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What are Simple Fractures?

Simple fractures are often seen in cats as they tend to be the result of low-grade trauma such as falls or accidently being stepped on, which are incidents frequently occurring to cats. The most common fractures seen in cats as a result of accidents and falls are leg, pelvis and tail fractures. Simple fractures tend to be seen more frequently in young, active cats that are still growing and are not yet familiar with their limits (may fall trying to jump a distance they can not safely span) and whose bones have not fully developed. However, fractures are also commonly seen in senior cats who have brittle bones or in malnourished animals whose bodies lack the minerals needed to produce strong bones. If you suspect your cat may have fractured a bone you should consult your veterinarian. Care should be taken in transporting your injured pet so as not to cause further pain, stress or displacement of the fracture.

A simple fracture occurs when there is a break in a bone with no displacement of the bone fragments. In addition, in order for a break to be considered a simple fracture there should only be two pieces of bone. That is, the bone should not be broken in more than one place. 

Simple Fractures Average Cost

From 270 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,000

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of Simple Fractures in Cats

A simple fracture occurs when there is no displacement of the broken bone. Although this is not as serious as breaks where there is displacement, multiple bone fragments, or bones protruding from through the skin, your cat will still experience significant symptoms including:

  • Inability to bear weight on the affected limb(s)
  • Lameness resulting in an abnormal gait 
  • Swelling near site of fracture
  • Pain response (cat may vocalize distress)
  • Rapid breathing and possibly shock

Lameness occurs because a broken bone cannot tolerate the normal compression (act of gravity on bone when bearing weight) and traction (pulling on bone from muscle attachment) required for normal movement and weight bearing.

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Causes of Simple Fractures in Cats

Most simple fractures in cats are caused by trauma such as

  • Falls
  • Abuse
  • Household accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents

In some instances, fractures can occur from minimal stress and normal use due to weakness from cancerous tumors present in the bone or a metabolic disorder that leaches calcium from bones.

Other factors that predispose a cat to fractured bones include:

  • Young cats with still developing bones
  • Old cats with brittle bones
  • Malnourished cats with weak bones
  • Obese cats with added stress on bones

Hairline fractures tend to occur near the middle of long bones where leverage applied has the most chance of causing injury due to the inherent structural weakness of long bones.

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Diagnosis of Simple Fractures in Cats

Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam to determine location of pain and swelling and the presence of lameness. They will also need a complete history including the cat's age and any medical conditions that may have contributed to simple fracture. Any unusual activities or incidents your pet may have been involved in should be communicated to your veterinarian if the incident causing the break is not known. 

Your vet will order x rays of the affected area. It may be necessary to sedate your pet in order to immobilize it and take accurate x rays. X-rays of both injured and uninjured sides of your cat may be taken for comparison.

Your veterinarian will examine the x rays for signs of simple fracture and to determine exact location, type and severity. Fractures can be complete, when the break goes all the way through the bone, or incomplete, which is when the bone is only fractured part way through. The severity and location of the fracture is important to diagnose as treatment depends on accurate understanding of the injury.

If history or symptoms are present that indicate cancer or metabolic disorder may be a contributing factors to the fracture, tests to determine their presence may be ordered.

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Treatment of Simple Fractures in Cats

Your veterinarian will administer pain killers or sedation and provide supportive care for your cat as required.

Most fractures are treated with casts or splints to immobilize the fracture. Modern splints tend to be made from fiberglass, but plaster, wood or metal may be used. If there is minimal displacement and the fracture is stable, it is possible that simple cage rest to minimize movement and allow the fracture to heal may be prescribed.

Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, surgery may be necessary and pins or screws inserted to join and stabilize the fractured bone. 

Prognosis for simple fracture in cats is good and most cats will recover with treatment.

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Recovery of Simple Fractures in Cats

Usually, cats with simple fractures are sent home after treatment. Your cat should be kept quiet and activity minimized. Painkillers and sedation may be used as prescribed by your vet.

