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I think my cat may have a broken tail ?? Help?

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Heddi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:23 PM
Original message
I think my cat may have a broken tail ?? Help?
Okay--I have 2 indoor-only kitties. They're turning 11 years old this year -and one of them (sebastian), is a total butt-slut :) Touch him ANYWHERE and his butt goes up for the sky. He loves for you to see his butt, love his butt, touch his butt, rub his butt....all of which we refuse to do. :)

Anyways--I'm telling you this because just a few minutes ago, Mr. Heddi and I were playing with Sebastian and I was rubbing his back. Normally, the butt/tail region would shoot straight up...but it didn't. His tail is hanging limp to the ground.

At the base of his "back" where body and tail meet, there's a small lump. I can manually lift the tail, but he can't keep it erect.

He doesn't howl or show that he's in pain/uncomfortable when I move the tail, and he's in great spirits---the only thing "odd" is the bump in the tail and the dragging tail.

I've Googled "Cat Tail Fracture" and have come up with very little information---mainly about treatment options, and not much about symptoms.

Again, he shows now signs of pain when I move his tail, or when I pet/scratch/rub the base of his spine where tail & body meet (and where the bump is).

He doesn't go outside, and his only playmate is his "sister" penelope. I don't recall him getting into anything recently that I'd think would have caused this, and I don't even KNOW if his tail is broken--maybe the muscles are strained or something. I've been home with him all day and I didn't notice it earlier, but then again, he was laying down sleeping for the past 15 hours (not uncommon), and I wasn't really LOOKING....

Anyways---I don't have a vet here, and we're keeping an eye on him for urinary/fecal incontinence, since the nerves that facilitate those areas are in the spine and if there is injury to the spine (tail), then peeing and pooping could become troublesome. If he starts acting goofy tomorrow then I'll take him to the animal hospital down the street...this just really sucks b/c neither my husband and I have a job at the present time, and we weren't really planning on a kitty emergency at the present....but we gotta deal with it, right?

Has anyone had any experience with broken cat tails, or something that may be MISTAKEN for broken cat tails? Any advice on what I should do while I wait and look and observe before taking him to the vet?
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Lostmessage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Get him to the Vet immediately
Edited on Thu Jan-22-04 09:36 PM by Lostmessage
It's dislocated or he has a growth back there. Cat's are real good at hiding the fact that they are sick and it might have been something that has been growing for a while.

:hug:
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Heddi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I just called the vet hospital
and unless (in their words) "the cat is dying", they can't take him until tomorrow AM---I've got a job interview at 10, so I can't take him in until I get done with that---I know it sounds kind of heartless, and I dont' want my cats to suffer, but he'll be suffering with more than a dislocated tail if I don't get a job soon..... :-/

But I am going to take him ASAP tomorrow when I get done

Thanks for the support. I love my cats and hate for them to be sick or ill or generally unhappy :)
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Lostmessage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. It can wait until morning
Just don't put it off any longer unless he is in pain then you should take him in immediately.
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alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. As you said - he is not in pain.
You may not be able to take him in until noon, but if there are no other signs of problems - try to relax. It could be that the two were roughhousing and he has an abscess - it's happened with two of mine. The area will seen 'squishy' to the touch. It will need to be lanced if that is the case. Very quick and easy.

I have no idea what the real problem is, but try not to stress!!!

I've got 6 of 'em!!

Gina
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Heddi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Thanks everyone!
he's sitting here on my lap watching me respond to y'all :) we're keeping an eye on him and in a bit I'm going to put a little ice pack on his hiney-region to cut down on any inflammation and swelling :)

shall keep you updated
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. When that happened to my cat, it was an infection
Somehow he got a cut on his tail which got infected. If the cat allows you to touch it, inspect it for puffiness and any redness of the skin.
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Heddi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I just did that
I'm a pre-nursing major, so the first thing I looked for was signs of swelling, infection, open wound, leakage, etc.

