Fractured legs in cats are by far the most common type of fracture, but bone fractures can occur anywhere in your pet body.
When these fractures do affect the legs, however, although the fracture itself may not be that severe, it can cause a tremendous amount of stress in your cat.
Once they lose their ability to walk normally, it starts to place pressure on the legs that are not affected as well as mental pressure.
In fully understanding fractured legs in cats, it is very helpful to understand the four most common types of fractures that might occur: closed, compound, epiphyseal or growth plate, and green-stick or hairline.
The first three forms can also be categorized by whether they are simple forms of fractures in which your cat’s bones have broken in only two or three places, or if they are comminuted.
Comminuted is where your cat’s bones have shattered into several pieces.
Fractured legs in cats begin with the simplest form of fracture, which is referred to as closed.
This is a situation where the bone itself is fractured, but the overlying skin is still completely intact and as a result, it is not penetrated.
This form of a fracture in your cat is where small cracks have occurred within their bone.
The bone is still basically intake but it is considered cracked. With this form of fracture, your cats bone is not completely broken and is considered a hairline fracture.
These forms of fractures are breaks in the bone where the bone will actually protrude thorough your cat skin, and as a result, it is exposed and you can visibly see it.
These types of fractures are considered very risky simply because they may become contaminated by the environment, and as a result, they may become infected.
These forms of fractured legs in cats are also referred to a growth plate fractures, and as the name suggests, are most common in young cats that are still growing.
In a growing cat, they still have soft areas that are very near the end of each of their long bones.
It is in these areas where most of the growth occurs, and thus the name growth plates. Because they are still growing, these areas are very rich in immature calcified cells.
It is these cells that form the soft spots of the bones.
For this reason, they are much more exposed to fractures because they are the weakest part of growing cats bones.
The thigh bone, which is also called the femur, and the upper portion of the leg, are generally where the fractures will occur.
Fractured legs in cats have a myriad of different treatment techniques today as compared to just a few years ago.
However, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration, especially if the fracture is serious.
If it is serious, your veterinarian may also recommend that you talk to an orthopedic specialist in the veterinary trade.
The factors that will need to be considered will be the type of fracture as well as how long it has been fractured or broken.
Treatment will also involve the location, the presence of multiple fractures, as well as the activity level of your cat.
The activity level plays a very important role, as does the cat’s age.
However, perhaps the two most important factors are the financial resources of the owner as well as how experienced your veterinarian is at handling these types of cases.
The type of fracture will also determine whether a fracture reduction and stabilization is used, or if surgery has to be utilized.
Fractured legs in cats that do not require surgery, will be done with what is called fracture reduction and stabilization.
This is the process where a cast or a splint is used instead of surgery.
If surgery is involved, your veterinarian will utilize some type of metallic implants that could include a screw, interlocking nails, pins, wire, plates, or what is called a fixator.
A fixator is also referred to as ESF, external skeletal fixators. These are pins that are placed through your cat’s skin and then into the fragments of the bones that are affected.
A series of bars and clamps are than used to stabilize them.
If the fracture is serious, the best method of treatment is surgery as it will provide a much better chance of your cat returning to full mobility.
However, this will again depend on the owner’s financial situation as it can be very expensive.
If the fracture is comminuted, it will usually have more than two major fractures, and they will by nature be inherently unstable.
If the fractured leg in your cat involves a joint, it will require specific repairs that will allow for early motion in the affected joint.
Veterinarians worldwide have used bone plates and screws for fractured legs in cats for over a quarter of a century with very good results.
Plates and bone screws in most all cases will provide a superior stability that stays rigid, but it can affect the blood supply in the affected area and it has also required very extensive dissection.
Dissection is defined as the act or art of opening your cat’s body in order to operate or study the affected damage.
However, in the last few years that stance has been modified, especially if the operation is done by an orthopedic surgeon.
They will dissect much less tissue which has been in most all cases, much more effective and less threatening to the blood supply.
Fractured legs in cats can be very stressful for both the owner as well as the cat.
Careful follow up on your part will be critical in monitoring the bandages or the split, depending on what form of treatment it was.
You will need to watch for any sign of redness, any type of swelling, as well as for any type of a discharge.
You must also keep the bandages as well as the splint or cast dry. In most all cases, your cat’s fractured leg should return to normal within a couple of months.