If your cat’s fracture was treated with a cast or splint to immobilize the fracture you will need to ensure that the cast is kept clean and dry and possibly changed if needed. Also, it is important to check the cast for signs of swelling or chaffing that could indicate the cast is too tight or too loose. You should seek veterinarian care to rectify this, especially if swelling occurs, as lack of circulation can result in a serious condition. 

If surgery was needed to repair the fracture you will need to follow up with our veterinarian to have suture or staples removed. Also monitor your pet for signs of postoperative infection or complications.

Follow-up x-rays to ensure healing may be conducted when your cat has recovered. If appropriate, diet may need to be changed where malnourishment or metabolic disorder is present to ensure strong, healthy bones in your pet.

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Simple Fractures Average Cost

From 270 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,000

Average Cost

$750

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Simple Fractures Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Lily

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Cat

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I found a stray cat with injured hind leg, took her to vet who confirmed several tarsal bones were fractured. Since the injury was at least a couple of weeks old & the fracture had already started to heal, the vet didn’t feel that either surgery or splinting the leg was needed. She recommended that the cat be confined & x-ray the leg again in a month to see how it’s healing. My main concern is that when I run my hand down the cat’s leg, I can feel the end of one of the fractured bones. Will the bone rejoin as it heals or is it possible the cat will end up with a “nonfused” bone?

Sept. 4, 2018

Lily's Owner

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Spaghetti O

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tabby

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5 Months

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Arched Back
Loss Of Appetite
Tail Twitching
Severe Pain
Crying When Touched

Last night my cat got out he's around months old. When I tried calling him in he didn't come at first which wasn't normal a little later after the second attempt failed I walked out the front door and found him hunched up in the corner I picked him up and he screamed so I carried him threw the house sitting on my iPad. After putting him down I could really tell something was wrong he didn't want to move but he managed to jump on a 5 gallon bucket and barely made it to the chair. I tried looking at his back but before I could even touch the area he cried in pain he won't eat or drink water. And his tail keeps twitching he still has movement in this legs but it's causing major discomfort. I know taking him to the vet is the only way to find out what's wrong with him but that's not a option right now I'm flat broke. Is there anything I can give him for pain or anything I could do to relieve his pain from home. My kids are going to be devastated when they wake up 😭😭 is there any places that are free I can take him

Aug. 17, 2018

Spaghetti O's Owner

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2 Recommendations

Do not give any human over the counter anti inflammatories as they are toxic to cats (or may cause unnecessary bleeding in trauma cases), you should visit a Veterinarian regardless of cost and there are many low cost clinics and charity clinics open to people on low incomes but I don’t know which city or country you live in so I cannot advise anywhere specific. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 17, 2018

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Zed

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Maine Coo

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bone Recovery

Hello doctor! My cat had a hip surgery...it was broken due to an accident....my question is: How long will it take to heal and recover....My cat is a one year old male maine coon Thank you AHMAD

Aug. 7, 2018

Zed's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Without knowing what type of surgery Zed had, I don't have any way of knowing how long it will take for him to recover, unfortunately. That is a great question to ask his surgeon, as they know what was broken, how it was repaired, and what to expect. It is very reasonable for you to ask that question of your veterinarian so that you know what to expect.

Aug. 7, 2018

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Leo

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Maine Coon

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11 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Can’T Walk Or Stand Yet

My Leo had surgery two days ago (he has two broken legs and a fractured hip) he had surgery and had to have 2 small pins and one large pin put into his legs. He cannot stand yet and kind of drags himself around. What are his limitations after a surgery like this? Are there certain activities should limit him from? When should I expect him to stand and/or walk again? Also I can see the pin they put in and it looks like it’s uncomfortable and poking up under his skin. Is this normal?

