Does my cat have a broken leg? How can I tell if it's serious?

Our Memphis vets know that whether your cat is an outdoor feline or an indoor friend, accidents can happen. That's why it's important to understand what to look for if you think your cat may have a broken or fractured leg. 


Accidents Happen

Cats are playful, curious creatures that can get into trouble now and again. If you've noticed that your cat is hurt you're probably wondering whether it is a serious injury or something that will heal on its own.

What is the difference between a sprain and a break?

Although the symptoms of a sprained leg and those of a broken leg are similar, a sprain is a stretched ligament or tendon whereas a break is an injury to the bone.

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

Does my cat have a broken leg? | Memphis Vet

Common Symptoms of a Broken or Fractured Leg

If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed below, she may be suffering from a broken leg or other internal injuries, that require immediate medical attention.

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

If you suspect that your cat has a broken leg it's important to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible. A broken or fractured bone can be very painful. Cats are often stoic animals but it's important to have your vet diagnose the problem and provide your cat with medication to help alleviate 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 emergency 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 the emergency animal centre 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 casts 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 perform the operation.

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 instruction on how to care for your cat once you get home.

It's likely that you will need to restrict your cat's activities. Preventing 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.

If your cat is showing signs of a broken or fractured leg, contact our Memphis emergency vets right away.

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