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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20852
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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Hi, how can you tell if a cat has a broken hind leg or sprained

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how can you tell if a cat has a broken hind leg or sprained leg? My cat and my dogs all walk together, but my cat sits in a plastic little tykes wagon and rides in it. well the wagon got caught on my dogs hind leg and caused the wagon to jerk hard and my cat either jumped out due to the hard jerk from getting caught on my dog's back foot or he jumped out to go with the flow kind of thing. Anyways, when he jumped out he was in front of the moving wagon and trying to get away but wagon kept rolling and the front wheels kept rolling into him and rolling or pushing into his back leg. It looked like it kept getting caught in the gap where the handle meets the wagon's body. He was hissing bad at me when i picked him up and moaning/growling mean for a bit. he still walks on it but has a little limp & doesn't like his hind quarters touched/manipulated right now. is it sprained or broken?

I'm so sorry to hear about this accident with the wagon, and your cat's hind leg. It would be difficult to tell if his leg is broken or just sprained, without a physical exam by the vet. In addition to a possible break/sprain of his leg, he could have a hairline fracture of his hip on that side.

Try to have your cat seen by the vet in person, as soon as possible, so you can get a definite diagnosis and then he can be treated. If he's prescribed some medication for pain, he will feel better while he heals. For the moment, don't manipulate anything, as you could make it worse, but he does sound very uncomfortable, so try to bring him to the vet, now. If your regular vet is closed at this time, have him assessed and treated at the nearest ER vet center.

I hope all will be well with your furry boy.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Will there be any swelling w/ a hairline fracture? I knew I should take him in to Evet but family think I just worry too much over him.
Hi again,

There could be swelling with a hairline fracture, but if it is of the hip, the internal injuries would not be visible.

Because he received a 'repeated' injury to this area of his leg/hip, due to the action of the wagon/handle, you are definitely not worrying too much over him. He does need medical care at this time, and if something is broken and heals wrong, he will have a permanent limp and also remember, he is in a lot of pain right now. Having him seen by a vet as soon as possible, is your best course of action and not that of a worrier, but that of a responsible pet parent, so do what you feel is best for your boy and tell your family that you are not worrying too much, you are doing the best thing for him. : )

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