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Paws and Consider...

The online blog of Westside Animal Hospital — important healthcare information to help you take the best care of your pet!

An Unhappy "Tale" for Thomas

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Thomas had gotten himself into trouble the evening before he presented to us.  He was a one-year-old domestic shorthair cat, and he had apparently been in a fight with another animal outside.  He had fared OK — with one exception; his tail had sustained a degloving injury.

"Degloving" is a type of injury where the skin is torn away from the muscle underneath — similar to removing a glove from a person's hand.

Notice how the skin and fur from the end of Thomas' tail
have been torn away.

Depending on the location, these types of injuries can be quite serious — sometimes requiring extensive, numerous reconstructive surgeries to manage the wound.  In Thomas' case, amputation of the end of his tail was determined to be the best and easiest option.

The pictures below detail Thomas' surgery and recovery.

 This is a better look at Thomas' injury as he's being
prepped for surgery.  Fur has been shaved — exposing
healthy skin & tissue above his wound.

Notice how two V-shaped incisions are made to start the surgery.
This will allow the creation of a tapered tip for his "new" tail.

 The skin is dissected free from the muscle and tendons underneath.

 Here is a side view.  Notice how the two V-shaped incisions
connect with one another.

 The tail is composed of multiple small vertebrae.  The location of
the initial skin incisions was planned to line up properly with a joint
between two of these vertebrae.  Notice how the incision between
two vertebrae is being started.


 The incision through the intervertebral joint is being continued.
The tendons and ligaments that are holding the two bones
together are being cut.  As the incision is made, notice how
the angle of the tail changes.

 The incision through the joint is nearly complete.  The ends of the
two vertebrae are now visible.

 The blood supply is being tied off with suture.

 This is the appearance of Thomas' tail just before skin sutures
are placed.


 This is the first skin suture being placed.  About 8 skin sutures
in total were required.

 Thomas' tail was bandaged.

 This is Thomas' tail at his recheck 5 days later.  A fresh bandage
was applied.

 The bandage didn't slow Thomas down at home!

 Thomas' sutures were removed 12 days after surgery.
His tail has healed up nicely.

 Thomas is back to his usual mischievous self.
His new tail still provides adequate balance!


  • Guest
    Beth Shine Tuesday, 08 July 2014

    Thomas and his people are dear friends of mine. So glad he received such good care from Dr. Fox and Westside, as all my beloved pets have received over the years!

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