My mother’s cat came home yesterday with his tail hanging down, seems like something has happened to it.
Thanks for any advice.
Hi Gill.. having read Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook fairly extensively (
for obvious reasons – a great book by the way), what immediately comes to mind is a spinal cord injury. Of course it may be that you have “jumped the gun” and the tail is OK (no criticism intended).
I will presume that there has been some sort of injury, however.
The authors of the above book, vets Carlson and Giffin (and others in more modern versions) say that a very common injury is when a car runs over a cat’s tail. This can pull apart the sacral-lumbar and coccygeal vertebrae. This stretches the nerves to the tail, rectum and bladder.
One sign is paralysis to the tail which is indicating when it “hangs loosely like a rope”.
The other signs are incontinence (fecal and urinary). You have not mentioned incontinence so the injury described might be incorrect.
The vets say that “any cat with a limp tail must be seen by a veterinarian and x-rayed for scaral injury“. This is because if the condition is not diagnosed and treated shortly after the injury occured the bladder paralysis will remain despite the nerve repairing itself.
If what I say is appropriate there may be other injuries.
If movement and sensation is not restored in the tail it may have to be amputated as it can represent a hazard to the cat in the paralysed state.
Cats who recover start to improve after about three weeks and improvement may continue for 6 months. Stretched nerves “often do not” return to normal, however.
Injected medication can also cause temporary nerve paralysis.
Hope this helps. If you have more information etc. please make a comment and I will discuss this further.
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