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My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:54 am
by LeannTheElf
I bought him in January of this year, and he had already bitten off the end of his tail. The guy at the shop said he thought someone pulled it off, but you could tell it had been chewed on. It started healing nicely, but then he chewed it again when he shed the first time after bringing him home. Once it started healing that time, it turned a little black. I was concerned but the shop guy said it was doing fine and gave me some stuff in a blue tube to put on it. Poor Elvis just shed again last week, and last night I caught him in the act of mangling himself. He is biting the end of the tail so viciously that it is raw and bleeding, and chunks WERE hanging off until he started eating them. I am waiting to hear from the vet; the one in this area does not operate on a regular schedule due to her having narcolepsy. (Which is not very reassuring to me at all.) What do I need to do first, and why would he be doing this? Am I possibly causing it with a husbandry mistake? His temps are correct, he only has a standard heat bulb, but I dust his food with calcium. He is a super picky eater; I smush up veggies and hide it in his dog food to trick him into eating them. I appreciate any advice at all, and if anything I am doing is wrong or could be done better, please let me know. This is my first bluey, so I'm still learning.

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:56 am
by Fatal_S
Is there any shed stuck to his tail? Has he been eating normally? I can't really help, sorry, but I wish you the best of luck with the vet.

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:06 am
by LeannTheElf
There has been no shed left on his body since I've brought him home. LOL I'm super serious about going over him with a fine toothed comb so to speak to make sure we aren't losing any toes or left with ear bags. I cannot speak for sheds prior to me buying him though. He eats ok I suppose; I offer food every 3 days. Sometimes he eats it all, and sometimes just a mouthful. He will NOT eat anything that isn't mixed in dog food, and if I make the ratio of dog food lower than whatever else I'm putting in it, he won't touch it.

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:16 am
by Katrina
I don't think anyone on the forum will be able to help much, you will need to get him vet care. It doesn't sound like irritation from shed or anything, it sounds like there is some sort of infection.

I don't think it was anything to do with your husbandry. I'd switch him to paper towel and keep everything as clean and sterile as possible. Is there another vet that you can get in to see sooner?

Good luck!

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:24 am
by LeannTheElf
Thank you; I was afraid I had made a mistake somewhere. I do not know of any vets but the one in my area, and she is still an hour away. I will research others in the state of GA. I'm off work on Thursday; that will be my soonest chance to take him in somewhere. Hopefully I can find someone. I've read about tails having to be amputated, esp. in the situation with blackening. I hope it does not have to come to that, and I hope to God that it doesn't get worse between now and Thursday. :( Thank you for your help!

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:49 am
by Katrina
If it is blackening and he is biting at it, I would think that amputation of part of it would be the likely outcome.. but I'm NOT a vet and I am only guessing based on what you have described. But don't worry too much - it they have to amputate part of the tail it isn't the end of the world. Lots of blueys live just fine missing toes or bits of tails. The important thing is that he is healthy after.

Between now and Thursday, I would just switch to paper towel and keep everything clean. I'm not sure how you can prevent him from biting the tail further, hopefully he doesn't do too much damage before you can get him in to the vet.

Good luck!

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:53 am
by Richard.C
when there tail heals it often goes black,in the part that heals,a cage mate may have originally chomped it,does he only have a go at it after a shed

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:05 am
by LeannTheElf
He has always been caged alone, but I am leaning towards him having a bad shed in the shop before I bought him. I feel that's where the chewing originated. I have his appointment set up for Thursday afternoon, and I will switch to paper towels tonight when I get home. I hope we don't have to amputate, but if that's what it takes, that's what we'll do. My poor little old man. :(

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:06 am
by LeannTheElf
And yes Richard, he does it after shedding only.

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:31 am
by Richard.C
good idea to see a vet,just for peace of mind and some ideas,if hes doing it at each shed maybe its the scarring ,he thinks its still shed,so trys to help it off,sometimes they have difficulty shedding the scar tissue,which i find tends to be black,if thats it it shouldnt need amputating,when the whole tail or decent portion turns black,thats generally necrosis,which is that whole section dieing off,drys out and can fall off

your guy may have had a cage mate or many when it was originally at the pet store,some forms happily devoid cage mates of tails,could just be the others already had sold or that they then moved your guy to a different cage to avoid further bullying

i may be wrong but i think your issue may be that on shedding,it either thinks it hasnt shed it that section so trys to help it,opening the wound,or that that section doesnt shed but same thing,the biting is because at that time,shed cycle,that section irratates him

takes a while for it to heal good,especially in lil tackers ,they shed alot more than adults,and if it keeps biting and opening the wound on shedding,the healing process is starting again,hopefully a vet can help anyways,can u keep us updated on how it goes,thanks for sharing this

Re: My male bluey is biting off the end of his tail

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:19 pm
by Spindown
any updates on this?