Cat Broken Bones
The most common cause of broken bones in cats is automobile accidents. Fights between dogs and cats can also end up causing broken bones. Other causes include falling from a table, bouncing from the back of a pick-up truck, and various diseases, including bone cancer. Sometimes, you can tell if your cat has a broken leg if he is holding it in an abnormal position, or if it is at an unusual angle or is very swollen. Most obvious of all is an open wound with a piece of bone sticking out; these fractures are at high risk of becoming seriously infected. The cat may let you know he’s in pain by limping or being reluctant to put his weight on the particular leg, or he might just hold the leg up and not put any weight on it at all. Your cat may not want the leg to be touched, even by you.
FACT: Several options are available to repair broken bones.
WHAT YOUR VET CAN DO
* Your vet’s goal to repair the fracture will be to reunite the pieces, restore full function, and end up with a normal appearance to the cat.
* The diagnosis of a fracture is made by taking an x-ray of the bones. Treatment can consist of using casts, splints, plates, or wires. Casts are made of fiberglass or plaster, but their use is limited. Since the joint above and below a break must be immobilized, a cast cannot be used for fractures involving bones of the hip or shoulder. They work best for simple fractures involving the lower part of a leg. If a fracture is too complicated to be repaired using a cast, stainless steel pins, wires, and bone plates can be used. Intramedullary pins are steel rods inserted inside broken bones to hold the pieces of bone together. The post-operative care requires limited exercise, to prevent the pins from moving. The pins are left in until the fracture heals, generally four to eight weeks, and then removed under local anesthesia. Orthopedic wire can be used to put fragments of bone together or to anchor a bone to an intramedullary pin to make the repair more stable. Stainless steel bone plates are screwed directly into the bone. Plates and screws can be used to repair broken bones with odd shapes, like the pelvis, or badly broken long bones of the front or hind legs. Bone plates are very expensive, but minimal post-operative care is needed. These cats can use their legs almost immediately after the surgery and are pain free.