If you have noticed that your favorite furry friend isn’t acting quite the same—whether it be a limp in their gait, a change in their eating habits, or they have exhibited a new set of behaviors, it’s likely something is wrong. While some cats may whimper and signal their discomfort, others are more adept at hiding pain.
Leg trauma in cats is more common than you might think—broken hips, leg breaks, and sprains can be caused by anything from household accidents to car accidents and everyday falls (like landing wrong after jumping off the bed or other high place). In the case of a broken hip, here are a few things to consider when seeking treatment for your cat.
Signs of Hip Issues in Cats
A dislocated hip or fractured bone can be very painful for a cat. If your cat is walking with a dislocated hip, long term it could result in osteoarthritis and leg lameness. These types of injuries are frequently seen in:
- Young, active cats not familiar with their limits
- Obese cats with added stress
- Malnourished cats
- Senior cats with brittle bones
Note: An increasing number of pure-breed cats in particular are being diagnosed with hip dysplasia (poor hip joint formation)—often leading to hip dislocation.
When observing your cat for signs of a hip injury, it’s important to note whether your cat is:
- Walking on their leg
- Whether the leg is swelling or has any redness
- Whether any areas of the leg have been excessively licked
- If the leg hangs at an awkward angle
If you see these signs, or they’ve been occurring for more than 24 hours, it’s an indicator that your cat needs to be taken to the veterinarian for further examination. It’s important to have the problem diagnosed as soon as possible to provide your cat with medication to alleviate the pain and/or surgery to reduce further injury.
What to Do When You Suspect Your Cat’s Hip Is Broken
Once you take your cat to your veterinarian’s office, you’ll find that treatment for your cat’s broken hip starts with an assessment. Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam and determine the location of the pain and swelling. They will likely order an X-ray of your cat to get an understanding of the injury type. A diagnostic X-ray will show the direction of dislocation, and whether a fracture of any part of the hip joint has occurred. If a fracture is present, it may be more difficult to repair the dislocation.
If your cat has injured their spine, hips, or pelvis, the treatment plan can be even more extensive, requiring full-body restriction.
Cost of Hip Injuries in Cats
Your veterinarian will explain your cat’s treatment plan and treat it according to the severity of the dislocated or broken hip. During the average lifespan of a pet, a cat parent can expect to spend between $9,106 and $13,391 for veterinary care and medicine. This type of expense is always better handled when proactively planned for—explore how Felix can cover up to 90% of your next vet bill—so you as the pet parent are left to make a therapeutic decision, rather than a financial decision.
Can a Cat Recover From a Broken Hip without Surgery?
While simple breaks can sometimes be set with a splint, most cats require surgery in order to fully repair disjointed or broken hips. If it is possible to cure a dislocation without surgery, your cat will most likely be prescribed pain relief medications for a short period. A break, on the other hand, might need a screw, surgical pins, or plates to keep the bone pieces in place as they heal. In more severe situations, cat broken hip treatment might necessitate amputation. Your veterinarian is the best guide for diagnosis and treatment of this injury.
Expected Healing Time
Usually, cats with simple fractures are sent home after treatment and fully recover within about six weeks of the surgery. Painkillers, antibiotics, and other medications may be prescribed to your cat, and it is essential to keep its delivery to keep your cat comfortable. Although it may be a challenge to get your cat to take their medication, there are a number of ways to overcome it, and failing to do so may lead to infection or other complications.
Most cats recover—especially when their activity is minimized with strict cage rest. While it may seem like they have recovered their spirit, it is important to prevent them from running and jumping. If you find that your cat’s broken hip recovery has taken longer than expected, they may require additional physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Finally, be sure you see your vet for additional follow-up care. Your veterinarian will take more X-rays to check the bone has healed properly.
Learn How To Stay One Step Ahead of Common Pet Accidents
Fractures, dislocation, and hip dysplasia are common problems affecting cats that may need intervention. If you notice any of the common signs listed above—from swelling to changes in their gait—seek a more in-depth examination. While some hip problems in cats cure themselves, for more serious fractures, the solution is surgical.
Fortunately, cat prescription medications, supplements, exams, and e cat broken hip emergency care don’t need to be an unplanned expense. With the right cat medical coverage, common pet accidents like broken hips and illnesses are covered alongside many other services.
If you find your cat isn’t acting quite the same, this may be a sign they need your attention. While the repair and recovery time depends on the nature of the problem, with the right help, at the right time, your cat will be back to their old self and on to their next adventure.