Broken Bones in Cats

If your cat has broken a bone, for example in an accident, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Read here how broken bones in cats are treated and what you should consider as a cat owner.

A broken bone has far more effects on the cat’s body than “just” a broken bone. As a rule, other tissues and body parts are also injured:

  • Muscles, tendons, ligaments located near the point of fracture are often injured as well.
  • Important blood vessels can be torn.
  • Nerves can be damaged.
  • In the event of a serious accident, internal injuries can occur.

Therefore, the veterinarian will first examine the cat thoroughly and, if necessary, provide life support before attending to the broken bone. Incidentally, if “only” one bone is broken, cats have a better chance of healing quickly than other animal species. Because, as scientists have found, the purring of house tigers activates their self-healing powers.

Treatment of Broken Bones in Cats

The type of fracture treatment depends on several factors:

  • Type of fracture (open/ closed fraction)
  • location of the fracture point
  • Age and health of the cat

In concrete terms this means:

  • In a closed fracture, the fracture site is covered by skin and, in contrast to an open fracture, is relatively well protected against wound infection. Cats with open fractures need to be on antibiotics for at least 2 to 4 weeks.
  • the more individual fragments there are, the more difficult the treatment and the longer the healing process
  • the closer the fracture is to a joint or even affects the joint, the more difficult the treatment and
  • the longer the healing process
  • the more the affected bone is normally loaded, the more difficult the treatment and the longer
  • the healing process

Good blood circulation and strengthening muscles that support the broken bone promote healing.
the younger the animal, the faster the fracture will close. While one calculates 1 to 3 months for young cats, it can take up to 5 months for adult cats until the bone can bear normal loads again.
Young cats that have suffered a simple fracture of the long bones under the front or hind legs can be treated conservatively, i.e. with a supportive bandage. If there are no further complications, depending on the age of the cat, healing can be expected after 3 to 8 weeks.

Complicated fractures and all fractures in adult cats should be treated surgically. Uncomplicated pelvic fractures are definitely an exception, which heals well after 2 to 3 weeks of cage rest followed by 4 to 6 weeks of house arrest.

Proper Cat Care

After treatment by the veterinarian, support bandages and surgical wounds must be checked by the cat owner at least once a day. You should make sure that the wound and bandages are dry. The following warning signs are symptoms of complications in healing:

  • Swelling or large temperature differences in the skin
  • pains
  • loss of appetite
  • tense posture

Young animals should be x-rayed about 10 days after fracture treatment in order to detect growth disorders at an early stage. In adult animals with an uncomplicated healing process, a first X-ray control 3 weeks after treatment is sufficient. In difficult cases, such as an open fracture, these checks should be carried out every three weeks. In simple cases, an X-ray check after three months is usually sufficient.

The implants, i.e. plates, screws, nails, and wires that have stabilized the bone must be removed after healing if they:

  • hinder growth.
  • limit the mobility of a joint.
  • are relaxed or hiking.
  • weaken the bone.
  • disturb the cat.

Implants must always be removed after open fractures or bone marrow inflammation. In all other cases, they can remain in the body.

Tips for First Aid for Cats With a Broken Bone

If your cat has had an accident and broken a bone, you should act quickly:

  • Be as calm as possible with the cat.
  • Make sure the cat cannot escape.
  • Try to stop heavy bleeding.
  • Cover open fractures with a cloth that is as sterile as possible and fix the cloth with a loose bandage.
  • Call your vet or veterinary emergency services and announce your arrival.
  • For transport, the cat should be stored in a kennel that is as stable as possible.
  • Never try to fix a hernia yourself!

Diseases That Promote Fractures in Cats

Certain diseases or metabolic disorders weaken the bone structure. Cats that suffer from this are particularly prone to fractures. The most significant are overactive thyroid and kidney disease. The following nutritional errors also play an important role:

  • Oversupply of vitamin A, e.g. due to a high proportion of liver in the diet or excessive use of
  • vitamin supplements
  • Calcium deficiency, e.g. with pure meat feeding
  • Vitamin D deficiency, however, is extremely rarely caused by poor nutrition but is usually the result of kidney damage
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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