July 30, 2018

Leo's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Leo and seeing the x-rays and exact positioning of the pins I cannot give you any specific information; however you should be restricting Leo’s movement by placing him in a cat carrier or crate so she doesn’t move around. There is no set time frame for standing and walking since I don’t know the specifics of the injury or if there are signs of spinal injury, deep pain sensation etc… Sometimes you can feel the end of a pin under the skin, but it shouldn’t protrude too much, bring it up with your Veterinarian at the follow up visit. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 30, 2018

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Tiger

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Cat

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12 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My cat had fight and his rear joint was attacked due to which swelling and abnormal gait was observed. Although the abcesess was removed he still limps and has swelling near the joint

July 22, 2018

Tiger's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Without examining Tiger I cannot determine whether the swelling is from the injury, removal of the abscess or another cause; if the swelling is still present and the gait is still affected you should return to your Veterinarian for an examination to determine if any further treatment is required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 23, 2018

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Sophia

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DOMESTIC

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

She Is Restricted To A Cage

My little furbaby had a major operation on her femur . They put in screws and stuff. I took her to have her stitches removed and the doctors tells us that the screws are off and she may need another operation next week. can I leave her to heal on her own?the doctor said if the op is not successful then we need to amputate the leg.

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Barnes

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balinese mix

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Depression, Does Not Jump

My cat Barnes broke his elbow and needed surgery and a metal plate with pins to repair. I had to crate him for 8 weeks. Was terrible but we had to. I would let him out at nights and he would still jump and try to be a normal cat. I brought him back for his 8 week follow up in October 2019, and the doctor said he healed fine, but may always have a little limp and may develop athritis later in life (he is 3). Since then he has not jumped on anything. He restricts himself to two rooms in the house, has only gone up and down stairs 4 times in the past 5 months. He doesnt greet me at the door, doesn't follow me around anymore and hides from my husband (who he was always skittish around). I asked the vet for a pain medication which we tried for three days and we give him a joint supplement. The anti inflammatory seemed to help him a little but i was told it is not a long term solution. I dont know if he is in pain every day or is depressed or a little of both. Has anybody had similar experiences? I am so sad he is not himself.

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Speck

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American Shorthaired Tortie

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8 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Swelling, Lameness

My 8 month old kitten got her toe stuck in a drawer and either dislocated or fractured her non weight baring toe. I took her to the vet and they said to just let it heal, that they didn’t really need to X-ray because we would be doing the same treatment. They didn’t cast but gave her antibiotics and a painkiller. They said to have her rest. It’s been a week, and I know it’s early, but it is still swollen and I am just worried that we didn’t get the X-ray, that it is going to mess her feet up. Is this normal or should I take her back to the vet? She is eating normally and acting normal, but won’t put much weight on that foot.

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Tae

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Domestic short

dog-age-icon

10 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Left Leg Bone Fracture

My cat felled 16 stories and broke his left foot. He is 9 months old now. He has been eating a splint for over a month but had to be replaced constantly since he kept taking it off. I took him back for x-rays and the doctor told he there was sign of healing but he had a completely displaced racial fracture. It had very difficult since he is very energetic and moves around a lot, I have been trying to restrict him and put him in a large size crate with his food, water and liter box. I can’t watch him all the time so he spends a lot of time by himself, I care home and found the splint off a couple of times. He will need to wear it for 4 more weeks which totally sucks.

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Lucifer

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Domestic longhair

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Left Femur Fx

My 2 yr old male cat Lucifer was injured at home, accidentally shut in bathroom door by someone not paying attention. He ended up having a broken left femur. DVM recommended a FHO surgery for repair. I followed all pre-OP instructions 100%. He had been crated since the injury approx 4 days prior to surgery. He goes in for surgery today, I get a call that he had been under for 10 mins when his heart stopped, staff had been performing CPR for over 10 minutes. Attempting to be realistic, I gave the OK to let my dear Luce pass away. I'm beating myself up wondering what I could've done differently. The vet and I discussed the possibility of him having a PTE, secondary to his traumatic injury. Has anyone else had this experience? I just need to know for my own sanity.....

Simple Fractures Average Cost

From 270 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,000

Average Cost

$750

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