The Bionic Tail — Pets Who Survive Severe Trauma

A friend of mine jokingly suggested that I get a bionic tail for my dog Moose. Moose was hit by a car in June 2007 and lost his tail. He was lucky it wasn’t worse! Over the year and a half since the accident, he’s found other ways to express the emotions his tail used to handle. He barks when he’s happy or excited or wants attention. As more time passes, I notice his butt muscles twitching where they used to wag his tail.

Many animals can make amazing recoveries after serious accidents. Losing a limb, an ear, or even an eye isn’t necessarily a death sentence for a dog or cat. Modern medicine and animal resiliency make recovery a distinct possibility.

Many humans would see losing a limb or an eye or an ear as a huge life change. Animals are (at least in this case) more flexible and more adaptable. Three-legged dogs and cats can often get around just as well as their four-legged counterparts. When an eye or ear (or tail) is lost, they find other ways to compensate for the loss.

Medical advancements also help pets survive severe trauma. Surgery can help remove a damaged limb or organ. Prosthetic limbs are rare, but available. Most pets simply learn to redistribute their weight on their remaining limbs! Paralyzed pets can get around on carts. Rehab techniques can help pets recover after a serious injury. Even other pets can help an injured pet get by. I’ve read accounts of animals without sight being guided by other pets with normal vision.

Compared to losing an eye or a leg, losing a tail isn’t a life-threatening injury. Still, it has been an adjustment for all of us. Moose had to find a new way to communicate; I had to find a better tolerance for barking. Now it’s hard to imagine Moose WITH a tail. My neighbors often remark on how normal he seems without his wagger.