There is a bump, it's a bit soft to the touch, but I don't know if it's just the fat of his back 'bunched up' since the tail is flaccid. But there's no redness (he's a pure white cat with white skin, so luckily it's easy to tell). I don't see any scratches or signs of a skin abcess.

He's not skiddish at all about letting me touch him, and that's why I'm confused as to whether the tail is broken--I can move the tail all around, lift it straight up and bend it from here to next week and he doesn't cry, or even act in pain at all--he just goes on rubbing his face on my shoe, my hand, my face, my leg--whatever is in his direct line of rub. I can totally manipulate his back end without any objection from him at all

Hmm....now I'm wishing I'd majored in veterinary medicine in human medicine for the time being :)
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Abcess wounds are very hard to find
on a cat. One of my cats had one one his side and the wound was tiny tiny. He had been punctured by another cat.
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alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. The flaccid tail is concerning
but try not to stress. He will pick up on it. If an infection is adjacent to a nerve it could happen.

Gina
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. My cat let me touch it also and I found no infection
So the next day I took it to the vet telling them I thought the tail was broken. The vet said no, it was an infection, flushed it out and gave me antibiotics. The vet said you will know when a tail is broken because it is real painful because it is part of their spine which comprises their nervous system.


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Heddi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. hopefully it won't be broken
and will be something that is easy to fix and make better. I dont' like when my babies are ill
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flamingyouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. That happened to a cat of mine too
This was years ago, but we thought he had broken his tail, because he tended to get in fights in the neighborhood a little too often for his own good. He had a very deep abcess right at the base of his tail. It was very firm and we thought it might have been a tumor, but they were able to remove it and he shortly returned to his juvenile street crimes none worse for the wear.
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nankerphelge Donating Member (995 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm paranoid
Any time something is wrong with my cats I freak out, so I'm probably the wrong person to be responding. How big is the bump? Could it be a small tumor? I had a cat with a broken tail, but it was in the middle of his tail (it got shut in a door). If he's eating, etc. and everything normally, I wouldn't be too concerned, but I'd take him to the vet - maybe you can negotiate a cheap rate ahead of time.
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meti57b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. Oh, I know what you mean. Even if one of my cats doesn't eat
like he normally does, I'm all worried up about it. One of them likes to throw up every couple of months and even though I've been through that many times before, I get concerned and rush him over to the vet.
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haele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
10. I don't think it's a broken tail...
He'd definatly let you know if it is broken.
However, the bump concerns me; it could be a cyst or a tumor that is "pinching" the nerves of his tail. I'd suggest calling a vet for advice, even if you can't afford the actual visit; most vets will take calls concerning symptoms and make suggestions, and you might even find one that might wave a fee for a visit and work with you on payments if there is something actually wrong.
A couple things to note before you call -
Does he stagger or seem to lose his balance easily?
Is his gait "wobbly", especially when putting weight on his hind legs?
Does he seem to favor one side or another when he walks?
Can he jump up or jump down from his usual areas? Does he try?
Does he seem confused when he tries to get around?
Does he still arch his back end up when you rub around his tail?
Can he straighten his tail or lift it any, or is it completely limp with no strength at all?
Does the bump you noticed seem to have any color - and does it "move" (roll) when you rub it?
Does the cat react when you touch or try to manipulate the bump?
Are there any toxic spiders or stingy insects he may have been exposed to?
Does he have any fleas or ticks on him?

One of my cats developed a mystery case of ataxia after slipping off the bed - where his left hind area just wouldn't support his weight, he staggered around like a confused drunken sailor, and he couldn't lift his tail above "butt level". After a full exam, few x-rays and tests for diabetes - which can apparently affect the spine on a cat - he ended up seeing a kitty neurologist who still couldn't find anything wrong. The neurologist thought he might have sprained something when he slipped, or just scared himself because he fell and the ataxia might have been somewhat psychosomatic.

$175 spent to find nothing obvious, and he just "got better" on his own three weeks later. No one could figure out what was wrong.

Disclaimer - I'm not a vet, and I'm not even trying to be one, but I've had to deal with clumsy and curious critters for over 10 years now, so I've heard a lot of questions from vets over time...

