Broken Pelvis in Cats-Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

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About   Symptoms   Diagnosis   Treatment   Long term prognosis

Broken pelvis in cats

About

The pelvis is a ring-like structure of bones located at the lower end of the trunk. It consists of two halves, each one containing three bones, the ilium, ischium, and pubis.

A broken pelvis is the second most common bone breakage to occur in cats. They are typically the result of significant trauma such as an automobile accident or fall from a height. Internal injuries are common in cats with a broken pelvis, which may affect the urinary tract, thorax or nerve damage.

Symptoms

If you suspect your cat has been hit by a car, take your cat to a veterinarian immediately.  Common symptoms of a broken pelvis include:

  • Your cat may or may not be able to walk (our cat was able to run away despite a fractured pelvis and severe pain)
  • Torn and ripped claws (if hit by a car)
  • External wounds and abrasions
  • Urinary dysfunction

Diagnosis

Take extreme care with a cat who has a suspected broken pelvis. Keep the cat as still as possible to prevent further damage.

The veterinarian will carefully examine the cat and obtain a history from you. It may be possible to feel the break during the physical examination; an x-ray can confirm the diagnosis.

He may also wish to perform chest x-rays to check for internal injuries.

Treatment

It may be necessary to stabilise the cat and treat soft tissue injuries first.

Treatment of a broken pelvis depends on the severity of the injury.

Conservative management:

A minor break may be left to heal itself with cage rest and analgesics to manage pain.

Cage rest to minimise movement (we used a dog crate). The cat’s food and water bowls, as well as a comfortable bed and litter tray, will be placed in the cage with the cat. Urinary management until the cat can urinate without assistance. The veterinarian may provide you with physiotherapy exercises to perform on the cat during recovery.

Cats can typically stand on their own within one week.

Medical management:

Major breaks will require surgery under general anesthesia to re-align and stabilise the affected bones. This may include pins, plates, screws or wires.

Once the cat can urinate and defecate on his or her own, they can go home. Our cat was released from the hospital one week after his accident and then placed on cage rest for a further six weeks.

Complications

The pelvis can lead to suboptimal pelvic dimensions in cats treated conservatively, which may cause constipation or dystocia (difficulty giving birth) in affected cats. Arthritis may develop in later years.

Bone infection and nerve damage can occur in cats who have had surgery; however, these are uncommon.

Home care

Regardless of the outcome, your cat will most likely need to be on cage rest for six weeks to allow the pelvis to heal and the bones to fuse. This also has the benefit of preventing your cat from moving around and especially jumping up and down. A large dog crate is perfect for this as it can accommodate the litter tray, food and water bowls and a cat bed.

Make sure you have a low-sided litter tray as moving around may be difficult in the early days. We used the lid from a cardboard box and cut out one side, lined it with a litter tray liner and filled it with litter.

It is vital to keep a close eye on your cat’s toileting habits while he is recovering and ensure he is having frequent bowel movements and urinating. Seek immediate veterinary care if he stops going to the toilet.

Most cats will tolerate cage rest without incident.

Long-term outcome

The outcome for cats with a broken pelvis is generally excellent. Long-term problems may include persistent lameness and arthritis of the hip joint in later years. Our cat has made an almost full recovery, he is a little wobbly at the back end, but it doesn’t appear to have affected him a great deal.

If the injured cat is an entire female, it may be in her best interests to have her spayed as pelvic fractures can lead to a narrowing of the birth canal.

10 COMMENTS

  1. My kitten had a terrible fall and now he can’t walk he just draggs his bacc half it happened just sum days ago but im concerned about how to handle him so he can use it its been about 2 days since he it has happend and im worried if he is gonna be able to walk again he tries to get up on his own at times but i worried about the outcome becuse i cant afford surgery fro my baby

  2. Hi,
    My cat has a broken pelvis and I cannot afford surgery. The estimate ranged from 6000 to 8000. Initially crate rest was not recommended but once I said I wouldn’t be able to afford it they said I could crate rest him but he will likely never walk normal but will be able to function. I’m curious you said your cat was able to heal properly but how bad was the fracture? My cat is dragging his back legs and the x-rays are similar to the picture except on the left side it’s broken into two pieces. I’m wondering if you have any advice? Thank you.

    • The image in this article is my own cat’s pelvis. We were quoted thousands to fix it also (with a specialist), and we couldn’t afford it. So the vet performed surgery (as best as he could) and we paid around $800 for it.

      Levi was able to move with his broken pelvis. He ran and hid when the accident occurred. There was no dragging of the legs.

      It does sound like your cat’s injury is more severe. I really hope something can be done to help.

      • Hello Julia
        My little brother found a kitty in a garbage in Albania and brought him at home.In my apartment we have also another cat.The kitty is around 2 months.He felt from the balcon and broke pelvis.I send to the surgery here in Albania and the doctor told us that he broke the pelvis.I left him for 3 days in the hospital and the doctor told us to take for 2-4 weeks in a closed place do not move.I am afraid we cannot make the we could not undergo surgical interventions in Albania.Doctor told us that the kitty gone be ok because is small.

        Could you please told us any advice for him

        Thank you in advance

  3. My cat has had a pelvic break in 2 parts. The dr said he will be recovered in 30 40 days. I didnt keep him in cage because he was acting very aggressively. So he stayed with me in my room but I let him in a cage at nights. After 40 days, acoording tp the x ray image, his dr said he is healed 40 50 percent. So I had to keep him in a cage in the basement so he wouldnt see me to meow and complain. When I take him out in the yard to take a walk (on leash) he resists to go in the box when I wanna take him back. Im desperate I dont know what to do. He is so tired of being indoors and now in cage. Do u have any guidance to give me as someone who experienced such a situation before? Do u think he ll be fully recovered after 30 days in a cage? Should I take him for the walk or not? Plz help me. Im looking forward to ur amswer.

  4. My 5 yr old kitty was hiding under a blanket when I stepped on her hips and heard a crack. She was still very mobile and I was unable to afford any vet work. It has been 4 years since and she is still quite happy just sensitive in her hind end and less able to jump onto the furniture. I still feel horrible about it and wonder if I can do anything for her. She seems happy for the most part.

  5. My mother slammed my sisters door and the kitten was in the way, we don’t have the money to be able to go to the vet and I’m pretty sure her pelvis is damaged, it isn’t very old and relatively small (maybe about a month old?), I wanted to know if there’s a way that I can help and take care of it, I have it cafe resting but I don’t know what the injuries are, my cat had a broken pelvis before and she’s acting the same way my cat did, is there anything you can do to help me aid this kitten?

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