Thursday, November 24, 2011

741. Severe tail injury - the sole option -- tail amputation

"There is only one option when the dog or cat suffers serious injury to its tail," I said to my associate vet who had stitched up the slanting tail laceration wound of more than 6 cm long and sent the dog home with e-collar and medication.

"Based on my past 30 years experience, many Singaporean dog and cat owners are not able to nurse their dog's tail wounds. Even with e-collars, the dog or cat hits the injured irritating tail, causing more damage. The tail does not heal and becomes gangrenous. The owner becomes upset as she had already spent money on this first surgical treatment. It is not working and now the owner is upset."

"In all tail injury cases, the owner must be advised firmly and in writing that tail amputation is the sole option as gangrene is likely to set in, with stitching and other bandaging. There was a case of a cat with tail injury. I advised tail amputation. We don't see any complaint post-op. Now, this case comes back with lots of unhappiness as the tail becomes blackened and the tip has become cold."

As the owner was unhappy with the outcome, I advise that she and the operating vet and myself meet at the same time to discuss the matter. It is best done that way than individuals giving their points of view to me one-on-one basis.

The outcome of a case of tail injury is very important to the owner. The owner wants just one visit and not be inconvenienced by having repeat treatment. "Even with gushing blood and copious bleeding, ligate the tail blood vessel, bandage the tail and amputate the tail 2 days later."

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