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How Can I Tell If My Cat Has a Broken Leg?

Cats are known for being graceful animals. However, they are still at risk of accidents and potential injuries. Our Astoria vets offer a few tips on what to look for if you suspect your cat may have a broken leg. 

Accidents & Serious Injuries

Most cats are curious and playful creatures. While their antics are always adorable, their mischievousness may sometimes get them into trouble. If you've noticed that your cat is hurt, you're likely wondering if it's a serious injury or one that will heal on its own. 

What is the Difference Between a Sprain and a Break? 

While the symptoms of a sprained leg and the signs of a broken leg are similar, the two conditions are distinct from each other. A sprain is a stretched tendon or ligament, whereas a break (fracture) is an injury to the bone. 

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

Common Symptoms of a Broken or Fractured Leg 

Your cat may be suffering from a broken leg or other internal injuries if he is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below. These will require immediate medical attention: 

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

If you think your cat has a broken leg, it's imperative to bring your pet to the vet as soon as possible. A fractured or broken bone can be very painful. While cats are often stoic animals, it's important to have your vet diagnose the issue and provide medication to help alleviate your cat's pain. 

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 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 to your injured cat to an emergency animal center as quickly and safely as possible.

Treating a Broken Leg

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

Your vet may recommend non-surgical treatments such as cage rest, a cast, 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. While a cat with a broken leg will often not be aware of their physical limitations, it's essential to prevent your cat from jumping and running is essential to healing the injury as quickly as possible.

Try keeping your cat in a warm room, free from furniture that may encourage her to jump. Or consider purchasing a cage that will give your cat room to move but prevent her from jumping. Be sure to provide your cat with easily accessible food and water, and follow your vet's instructions regarding any medications prescribed for your cat.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat showing signs of a broken or fractured leg? Contact our vets at Steinway Court Veterinarian as soon as possible to arrange emergency care.

New Patients Welcome

At Steinway Court Veterinarian, we are always accepting new patients. Our vets are dedicated to keeping pets healthy and happy in our Astoria clinic. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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Contact (718) 728-2822