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How can I tell if my cat has a broken leg?

How can I tell if my cat has a broken leg?

Both indoor and outdoor cats can suffer injuries due to accidents. Today, our Turlock vets explain how to tell if a cat has a broken leg, and what to do next. 

Accidents Can Happen to Cats

Most cats, especially young ones who are just learning about the world, are playful and curious by nature. Unfortunately, this also means they can occasionally get into trouble. If you notice that your cat is hurt, you're likely concerned about whether it's a serious issue or something that will heal on its own. 

How to Tell the Difference Between Sprains & Breaks 

While a sprained leg and broken leg both have very similar symptoms, they are different. A sprain is when a tendon or ligament is stretched, while a break is an injury to the bone.

Sprains and broken legs can both happen for various reasons, from falls and fights with other animals to car accidents.  

Signs & Symptoms of a Broken or Fractured Leg in Cats

If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms, they may be suffering from a broken leg or another internal injury that needs immediate veterinary emergency care:

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

It's important to bring your cat to your vet right away if you suspect your pet may have a broken leg. A fractured or broken bone can be very painful for your feline friend. Though cats often act stoic, it's imperative to have your vet diagnose the issue and provide your cat with medication to help alleviate pain. 

Steps to Take If You Think Your Cat Has a Broken Leg 

If you suspect your cat may have a broken leg, you'll need to take immediate action. Wrap your cat in a blanket or towel to keep them warm, and try to keep your kitty as still as possible. 

Call your emergency vet clinic and let them know what's happened, and that your cat needs urgent veterinary care. 

Stay calm and follow any instructions the veterinary professional may provide. Then bring your cat to the closest veterinary emergency hospital as fast and as safely as possible. 

Treating Cats With Broken Legs

When you get to the veterinary hospital, your vet will start providing your kitty with 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 feline companion.

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 needed. If your cat's injury is complex, a veterinary surgeon might need to be called in to perform the operation.

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

Caring For Your Cat's Broken Leg at Home

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

You will probably need to restrict your cat's activities. Cats with broken legs will often try to keep running and jumping as they will often not understand that they need to rest. However, it's important to keep them from doing so, so the injury can heal as quickly as possible and without further complications.

Try keeping your cat in a warm room, free from furniture that may encourage them to jump. Or consider purchasing a cage that will give your cat room to move but prevent them from jumping. You also have to provide your cat with easily accessible food and water bowls 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.

If you suspect your cat may have broken its leg, contact our Turlock emergency vets as quickly as possible.

New Patients Welcome

Taylor Veterinary Emergency is accepting new patients! Our experienced Turlock vets are passionate about the health of cats and dogs. Get in touch today to book your first appointment.

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Contact (209) 669-8600