Feline fractures: be wary of them

25

Cats are susceptible to fractures. A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. Fractures can occur in the leg, skull, jaw, spine, ribs, pelvis and digits (fi ngers) as well as the long bones and small bones of the front and back limbs.

Commonly seen fractures in cats…

Cats are susceptible to fractures. A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. Fractures can occur in the leg, skull, jaw, spine, ribs, pelvis and digits (fi ngers) as well as the long bones and small bones of the front and back limbs. Commonly seen fractures in cats… There are four commonly seen fractures in the cat: closed, compound, epiphyseal (growth plate), and greenstick (hairline).

Closed fractures: Closed fractures are those in which the skin is not broken.

Compound fractures: Compound fractures are breaks in which the broken bone protrudes through the skin, and is exposed to the outside.

Epiphyseal: There are soft areas near the ends of each long bone where growth takes place. These soft areas are referred to as growth plates or epiphyseal plates. These growth plates are prone to fracture because they are the weakest part of the bone. The distal ends of the femur (thigh bone) and humerus (upper front leg) seem to be particularly susceptible to this fracture.

Greenstick: Greenstick fractures are small cracks within the bone which leave the bone basically intact, but cracked.

Symptoms and risks…

The symptoms and risks depend on what area and to what extent the bone is fractured. All fractures are serious and should be treated at once. When a bone within a leg is broken, the cat will usually hold the entire leg off the ground. No weight is placed on the paw. With a sprain or lesser injury, it may use the leg somewhat, but walk with a limp. Fractures involving a joint are most serious. A broken back may displace the spinal cord and cause complete paralysis.

Watch out for…

If your pet has had surgery performed, pay attention to the wound, looking for excessive redness, swelling or discharge. Be sure to take the cat to your veterinarian immediately, if any of these conditions occur. Follow your veterinarian’s directions for follow up examinations.

(Sudhersena, a volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, has 9 cats and 3 dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes. For further information, contact: Blue Cross of India, 72Velachery Road, Chennai-32 or e-mail at bci@bluecross.org.in