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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19143
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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I think my cat has front left, dislocated shoulder. Can a

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I think my cat has front left, dislocated shoulder. Can a vet just pop it back into place? (after x-ray, of course), or would treatment be more complicated and specifics, please. 8-month old, male, non-neutered cat.

Welcome to Just Answer. While a shoulder can dislocate, it is actually a very, very rare injury. Usually there is something else going on such as a fracture or muscle / ligament injury. At this time a vet visit with x-rays will show what the case is and what therapy is needed.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I found him in my yard inside the fence (in my kitties' safe area). He would move even for food, so I knew something was bad wrong with this little piggy. We live in heavily populated neighborhood with many dogs and cats running around. This is MY cat and such a sweet baby. I had heard Tom cats howling outside a couple nights before I found my cat bitten and scraped in a few places (I've been online with you guys getting info for a couple days. I gave him antibiotics suggested, and he is now eating and drinking and I'm continuing meds for at least 5 more days. This all started about a weeks ago, I guess. I brought him in the house, of course, but even though he's better, he won't put that foot down. He's black, so hard to see things on him, but there is a 2-3" scrape on that leg, which I treated with peroxide, along with the other boo boo's. He sort of holds that leg up, but it's more like dangling, if that makes sense. I don't see a tooth mark on that leg, but it's entirely possible. I tried shaving the leg but it frightened him so, I feared he would have a heart attack. The way he does that leg seems to be a dislocated shoulder. Several days later, he's not touching it down at all, but he has jumped on a chair and slept and jumped down again on his own.??? If it is dislocated what would a vet do? Can it be popped back into place - this many days later? Or if it's broken further down on the leg, what would a vet do? Splint? Please advise as to my what if's. Thank you so much.

Again a dislocation is extremely unlikely. Fractures happen a thousands times more commonly. With the
At dangling, I'd be worried something is broke. A vet can take a x-ray and then know what is wrong and what can be done. Is it something that needs surgery or can a splint take care of it. Is it still possible to be a soft tissue injury?
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, it's still possilbe that it is a soft tissue injury. Again, what would be done in that case. My vet is a money-milker so I'd like to have a couple ideas before he rattles off into surgery.


Again, splint for broken bones, like with humans? What is done if it's a broken bone.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
He did not directly give me an answer to my question. It may be a what if....but that's what I'm asking.
If it is a fracture, it all depends on where it is and how bad it is. Some locations and fractures can be managed medically with splints. While other types of fractures and locations require surgery. It all depends on the specific fracture. If it is a sort tissue injury, these are manged with medical therapy which is time, wound management and antibiotics.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes-I took him to vet and it's radial nerve damage with partial paralization. He gave me pain med / Metacam. He's better, playing and getting around pretty well, but the vet said to give him the pain med 2 weeks and if that helps and he starts walking on the paw, then he will be in pain the rest of his life if we don't amputate the leg above the nerve damage. OMG! I can't afford surgery and don't want to put this baby thru that, you think he will be in pain forever? and if so, can he live on pain med forever? I don't want to put him down, but I can't have the surgery, and he seems pretty happy and healthy other than a little paralization in the front tip of his front leg. I don't know how he would do without the pain meds. What would you do in my situation? Do you agree that amputation is the only way? Please help me figure this out. I'm torn up over this. Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Dr. is not available right now, I guess.
Sorry I just now for on today. In a situation like this, I would say he's not in constant pain due to this. I wouldn't amputate the limb unless he started to have pressure sores or areas of tissue damage from it not being placed normally or overly groomed. I wouldn't continue the metacam long term as there is a very small chance or kidney issues due to it. There's no rush to do surgery at this time. Could the damaged radial nerve improve its function with time? That is a possibility to hope for.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Should I continue the Metacam for a little while? To see if the damaged nerve improves in time? How much time? Or should I stop the Metacam right now? I know this is different in each situation and each cat also, but just an educated guess or even speculation I would be grateful for. I hate to stop pain med until nerve damage has change to improve/heal? But if he is in danger after 2-3 weeks, I will stop. He is urinating and pooping and using his two litter boxes, changed twice daily - yes, he's so sweet, he's already getting spoiled. Thanks.
The Metacam won't help to improve the chances of the damaged nerve healing. It is purely a drug that manages her pain / inflammation. I'll be honest and say that there are many vets that use Metacam off label in cats and it can be used effectively. But, I have personally seen those very few cats that develop acute renal failure due to the medication. I don't want to scare you as it is a drug again that is used very often for similar situations, but owners must be aware. My feeling is to stop the Metacam if he's feeling comfortable. At this time, the radial nerve damage is like a person who has a spinal cord injury. Everything below the injury site is just numb. There is no sensation.
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