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What is Soft Tissue Trauma?

Bruises are a contusion with bleeding of the soft tissue and are usually caused by blunt trauma but can be secondary to a strain or sprain. A strain, also known as a pulled or torn muscle depending on the severity, occurs when the muscle fibres are stretched or torn because they are strained beyond their capacity. A sprain is a strained ligament and can range from being a moderate to a severe injury. Tendons can also experience soft tissue trauma from tendonitis, an inflammation of tendons usually caused by repetitive strain. Although repetitive strain injuries are not particularly common in cats, muscle pulls and sprains are as cats are prone to soft tissue injury from falls and accidents. It is important to clarify that soft tissue injury does not include broken bones or arthritis. 

Soft tissue trauma in cats involves injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround the cat's bones and joints. The functions of these soft tissues help us to understand how injury to these tissues affects your cat. Muscles provide posture and motion, tendons connect muscles to bones, and ligaments attach bones to other bones. Injuries that affect the functioning of these tissues include bruises, sprains, strains, and tears.

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Soft Tissue Trauma Average Cost

From 259 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats

Symptoms of soft tissue injury include:

  • Bruising/hematoma (bleeding under the skin from burst capillaries)
  • Limping or lameness
  • Inflammation/swelling
  • Refusal or inability to bear weight
  • Inability to move joint (severe sprains)
  • Stiffness
  • Rapid breathing or other signs of stress
  • Paint/tenderness in affected area
  • Vocalization
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in personality
  • Excessive licking of affected area
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Causes of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats

Soft tissue trauma is common in young active animals and kittens who are not aware of their limits and may attempt jumps that result in falls. Roughhousing or play with other animals can result in injury, as being underfoot can result in injuries.

The following can cause crushing, bruising, stretching, tearing or rupture to soft tissues in your cat. 

  • Obese animals - weight results in increased stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments

  • Car accidents
  • Falls
  • Abuse
  • Fights - animal attacks

  • Household accidents
  • Strain from over exercise or exertion
  • Repetitive strain (not common in cats)
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Diagnosis of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats

Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination of your cat to determine the location and extent of the soft tissue injury. Your veterinarian will ask you about any trauma or incidents your cat has been involved in that may have caused the injury. Usually an X ray to rule out fracture will be ordered. In older animals, your veterinarian will also want to rule out arthritis as a cause of your pet’s symptoms. In the absence of a fracture or arthritis, a diagnosis of soft tissue injury will most likely be made. On occasion, ultrasound or MRI can be used to support soft tissue trauma diagnosis and provide additional information.

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Treatment of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats

Your veterinarian will provide supportive care as necessary which may include anti inflammatories to reduce swelling and medication for pain. In addition, sedation to quiet a distressed cat with a severe soft tissue injury may be necessary to cam the cat and prevent aggravation of the injury.

Severe sprains involving ligaments or injury to tendons may require splinting. A tear to a ligament may require surgery to repair if severe. 

The treatment your veterinarian will prescribe for most soft tissue injury is rest. Depending on the location and cooperativeness of your pet, ice packs may help decrease swelling and bruising. Bandaging may be effective in providing compression and support to a strained or sprained soft tissue injury. 

Most soft tissue injuries resolve themselves with time and prognosis is good. Your veterinarian may suggest physiotherapy in certain situations if needed to regain function.

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Recovery of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats

In order for healing of soft tissue trauma to occur, you should ensure your cat rests and restrict activity. If necessary, you may need to restrict your pet to cage rest to ensure this. Your cat should avoid playing, cat trees, stairs, outdoor activity and access to other animals that could cause your cat to re-injure themselves. It usually takes about two weeks for your cat to recover from a soft tissue injury, but you should restrict activity until several days after limping is gone. A sudden increase in inactivity can lead to relapse. Return to your veterinarian for follow up if the injury does not resolve. If limping ceases, no follow up is necessary.

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Soft Tissue Trauma Average Cost

From 259 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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Soft Tissue Trauma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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feline

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Five Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

I haven't seen her pee in days but has pooped alot and it's really light and runny I can't hardly get her to drink any water and her belly between her back legs is swelling really bad and all the way down her left leg and feels like a bag of jello that just keeps getting bigger and bigger by the day

Oct. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to see her, unfortunately, I'm not sure why she is having this problem, but t would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 22, 2020

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I don't know

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Twelve Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Possible Broken Arm

NA

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them and see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 12, 2020

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Soft Tissue Trauma Average Cost

From 259 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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