Torn Toenail (Claw) in Cats

Torn Claw in Cats

Suddenly you notice – there’s blood on your cat’s paw and he is limping and licking his paw. When you take a closer look you see the problem – a terrible torn toenail. Toenail problems, specifically torn or broken nails, are common in cats but rarely life-threatening. Nevertheless, they are quite painful.

Nails often get snagged on fabric or carpet fibers, and in an attempt to dislodge the attached material, your cat might pull away, tearing the nail in the process. You might not even notice until you see blood or your cat begins to limp or cry. If left untreated, a torn nail can bleed intermittently and become infected, not to mention the pain and irritation for your cat.

Veterinary Care for Torn Claws in Cats

Some torn nails can be treated at home if your pet will allow it, but veterinary care can reduce the potential for infection and provide easy removal of the torn nail. Depending on the extent of the tear, removal of the nail at the level of tear is usually sufficient. This is most easily done with nail trimmers. After removal of the broken part, your veterinarian may apply a temporary bandage to stop bleeding. He may also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.

Home Care for Torn Claws in Cats

If you try to treat your cat at home, remember: a torn nail is painful for your cat and you should take care to avoid getting bit. The following steps are important:

Preventative Care

The best preventative care is to trim your pet’s nails frequently. Overgrown nails are most commonly affected.

Toenail problems in cats are common and fortunately, rarely life threatening. The most common problem that afflicts the toenail is a torn or broken nail. Usually, the owner is unaware of the cause of the torn nail and only notices the problem when blood is seen on the feet. After breaking or tearing a nail, bleeding occurs due to the significant blood supply to the base of the nail.

Frequently, cats can catch their nails on fabric, carpet fibers, etc. In an attempt to dislodge the attached fabric, the cat pulls away and the nail is torn in the process.

A torn nail, if left untreated, can have intermittent bleeding episodes, result in infections and cause persistent pain and irritation to the cat.