can a cat sprain heal on its own

A Grade 1 leg sprain is considered mild and heals on its own. Grade 2 & 3 leg sprains take longer to heal and require veteran treatment. Cat sprained leg recovery time ranges from about two weeks. But if the cat roams outside and is not restricted at home, the recovery takes longer as this can worsen the injury.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Sprains and Strains in Cats

A physical exam is the best method for diagnosing your cat’s source of discomfort. Palpating the limbs and putting them through range of motion exercises, feeling the joints and evaluating your cat walk (videos taken at home are more helpful than watching your cat walk in the clinic!) is usually enough to localize the source of discomfort and pain.

To make sure that no fracture or dislocation is discovered, X-rays of the affected limb, joint taps (where a sample of joint fluid is obtained for evaluation), or referral for an ultrasound, MRI, and CT are typically advised. Remember that x-rays cannot identify a soft tissue injury on their own. Blood work is frequently advised, particularly if prescription drugs are to be taken, to ensure that the liver and kidneys are in good enough condition to metabolize the medications.

Diagnosis of Sprains in Cats

If a veterinarian observes the cat limping or not using the affected limb, they may suspect a sprain. They will perform a thorough physical examination on the cat, paying close attention to the injured limb, in order to confirm or rule out their tentative diagnosis. If they notice increased warmth and swelling around the affected limb, they might advise X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other injuries. An additional diagnostic technique could be a joint tap, in which joint fluid is removed from the joint and examined by a pathologist. The cat may undergo a joint tap so the vet can rule out any additional possible reasons for its pain and lameness.

Treatment of Sprains and Strains in Cats

NSAIDs (Onsior, meloxicam) or painkillers (gabapentin, tramadol, buprenorphine) are prescribed for the majority of sprains and strains in order to treat pain and discomfort. These medications also aid in accelerating the healing process by reducing inflammation.

During the healing process, your cat will benefit greatly from cage rest and restricted activity (usually achieved by keeping them in a room like a bathroom). This will help to ensure that your cat heals properly and doesn’t hurt themselves again. After being confined for a few weeks, they can be progressively brought back to activity and exercise. Make sure your outdoor cat stays inside while she recovers.

Like with humans, not all sprains require medical attention, so consult your veterinarian to figure out the best course of action for your cat. Since many human medications, including Tylenol, are toxic to cats, never give your cat medication without first getting permission. Alternatives to medication for treating sprains include physical therapy, acupuncture, and laser therapy. In rare and severe cases, surgery may be required.

FAQ

How long does a cat sprain take to heal?

It usually takes about one to 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.

How can I treat my cats sprained leg at home?

If your cat has swelling associated with a sprain, bruise, or tendonitis, apply ice packs to the area for 15 minutes, twice daily. Flowing water improves circulation, reduces swelling, and promotes healing. If your cat will tolerate it, place her in a tub and swirl water around the leg.

Should I take my cat to the vet for a sprain?

It’s best to bring your cat to your vet if they have a limp to avoid infection and to help keep their injury or other condition from getting worse.

What does a sprain look like on a cat?

Physical Signs Swelling or Bruising: Swelling or bruising can be a clear sign of a leg sprain. However, these signs might not always be visible due to the cat’s fur.