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The Tale of Harry’s Tail

I had just finished surgery when the receptionist handed me a letter. It turned out to be from a client I hadn’t seen for months and inside the letter were 2 photos of a beautiful tabby called Harry. His mum had been reading an old issue of Yours and had spotted a question about a cat with a broken pelvis. I had answered and mentioned a case and she had realised that I was talking about her cat. It seems only right to tell you the whole story of Harry because it is quite a common scenario, although he was a particularly extraordinary case in his own way.

Harry came to the surgery with the RSPCA as a young stray after being hit by a car. He had a bad fracture of his pelvis, had lost the use of his tail and had no bladder function. These are fairly common injuries in cats after this type of injury. The impact to the pelvis causes disruption of the nerve supply to the whole back end. Bladder function is the most important because instead of becoming incontinent the cats cannot express their bladder. Any cause of a bladder that does not empty is a grave concern because they can very rapidly go into kidney failure as a result. The tail injury is not so worrying because if the nerve supply doesn’t return we simply amputate the tail which most cats cope ridiculously well with. As for the pelvis, the fracture was the type that should heal with cage rest.

We always give these cats at least a couple of weeks to improve. They have to have their bladders expressed manually. Some hate this but Harry was a complete star and took every molestation in his stride. He soon had the hearts of everyone in the surgery and accepted all the fuss he got quite happily.
After three weeks the decision was made to put him to sleep because there was no change at all. There was, quite literally, an uprising among the nurses and he was given a week’s reprieve. The week came and went and again the nurses championed his cause and he was granted another week. Incredibly, after five weeks he got out of his cage with his tail half up, having had a wee by himself.

This is the longest I know of in our surgery for waiting and we couldn’t have done it had he not tolerated his treatment so well and had he not wooed the nurses so admirably! His new mum had tragically lost her own cat very suddenly in recent weeks and they just kind of found each other, as is so often the case. As her letter and photos (in Your Pets section) clearly show; he has grown into a beautiful cat, tail and all.

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