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How to Tell if a Cat has a Broken Leg

Our Mechanicsburg vets know that whether your cat is an outdoor feline or an indoor friend, accidents can happen. That's why it's important to understand what to look for if you think your cat may have a broken or fractured leg. 

Accidents Happen

Cats are playful, inquisitive creatures who can get into mischief from time to time. If you notice your cat is injured, you may be wondering whether it is a serious injury or one that will heal on its own.

What is the difference between a sprain and a break?

Although the symptoms of a sprained leg and those of a broken leg are similar, a sprain is a stretched ligament or tendon whereas a break is an injury to the bone.

Sprains and leg breaks can both be caused by anything from car accidents to falls.

Common Symptoms of a Broken or Fractured Leg

If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed below, she may be suffering from a broken leg or other internal injuries, that require immediate medical attention.

  • Refusal to put weight on the leg
  • Crying or howling
  • Wincing
  • Hissing or biting at you 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Refusal to groom 
  • Visible deformity or open wound
  • Noticeable bruising or swelling 

If you suspect your cat has a broken leg, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible. A broken or fractured bone can be excruciatingly painful. Cats are often stoic animals, but your vet must diagnose the problem and provide your cat with pain medication.

What To Do if You Think Your Cat Has a Broken Leg

If you think that your cat may have a broken leg, it's time to take action.

Try to keep your cat as still as possible, and keep your cat warm by wrapping her in a towel or blanket.

Call your emergency vet clinic to let them know what has happened and that your cat requires urgent veterinary attention. 

Stay calm and follow any instructions that may be given to you by the veterinary professional on the phone. Then bring your injured cat to the emergency animal center as quickly and safely as possible.

Treating a Cat With a Broken Leg

When you arrive at the veterinary hospital, your veterinarian will start emergency treatment, which may include intravenous fluids, pain relief, and/or ventilation. Once your cat is stable and comfortable, the vet will go over the various treatment options and advise you on which one is best for your pet.

Your vet may recommend non-surgical treatments such as cage rest, casts, or a splint, to help your cat's broken leg heal, but in many cases, surgery will be required. If your cat's injury is complex, a veterinary surgeon may be called in to operate.

Should your cat require an overnight stay at the emergency clinic be sure to ask staff about visiting hours, and when you will receive an update from the vet.

At-Home Care for Your Cat

Your vet will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your cat once you get home.

You will likely need to restrict your cat's activities. Preventing your cat from jumping and running is essential to healing the injury as quickly as possible.

Keep your cat in a warm room free of furniture that might tempt her to jump. Consider purchasing a cage that will allow your cat to move freely while preventing her from jumping. Make sure your cat has easy access to food and water, and follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding any medications prescribed for your cat.

If your cat is showing signs of a broken or fractured leg, contact our Mechanicsburg vets right away.

New Patients Welcome

Looking for a vet in Mechanicsburg PA? Silver Springs Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our skilled veterinarians are passionate about improving the health of Central Pennsylvania companion animals. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.

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