Main causes of broken bones in cats: Causes, symptoms and treatment


The main causes of broken bones in cats. We learn to recognize behaviors, causes, symptoms and how to treat this problem in our feline.

The cat must be able to count on healthy bones and joints, as an animal that is always on the move and with a predatory nature. A healthy cat moves harmoniously, in a sinuous way, thanks to a perfect collaboration between joints, muscles and nervous stimulations.

And precisely because of its dynamism, poor mobility is a sign of some bone or joint problem. The cat may have difficulty jumping or crouching on his toilet, showing a stiffer gait, or even the cat may limp.

Even if cats tolerate pain very well, you may notice that your pet has a tense expression or even feel it meowing in pain. In this article, we will discuss the causes of broken bones in cats.

Symptoms of broken bones in cats

cold water cat
Obvious symptoms of the cat with broken bones. (Pixabay photo)

The cat is known to be a very reserved animal and will tend to hide any pain symptoms and where they should be evident, we will find the following:

  • swelling or bruising in the injured area;
  • cry, moan and growl to the touch and not;
  • do not walk or use a limb or tail;
  • don’t eat or don’t need.

Fracture or breakage of the bone

Fractures of bones in cats are generally caused by trauma such as: a fall or being hit by a car. Accidents are also among the most common causes of these problems, for example following a jump from a high height.

The diagnosis will be established through a physical and diagnostic evaluation of the area in question. Complete clinical tests and assessments of local radiographs will be carried out up to a possible magnetic resonance imaging, carried out under sedation of the animal.

Hormonal imbalances

The age of the cat, the lack of estrogen, the insufficient intake of vitamin D or calcium and some diseases can decrease the amount of components that maintain bone density and strength, thus generating diseases such as osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis in cats causes bone thinning, therefore they are more fragile and easier to break even in the case of collisions of not so strong entity. If a cat usually runs around the house jumping from one piece of furniture to another, a sudden immobility could suggest the presence of a problem.

Not only that, the animal could be unfriendly, irritable and grumpy. Often the quickest solution contemplates the presence of pharmacological type therapy, useful for reducing pain and inflammation.

Some supplements such as carnitine, arginine, taurine, potassium, chitosan, fiber, glucosamine are also useful. And a careful diet could play in favor of the house cat, contemplating foods rich in fatty acids such as Omega3 and Omega6 useful against pain.

Bone infections

An inflammation and infection of the bone in its entirety, therefore including the periosteum, bone and medullary cavity, called osteomyelitis, can also cause a break in the bones. Osteomyelitis is usually associated with bacterial infections from Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, Escherichia coli, Proteus, Pasteurella and Brucella canis.

In order to proceed with an adequate diagnosis, a visit, blood tests, radiographs and any cytological and bacteriological examination are required, the latter essential to use the most suitable antibiotic therapy. Once the diagnosis has been established, the veterinarian will proceed with the treatment which can be both medical and surgical.

Medical therapy involves the administration of antibiotics for long periods of time. While surgical therapy involves the drainage of wounds, courettage, the removal of any nails and plaques, the grafting of spongy bone and in severe cases also amputation.

Bone cancer

The most common bone tumor in cats is radial osteosarcoma, humerus, femur or tibia. The most common obvious signs are lameness, swelling of the bones, and bone fractures that are not caused by trauma. X-ray of the affected limb can help confirm the diagnosis.

The treatments applied are limb amputation and chemotherapy. Generally the cat after amputation has a life expectancy of about 4 years. The prognosis is subjective, it depends on the bacteria involved, the duration of the infection and the general health of the cat.

Diagnosis and treatment of broken bones in cats

cat with collar
It will certainly be difficult to avoid the cat from moving and jumping, but it will still be important to try to prevent this from happening. (Photo AdobeStock)

In order to establish a correct diagnosis the veterinarian, it cannot be limited to the complete history of cat diseases and not only to a purely physical evaluation of the animal.

It will therefore be necessary to proceed with a more in-depth assessment through more complex and precise diagnostic tests, including: complete blood test, in order to evaluate other pathologies, localized radiographs of suspicious areas and possibly magnetic resonance imaging.

Once you become aware of the diagnosis, the veterinarian will determine which treatment to proceed with, but this cannot be unique, but must be subjective and taking into account age, health in general, broken bones and the type of fracture that has occurred.

Surgery will often be needed to realign the bones and place screws, pins (metal rods), wire and / or metal plates to hold the pieces together. For other fractures, however, especially if the tail is involved, amputation is likely to be required.

Spinal and pelvic fractures will be treated with highly restrictive activities (resting in the cage), with or without surgery. All this always supported by the use of antibiotics and pain relievers.

After the period of convalescence of the animal, certainly there will be a need for the Elizabethan collar to prevent the cat from licking or biting the affected area or even breaking the bandage. It will certainly be difficult to avoid the cat from moving and jumping, but it will still be important to try to prevent this from happening.

Fortunately, broken cat bones usually take 4 to 6 weeks to heal. Follow-up radiographs are normally done to monitor healing. Unfortunately it is impossible to prevent cat bones from breaking, since if it is free to go outside or to frequent dangerous areas it will only be possible to limit these danger areas.

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Raffaella Lauretta

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