Haele
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Heddi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. some answers
Does he stagger or seem to lose his balance easily? :
--No, he walks and runs just fine, and earlier he was perched on top of the futon lazily meowing for attention...or treats (or both

Is his gait "wobbly", especially when putting weight on his hind legs?:
--I haven't noticed anything like that

Does he seem to favor one side or another when he walks?:
--No, he seems balanced

Can he jump up or jump down from his usual areas? Does he try?
--He's jumping like normal. Jumped up on my lap when I was on the puter earlier, and jumped up to drink water from the faucet as Mr heddi brushed his teeth

Does he seem confused when he tries to get around?
--Well, he's, um, naturally confused. Concepts escape him. I believe he may be a "special needs" kitty :) but no, no more confused than any other day :)

Does he still arch his back end up when you rub around his tail?
--Yep. Still arches the back, and I'd say maybe 1/2 inch of the base of his tail (where tail meets body) rises, but the main part of his tail stays limp.

Can he straighten his tail or lift it any, or is it completely limp with no strength at all?:
--Doesn't move his tail up or down--it's flacid and hanging down, but he is able to 'wag' the tail and move it at the tip

Does the bump you noticed seem to have any color - and does it "move" (roll) when you rub it?
--I've looked really good at his back/tail/butt area. I don't see any discoloration at all where the bump is. This may sound strange, but I don't know if it moves or not because sometimes I"m not sure if I'm feeling the bump, or the ridges of his pelvis...so I'm not sure...

Does the cat react when you touch or try to manipulate the bump?:
--No reaction to bump touch at all. Earlier, when we first noticed the droopy tail, I was able to lift the tail (gently, of course) without any signs of discomfort from him (hissing, crying, moving away from me). However, about an hour ago, I was feeling his bumpy butt and moving the tail and he did cry a bit when I tried to lift the tail :-/

Are there any toxic spiders or stingy insects he may have been exposed to?
--we live in Seattle, so there are ALWAYS spiders around, but we don't live in a dark or musty apartment--meaning that I"ve not seen spider nests about, but every 4 months or so we'll see one scurry about

Does he have any fleas or ticks on him?
--Tick and Flea free (thank goodness!)
----

Thanks for your questions, though. It gives me things to remember to tell the vet when I talk to them. I'm going to call one first thing in the AM and just run-down everything I've said here, and points all of y'all have brought up.

I'm planning on mentioning to the vet that we're short on funds and would like to get the cheapest possible diagnostic tests done if at all possible....I don't want to pawn the TV to pay for kitty pills :) (just joking).

I'm going to put an ice pack on his butt in a bit to see if that will ease swelling.

His "sister" is looking at him in a weird way. Maybe they're talking telepathically and he's saying "please make this lady stop touching my butt bump" :)
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 02:19 AM
Response to Reply #10
18. My Sammy hurt himself the night before we went on vacation
He must have jumped off the "cat tower" and landed funny.. I spent $230.00 at the emergency vet clinic (was there til 2 am) and the xrays showed a teensy fracture at the base of his tail.. I took him to our vet literally on our way to the airport to go to Tahiti.. Our vet observed him, gave him some steroid shots, and kept him for 2 days.. They were afraid the would have to amputate the tail, but he healed up fine.. Of course we added another $155.00 to the cost, but he's my baby, so we had to pay it. :)..


Sammy was staggery and only wanted to lay down, and knead furiously on anything within reach, so it sounds like this baby does not have a spinal injury...

Fingers crossed :)
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SOteric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
15. Could well be stud tail
Please note: I am not a veterinarian, nor do I play one on TV.

There are two football shaped glands at the point where the tail meets the cat which aid in scenting or marking territory. Despite the name 'Stud Tail' it's not limited to males, but is seen in females and even neutered cats. Essentially, the gland becomes clogged. It may become sore and infected at least in the limited area of the problem. It's easy and inexpensive to treat, so for your sake and the sake of your little friend, let's hope that all it turns out to be.
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