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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22434
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My cat has a big gash in his tail, open wound bleeding, help

Customer Question

My cat has a big gash in his tail, open wound bleeding, help please! Its a Sunday and vets are closed
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question.


I am quite concerned is Dada having a large open wound that is actively bleeding. Now without seeing the wound it is impossible for me to determine if this is going to be a laceration that needs to be stitched closed or one that you can monitor until Monday. But in any case, no matter the species (cats or people) the approach to a large open wound is the same.


First, you need to apply pressure to the wound. You can do this with gauze, cotton wool, or even a clean wash cloth. Constant pressure needs to be applied for at least 15 minutes and longer if the bleeding is not slowing.


If the bleeding slows, then the wound can be cleaned (with dilute chlorohexadine, betadine, or salt water- 1tbsp in a warm pint of water), dried, and bandaged. If it does not or this is a gaping wound (rather then just a cut with its edges touching), then he will need to be seen as an emergency.


Now you noted that your vet is closed but I must note that UK veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients (even those in remote areas of the country). This means that if you ring the practice, they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their emergency service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check RCVS register (LINK). or you can check here to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends.


Overall, if Dada's wound is wide, gaping, and pouring blood, then this is likely going to need urgent intervention and closure by a vet. So, I would stongly advise ringing the vet's now to see how to contact their out of hours service. But while doing this, do make sure someone is putting some pressure on that tail wound to slow the bleeding for him.


I hope this information is helpful.

Please do let me know if you have any further questions.

If you have no further questions, feedback is greatly appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I called the vets and they're charging £200 which is ridiculous and I can not afford. Its my friends cat who im looking after!


Its stop bleeding I should have said that - so really its just an open going to try clean it and bandage it if he'll let me.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Hi again,


That is unfortunate to hear. Since fees and office hours vary for each practice, you might consider checking the RCVS register link I gave and phone some of the other practices in your area. You may find one who's fees are more reasonable (ie Animal Trust in Bolton only charge a £50 ER fee) for you may also find a practice with Sunday hours (this is becoming increasingly common here) which would not have that elevated emergency fee. So, it is worth seeing what the local vets around you can do to help today (especially as surgical closure and overall prognosis of wounds is always best when the tissue is fresh).


Otherwise, I am glad to hear that it is not an active bleed now (since that is the biggest worry in situations like these). And if it has settled, then first aid cleansing/drying/bandaging would be indicated.


Besides first-aid for this wound, you do want to keep his activity restricted tonight (obviously no trips outside but we also don't want him jumping or bumping/catching the tail). This may mean keeping him in a kennel or restricted to one room. And if he does try to fuss with the tail then you may also need to place a buster collar (pets at home carry these if you do not have one).


Furthermore, you do want to keep an eye on his gum/conjunctiva color (which should stay nice and pink like ours, since pale/white gums will tell us there has been severe blood loss and would make this an emergency situation). As well, keep an eye on his respiration (normal kitty respiration should be about 20-30 breaths per minute) since cats with severe pain or blood loss can show elevation of this rate.


Finally since this is an open wound that may need sutures, it would be a good idea to remove access to food after tea time tonight (after 7pm) and until after he has been seen by the vet. (he can have access to water throughout). If you do this, it will allow them to sedate him to close the wound when you get him in first thing tomorrow morning rather then having to delay any repair that might be necessary.


All the best,

Dr. B.