An Emergency Tail Amputation

Animals Posted Dec 16, 2020
As an RSPCA veterinarian of 12 years, Dr Olivia Pozzan has possibly seen it all – but a particular de-gloving incident for one poor kitty was one of the worst she’s seen

Olivia’s daily routine as a veterinarian at RSPCA Queensland can be quite intense and ever-changing. She spends the majority of her days providing treatment for pets at RSPCA Animal Care Centre at Dakabin while also helping out at Noosa.

Emergency cases are especially challenging. Recently, Olivia provided urgent surgery for Percy, a cat with a life threatening de-gloving wound. The skin and tissue on his tail and back had been ripped from the muscle and bone.

A member of the public found Percy as a stray cat who had wandered into their house and was hiding underneath the dining table. It seemed his tail was bleeding, was missing fur, and was dropped down at an odd angle.

Percy was quickly rushed to the Olivia at the RSPCA vet surgery, where the extent of the injury was revealed. “His tail was broken and hanging on by a few strands of tissue. It was one of the worst injuries I've seen,” Olivia said.  “He was so trusting and affectionate, he deserved a fighting chance.”

percy the cat post surgery with amputated tail

Olivia debrided the wound and amputated his tail, and Percy quickly made an amazing recovery!

Now fully healed, Percy is living the life in a new home, albeit looking a bit more like a bunny than a cat!

Despite the tough cases, Olivia says her job is all worthwhile, “Over the years there have been many instances of animals rescued from dire circumstances who have now found happy forever homes. Those stories outweigh the sad ones ten-fold.”

percy the cat at home after tail being amputated

Luckily, Olivia’s day-to-day life isn’t always as intense as the day Percy came in.

“On a typical day we will desex up to 30 cats or around 8-10 dogs. It's not just straightforward desexing though as there will often be dental extractions, lump removals, hernia repairs and eye surgeries like entropion correction and enucleations.

“We see a range of conditions from cat flu, kennel cough, fight wounds, skin allergies, eye and ear problems and much more.”

Olivia’s desire to change the lives of animals reaches far beyond RSPCA Queensland too, making many trips to Cambodia where she volunteers her time to desex and provide veterinary treatment to street dogs and cats in the region of Siem Reap.

If you’d like to help us ensure we can continue to be there for animals like Percy, there are many ways to assist like volunteering to drive our Animal Ambulances to collect injured animals, donating to our cause, and fostering pets like Percy that need time to recover in a home environment.

Sam Morris
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