Removing the tail of a cat is called caudectomy, but most people know it as cat tail amputation. Several cases will require the tail to be removed, including the peeling back of the skin due to self-trauma or “de-gloving”, death of the skin from frostbite, and even an infection.
Most of the time, though, the most common reason for a cat needing to have its tail amputated is tail injury caused by things like getting run over by a vehicle or getting it stuck in different places like inside a door.
How much does a cat tail amputation cost?
The average cat tail amputation cost is anywhere between $750 and $1,300, depending on several important factors, including your geographical location, whether you have a pet insurance policy and what it covers, how long will the cat stay in the facility, any other billing inclusions, and the veterinarian’s office you go to.
According to a talk on The Cat Site forum, members browsing around for prices have received quotes that had an average of around $700. There was a member that managed to find a vet willing to perform this procedure for an affordable price of $300.
Discussions on Yelp, on the other hand, talk about quotes of anywhere between $650 and $1,800.
You can also find a very helpful price guide on the website The Diary of a Real Life Veterinarian. According to this guide, the average cat tail amputation costs $300, although the prices are rather old and don’t include things like needed medicine, hospitalization, diagnostics, and pre-op examination.
What are the extra costs?
When the pet is sent home, after the procedure is completed, you will have to get painkillers, antibiotics, or other medication. This might, or might not be included in the quote, in which case it will be billed separately. Whether you have this included in the initial bill or not will depend on the vet’s office and what you agree on from the start.
You will also have to come back to the vet clinic two to three weeks after the procedure so that the cat can have their sutures removed. This visit, again, depending on the billing policy, may be an additional charge or can be combined into one estimate.
Cat amputation surgery overview
Don’t forget to ask for a detailed billing sheet, as a quote that seems too low might only include the price of the surgeon. An itemized estimate will also help you understand whether you will be charged additionally for things like anesthesia, follow-up visits, blood work, x-rays, hospital stays, and so on.
Amputation of a pet’s tail can be either partial amputation or complete amputation. This will likely be influenced by what the vet considers the best approach based on the type of injury. The vet will also have to perform a complete physical exam before they can consider the amputation of the tail. Doing this will also help them obtain a medical history of the pet if you can’t provide them with one.
The vet might also decide to perform an x-ray if they suspect the tail to be broken, as this is the easiest way to determine the exact extent of the damage. One x-ray might not be enough if the cat was involved in a car accident or a tumor is found in the initial consultation. In this case, the veterinarian might need to look for other signs of internal damage as well. If amputation is finally recommended by the vet, then a blood test will also be ordered before the procedure.
Although there are a few cases in which your vet might decide otherwise, most of the time, this surgery has to be performed under general anesthesia. You will have to keep your cat under a strong fast for at least 12 hours before the hour of the surgery.
You should expect your cat to recover from the surgery completely in about one to two weeks, depending on the trauma. You will have to let your cat rest during the recovery period, which is why it is recommended that you get a comfortable cage. The pet should also wear an Elizabethan collar to ensure that they won’t lick their wounds excessively.
Important things to consider
Cat World states that complications are a pretty common occurrence. Among the most common ones are swelling, infections, discharge, heat, redness, and poor healing of the affected area. You should consider getting in touch with your vet as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs or any other worrying ones.
How can I save money on pet tail amputation?
Most offices will enable you to set up a simple payment plan if you can’t afford to pay for this procedure upfront.
It would also be a good idea to call multiple veterinarian clinics and offices. If the amputation of the tail is a must, then see how much other vets around you would charge, even if you’ve been loyal to someone. You don’t even have to go to someone else. Instead, if you find a cheap quote that’s 30% to 40% below the one offered by your vet, maybe you can haggle a little on the price.
You can try your luck at a veterinary college as well if you have one locally. This place will usually do these types of procedures for a fraction of the cost.