can get the wound thoroughly cleaned and determine whether or not your cat needs antibiotics to prevent infection. You’ll also need to continue to clean the wound at home.
Make sure your cat is up to date with rabies vaccinations, especially if your cat spends a lot of time outside. You don’t want to worry about rabies as well as wound care and infection risk every time your outside cat gets bitten.
Your cat might be biting its own tail as a result of fleas, allergies, or stress. Itchy, irritated skin is a common cause of a cat biting itself. The solution to this type of tail injury is to solve the source of the biting.
Comb through your cat’s hair carefully to look for fleas and start flea medication if you find them. If your cat has itchy and irritated skin but no fleas you might have identified an allergic reaction. Things like a change in food, cleaning products, and plants can all cause allergies in cats.
If stress is causing your cat to chew on its tail try to figure out what change in your cat’s life might be causing increased stress. Something as small as a moved piece of furniture could trigger a stress response from your cat.
While you figure out why your cat has self inflicted tail wounds, take care of the bites as you would a bite from another animal. A visit to the veterinarian is a good idea and you should always keep the bites clean. If your cat won’t stop biting its tail, you may need to get a cone from the veterinarian.
Minor cuts are easy to take care of at home as long as you can keep the injury clean to avoid infections. Clean the wound gently using cloth or gauze. Hydrogen peroxide is a good disinfectant for keeping the wounds clean. You can help your cat’s tail heal faster with a first aid spray.
Another possible cat tail injury is a dislocated tail. When a cat’s tail is pulled, caught in something, stepped on, or run over it’s possible for the tail to be dislocated. This means the vertebrae that connects the tail to the rest of the spine at the lower back slips out. When this happens it stretches the connective tissue supporting the tail.
If you think your cat’s tail is dislocated you should take your cat to the veterinarian. A dislocated tail can heal on its own, but severe dislocations can result in nerve damage.
Your veterinarian will treat the tail and might give your cat anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Cats cannot take the same pain medications as you, so talk to your veterinarian about what to give your cat for pain.
A cat’s tail can break because of any of the things that cause dislocation. Falling is also a common cause of a broken cat tail.
Since one or more of the vertebrae in the tail fractures or breaks a broken cat tail can look kinked or limp. If you think your cat’s tail is broken you should take your cat to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can see a break or fracture using an x-ray and treat the break in the same way they treat a dislocated tail.
The risk of nerve damage from a broken tail is higher than from a dislocated tail. Nerve damage at the end of the tail causes pain and nerve damage at the base of the tail causes paralysis. If your cat’s nerves are simply stretched they can heal on their own in about 6 months.
More severe nerve damage can cause incontinence and lameness in the hind legs. If this is the case your veterinarian may decide to amputate the tail in order to solve the problem.
If you think your cat has a tail injury examine the tail for signs of a wound, dislocation, or fracture. Keeping injuries clean and contacting your vet will allow your cat to heal without complications.
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