How to Diagnose Cat Fractures: 7 Steps

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How to Diagnose Cat Fractures: 7 Steps
How to Diagnose Cat Fractures: 7 Steps

Cats are adventurous by nature and can find themselves in dangerous situations. Such curiosity can result, for example, in bone fractures. Cats can fracture any bone, but the most commonly fractured ones include the jaw, legs, ribs, pelvis, and tail. If you are a particularly adventurous cat owner, it is important to know what signs indicate a possible fracture so that you can seek medical treatment as soon as possible.


Part 1 of 2: Identifying Fracture Signs

Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 1

Step 1. Assess whether the cat's jaw is fractured

Look for physical and behavioral signs to determine if there is a problem with the animal's jaw. Such signs include:

  • Impossibility to close the mouth.
  • Pain and swelling in the face and jaw region.
  • Reluctance to feed.
  • Other injuries, mainly in the head region.
  • Bleeding in the mouth and/or nose.
  • Obvious jaw and/or face deformities.
  • Broken teeth.
  • Blood stained saliva.
Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 2

Step 2. Check for signs of a broken leg or pelvis

When there is a fracture in the pelvis or legs of the cat, the animal usually manifests several signs. In addition to these areas, the pussy may have other fractured parts, so be careful when making the assessment. Signs of a fractured leg or pelvis include:

  • Limp.
  • Inability to support the affected leg.
  • Swelling.
  • Pain when being touched or when moving the affected region.
  • Unwillingness to walk.
  • Hide yourself.
Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 3

Step 3. Look for symptoms of a possible rib fracture

Rib fractures are a medical emergency and, when found, the animal must be taken to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for respiratory evaluation and treatment to survive. A fractured rib can puncture the cat's lungs, causing extreme breathing difficulties. Signs of a rib fracture include:

  • Breathing hard.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Pectoral with distorted appearance.
  • Pains.
  • Hide yourself.
Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 4

Step 4. Determine if the animal's tail is broken

The bones in a cat's tail can break just like any other bone. This usually occurs when the tail is accidentally pressed when closing a door or when the door is pulled.

In this case, the animal may present signs such as slackness in the tail, inability to swing it, a crooked or bent tail and pain in the region

Part 2 of 2: Getting a Veterinary Diagnosis

Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 5

Step 1. Take the animal to the vet

Any broken bones are a serious problem. If you notice any signs of a fracture, contact your veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately so the animal can be treated and pain relieved.

  • When suffering a fracture, the cat needs medical care, even though this only involves pain relief.
  • In addition to looking at the possibly fractured area, the veterinarian will assess the animal's general health.
Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 6

Step 2. Authorize the veterinarian to take X-rays

Such exams can make the appointment more expensive, so be prepared to deal with the financial impact. In most cases, the cat will need to be sedated and positioned in different ways, for example, lying on its back, on its side, on its stomach and, in the case of a fractured jaw, at various angles with the mouth open and closed.

  • The most common method used by veterinarians to diagnose fractures is the X-ray examination. Closed fractures (ie, under the skin) are easily identified on radiography.
  • In the case of open fractures, the broken bone is visible from outside the body, however, X-ray examination should also be done as other fractures may be present under the skin. It is often necessary to perform multiple X-ray examinations to accurately assess the fracture.
  • In some cases, special techniques are used to find fractures that are not just a simple break in the bone. Bones can fracture in any direction (diagonal, spiral, etc.), and can also break apart.
Diagnosis Fractures in Cats Step 7

Step 3. Take care of the animal as directed by the veterinarian

Treatment will vary depending on the type and location of the fracture. Minimal fractures, for example, usually heal on their own as long as the area remains immobilized. Open fractures and spiral fractures require surgery.

  • In many cases amputation is the only solution for broken tails. However, if the fracture occurred only at the tip, it is possible for the wound to heal on its own.
  • Serious problems like fractures are a good reason to take out pet insurance. If the cat is seriously injured and you have insurance, the costs will go down and you won't have to worry so much about treatment-related expenses.


  • If you notice any signs of a fracture, call your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately to treat the animal and relieve pain.
  • Be careful when touching the injured animal. It can bite you out of pain and fear. Wear thick, long-sleeved clothing and thick leather gloves. Wrap the animal in a towel carefully and place it in the carrier before taking it to the veterinarian or emergency clinic.

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