Torn Toenail Injuries in Cats

Toenail problems in cats are common and fortunately, are rarely life threatening. The most common problem that affects the toenail is a torn or broken nail. You might not even notice a torn nail until you see blood or your cat begins to limp or cry. As there is a significant blood supply to the base of the nail, bleeding is common.

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. If left untreated, a torn nail can bleed intermittently and become infected, not to mention the pain and irritation for your cat.

Veterinary Care

Veterinary care can reduce the potential for infection and provide easy removal of the torn nail. Diagnosis is based on examination of the nail. Your veterinarian will note a fracture of the nail and bleeding. Depending on the extent of the tear, rapid removal of the nail just above the tear is usually sufficient. Unfortunately, this can be painful.

Usually, your veterinarian will clip the nail with nail trimmers and then apply a temporary bandage to stop any additional bleeding. Based on the depth of the tear and severity of the injury, your pet will probably need to take antibiotics.

Home Care

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 pets nails on a frequent basis. Overgrown nails are most commonly torn or broken. Despite trimming nails, torn nails can occur. Stopping the initial bleeding is important. Removal of the remaining piece of broken nail is also key to healing.