Three days ago, my cat Chachi, a 12-year-old rescue I adopted when she was 6 months old, escaped from the backyard. I usually take her out for an hour or so each day with me, but she always comes when I call and follows me back inside. This time, she disappeared almost right away, and didn't come back until just before dark. Of course, I assumed the worst.
I was thrilled when she showed up at the end of the day, but something was off with her gait and her tail was drooping. We took her to the vet the next day who didn't take any X-Rays, but confirmed that there were fractures and said that the tail was effectively paralyzed and should be amputated.
I realize that cats handle tail amputations fairly well, but I'd obviously like to avoid that if there's any chance she can recover. I am wondering if I should get a second opinion, and if there's any way to treat the dislocation/limp tail without chopping it off altogether.
Chachi got out of the house about five years ago and also had a tail injury back then-- nothing like this, but a deep cut. At the time, the vet I was seeing (a different vet, since I was in a different state at the time) also suggested amputation but I was very reluctant. Luckily, they were able to drain the wound and she recovered completely. So I do wonder if vets can be a bit too eager to amputate? I don't know.
I can feel at the base of her spine/beginning of the tail that there is a strange bump as if something has become detached. The rest of the tail just drags and droops there. There is also a long but not very deep abrasion along the length of the tail, and the vet mentioned puncture marks although I can't see any myself. I've done a few tests where I've squeezed the tail, or pricked it with a toothpick to see if she's responsive and she does eventually react, but there definitely seems to be major loss of sensation. However, the tail is still warm, pink (she was shaved by the vet, so I can see it well) and getting circulation, and it hasn't "died" yet. Her balance is off and she's able to walk but in a strange way, she almost does headstands while going down the stairs and is not very mobile. She's still in pretty good spirits, although she seems tired and sad, and purrs a lot and wants to be cuddled.
If anyone has experienced something similar and has advice for me, please let me know. For the moment I am keeping her comfortable and making sure she gets lots of food, water, and rest, and just waiting to see if she will recover any feeling or function on her own.
How long should I wait before deciding if the tail should be amputated? When will I know it's time?
Is there any other course of treatment I can try?
Is it weird that the vet didn't do X-Rays? Should I get a second opinion somewhere else?
Is there anything I can do to help the bones re-fuse and the nerves regenerate on their own?
Any input much appreciated... Thank you!