Cats are extremely active, restless and inquisitive animals. It is because of these natural traits that they often get injuries to the musculoskeletal system — fractures and dislocations. However, it is often difficult to distinguish these two pathologies from each other.
Causes of the disease
A fracture is a violation of the anatomical integrity of the bone and adjacent tissues. It can be acquired or congenital and occur under the influence of external effort or pathology, respectively.
If we talk about congenital pathologies of the bone structure, they are diagnosed only 1-2% of the total number of visits to veterinary clinics with fractures. The reasons for the birth of kittens with broken limbs are intensive labor of the mother, osteoporosis, rickets, osteomalacia in the expectant mother.
Veterinarians distinguish between two types of acquired bone damage, based on the cause of their appearance: pathological and traumatic. The first group includes fractures caused by osteosarcoma, osteomalacia, etc.
Traumatic fractures occur not only because of various injuries received as a result of falling from a height, getting under the wheels of a car, fighting with an opponent, but also during unprofessional childbirth. Unlike a fracture, dislocation is a violation of the anatomical location and change in the physiological functions of the joint. The bone remains intact. Dislocations also fall into two categories: acquired and congenital. The causes of dislocations are similar to fractures.
Purchased from the sprains and fractures is not insured by any one animal. Breeds such as Persians, Maine coons, and Himalayan cats are predisposed to congenital joint diseases.
The main symptoms
With fractures and dislocations, the animal has common clinical signs: pain, impaired motor function (lameness), swelling of the damaged area.
There are three types of fractures: closed, open, and displaced. Serious damage also includes cracks.
Signs of an open fracture in a cat:
- violation of the integrity of the skin;
- the bone is broken, its ends are displaced and come out;
- tissue rupture in the area of the fracture;
- a lot of pain.
With open wounds, the risks of tissue necrosis and infection are very high.
For a closed fracture without displacement, the following symptoms are characteristic: the broken bone is in the usual position, the skin and tissues swell, turn blue, and turn red. In a dislocated fracture, the bone diverges in different directions, and the soft tissues are partially damaged. There is a risk of internal bleeding.
A crack can easily be confused with a bruise. The bone remains intact, its edges do not diverge and are held intact. The cat can move cautiously while experiencing pain.
Simple dislocation is recognized by the following signs:
- the skin and tissues remain intact;
- inability to lean on the surface;
- pain when touching an injured limb;
- the dislocated part of the body is asymmetrical.
For a complex dislocation, accompanied by a rupture of ligaments and tendons, the appearance of bruises in the injured area is characteristic.
Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic
The fact that the pet was injured can be seen immediately, but it is necessary to contact a veterinary clinic. After examining the pet and conducting a series of diagnostic tests, the veterinarian will determine the degree of damage and prescribe appropriate treatment.
The necessary diagnostic methods include General and biochemical blood tests, x-rays in two projections, and heart ECHO. In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound is required.
If you have witnessed a cat being hit by a car or falling from a great height and suspect a fracture, you should put a splint on the damaged paw. This procedure will immobilize the broken limb. As a tire, you can use a flat Board or, in the absence of one, a dense cardboard folded several times.
The splint must be applied in such a way as to be able to fix the two joints close to the fracture from the bottom and from the top. The structure should be wrapped with a bandage in several layers. After that, you must take the victim to a veterinary clinic. For open fractures, the wound is closed with sterile gauze napkins, and a splint is applied on top.
If you are sure that the cat has a dislocation, then in no case do not try to set the damaged limb yourself! Your inexperienced actions and ignorance of cat anatomy can cause irreparable harm to your pet. Attach an ice pack to the affected limb, apply a tight fixing bandage, and take the pet to a veterinary clinic.
To ease the condition of the cat and save it from traumatic shock, many owners prick the animal with painkillers. However, veterinarians do not recommend doing this at home. Without feeling pain, the cat can do even more harm to itself. In addition, analgesics distort the symptoms of trauma. Finally, sedation will be mandatory during the x-ray examination, and the preliminary administration of painkillers will negatively affect the health of the pet.
Transport the animal to the veterinary clinic should be in a supine state in the back seat of the car. The pet should be placed on a horizontal surface-plywood, Board, car panel-and fixed in the area of the shoulder blades and pelvis with a rope or belt.
The task of the owner is to provide the pet with the most comfortable conditions during the treatment of fractures. The mobility of the cats may have a negative impact on her wellbeing, so freedom of movement should be restricted. The ideal option is to put the animal in a cage for 2-3 weeks.
This design should be quite free, but it does not allow the pet to move a lot. In the cage, you need to put a tray, bowls with food and water.
How to treat fractures and dislocations
Simple fractures are treated with conservative methods. These include pain relief, elimination of pain shock. Immobilization with splints and splints is used to repair the damaged bone. For pain relief, drugs such as traumel and Butomidor are used. The splints and braces are removed only after the veterinarian has given permission to do so.
With complex types of fractures, you can not do without surgery. Osteosynthesis involves the removal of small fragments of bones and the reduction of large ones. Surgical intervention with the use of fixing metal structures should be carried out immediately after the diagnosis of a fracture.
Pins, plates and spokes made of a special titanium alloy remain in the animal’s body for life.
After surgery, as well as in the case of open fractures, antibiotic therapy is indicated.
The regeneration process can be accelerated by drugs that improve osteosynthesis, vitamin therapy,and physiotherapy.
If a cat has been diagnosed with a dislocation, treatment includes analgesia and reduction of the damaged limb, followed by the application of a fixing bandage. In severe cases, surgical intervention is indicated.
As for the prognosis for fractures and dislocations, in most cases it is favorable. The only exceptions are spinal fractures with damage to the structure of the spinal cord. If the fracture caused a rupture of large vessels of the limb or peripheral nerves, then for the cat it ends with the loss of the limb.
Do not underestimate dislocations: if the damage is not treated, it can later lead to complex muscle deformities, destruction of joint surfaces. As a result, the cat will limp for the rest of its life.
The rehabilitation period
How long the recovery stage will last depends on the severity of the fracture, the General condition and age of the cat. In young individuals, it usually lasts three weeks, with a maximum of 30 days. In an old cat, the healing process is longer — 35-40 days.
To track the correct fusion of the bone structure of the pet should be taken monthly to a control appointment with a veterinary surgeon.
In order to restore the motor function of the damaged limb, elasticity and muscle tone, you should perform a manual massage, with the technique of which the veterinarian will familiarize you. Daily massage treatments stimulate blood circulation, healing of the periosteal tissues, and accelerate the process of bone fusion.
The cat’s diet should be balanced, nutritious and easily digestible. Animals need foods rich in phosphorus and calcium. However, it should be remembered that an excess of these components often leads to the formation of gallstones and kidneys.
Vitamin and mineral supplements will also contribute to the speedy recovery of the pet, but they can only be given after consultation with a specialist. The veterinarian prescribes vitamins based on the needs of the animal.
Of course, you won’t always be able to control your pet to protect it from being run over by a car or falling out of a window. However, no one cancels compliance with basic safety rules. Make sure that the cat does not climb high trees, close the Windows and vents during your absence.
After each walk, check your pet for injuries. If you suspect a fracture or dislocation, immediately contact a veterinary clinic.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and I’m a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.