What to do if your cat has a broken leg. Symptoms and care

When we think of a cat with a broken leg, pain, worry, and panic are the feelings that generally come to mind.

For your cat to have a broken leg is rare, but unfortunately this happens from time to time.

The problem is that cats cannot tell us in words what has happened to them or where it hurts.

Therefore, it is important that we know when a cat has a broken paw.

And once you know whether or not your cat’s paw is broken , you probably want to know how to care for your injured pet and how long the healing process will take.

In this article I will try to answer any questions you may have about broken legs in cats.

You may also be interested in reading this article.


How to know if your cat has a broken leg

It is often difficult to tell when your cat is in pain. It is quite common for a suffering cat to retreat and hide.

So how do I know if my cat has a broken paw?

In general, a cat does not walk when it has a broken leg and if it does walk it does not support the leg . So if your cat seems unable to use one of its limbs, there is a good chance that it is fractured.

If the leg is turned at an unnatural angle, or even worse, if the bone sticks out of the skin, be sure the bone is broken.

Of course, in all these cases, you will need to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

What to do when a cat has a broken leg

A broken leg is a stressful thing for your cat. This is what you can do:

  • Be careful when approaching and handling a cat that may have a broken bone Pain can cause the cat to bite or scratch you.
  • Keep your cat as calm as possible, move it carefully.
  • If possible, put an Elizabethan collar on his head to provide additional security and to prevent the cat from biting or licking the broken paw.
  • If you notice that a bone is visible through the skin, soak some gauze in sterile saline solution and cover it carefully to protect it from infection until you go to the vet.
  • Place your cat, calmly and very carefully, in a cat carrierto take him to the vet.
  • It is best if your cat travels in a carrier or box to keep him immobile, but if he has difficulty getting into or riding in a cat carrier, he may suffer further injuries. In that case, put it on a small board or a child’s sleigh for transport.
  • Cats with broken bones can go into shock. If your pet doesn’t seem to notice what’s going on around him, pant, wrap him in a blanket, and take him to the vet immediately.

Can a Broken Cat Paw Heal Itself?

If you suspect that your cat has broken a leg, you should take him to the vet for examination.

Regardless of the diagnosis, or how the vet decides to treat the injury, managing the pain the cat is experiencing is the top priority.

However, a term that is frequently searched on Google is “untreated fractured cat paw”

Unfortunately, this indicates that some cat owners may be wondering whether they need to take their cat to the vet when they have a broken leg.

It can also indicate that someone has come across a cat that they suspect has broken a leg in the past and never received treatment.

If a cat with a broken limb is left untreated, it will be in great pain. If the cat survives, it will most likely be permanently disfigured and without the full function of its limb.

There is also the risk of secondary injuries to the jack caused by the breakage, which could be fatal if left untreated.

Treatment of a broken paw of a cat

Cats with fractures will need to be carefully examined by the veterinarian as they may have other injuries such as broken pelvis, injuries to other organs and soft tissues.

The vet will perform an X-ray to check for breaks and assess the extent of the damage.

Treatment depends on the nature of the fracture and will require internal or external fixation to stabilize the bone.

External fixation: 

This method is used to treat minor breaks.

  • A splint or a molded or padded bandage is placed around the leg to immobilize it while it heals.
  • The pins and external wires are inserted into the bone to hold it vertically.

Internal fixation: 

  • Surgery to realign the bones and place screws, pins, and rods in the bone to hold the pieces together while it heals.

In some cases, the least, it may be necessary to amputate the leg.


How long does it take to heal a broken leg in a cat?

Bone healing from a fracture can last about 4 to 12 weeks. This varies depending on the age of the cat and the nature of the fracture. Orthopedic surgery is painful, so for the first few days after the operation, the cat needs powerful pain relievers and, in some cases, even sedation.

The skin sutures are removed 7 to 14 days after surgery, but the cat needs to rest until healing of the fracture is evident on the x-ray. This means restricting the cat to a cage or small room for several weeks.

Problems and Precautions After Your Cat’s Surgery

Regardless of the surgery, you should continue to care for your cat during its postoperative recovery period. Indoor cats should avoid running and jumping for a smooth recovery,  running and jumping during their postoperative recovery phase could lead to any of the following complications  :

  • What are the stitches or sutures in the skin loosen, delaying the healing of the skin.
  • The opening or loosening of internal closures or sutures, which can cause bleeding or even leakage of bacteria or urine from the abdomen.
  • The bandages can be moved or placed in a position that may cause more damage or pain.
  • A bone plate, pin or screws move or don’t heal properly.

Your vet may have prescribed some medications to take, such as pain relievers or antibiotics, to ease your cat’s pain .

Make sure to give them to your cat as directed.

You may also need to keep your cat in a confined space, for example in a smaller room with nothing to jump off of.

You can allow your cat some exercise to keep her muscles strong, which will help in the healing process.

Your vet can guide you on how much activity you should encourage your cat to participate in.



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