A broken leg is a frightening diagnosis for any pet owner and the earlier you can get them medical care, the better. One should be cognizant to look out for limping, not walking altogether or not putting weight on one leg, in particular, crying or howling especially when touched, loss of appetite, and swelling at the injury site.
If you notice any of these symptoms you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will first make sure to stabilize your animal, and then, treatment options can be explored which depend largely on the extent and type of injury incurred.
So, how much does cat broken leg surgery cost and what about the aftercare?
Costs of Treating a Cat’s Broken Leg
- Veterinary Examinations
The initial appointment will cost between $50 and $150 and will include everything needed to stabilize the animal; including intravenous fluids and pain relief medication. If the injury is not something the vet can assess with just an examination, which is usually the case, then x-rays will need to be taken.
Depending on the number of x-rays needed, and of course the clinic, this will run the pet owner around $80 to $160. From here, the prognosis will be developed.
Please keep in mind that a broken bone can take between 4 and 6 weeks to fully heal.
If your cat’s injury is a result of an accident that also resulted in bleeding, additional costs would be incurred for wound cleaning and bandages.
- Non-Surgical Treatment
There are different categories of fractures which will determine the prognosis and cost.
A hairline fracture where the bone is not completely broken or a closed fracture where the bone doesn’t penetrate the skin can often be treated non-surgically.
For this, a splint is the most common treatment route. A splint is a semi-rigid rod that is secured alongside the broken bone, such that it can be held together and allowed to heal.
In other cases, a cast may be required, wherein adhesive-soaked bandages are wrapped around the leg in layers before a final layer of padding is applied. The cost of casts can add up quickly, especially if sedation is needed, although the cost is much less than surgical interventions.
Depending on the severity and location of the injury, and where you’re located, of course, a splint/cast may cost around $200 to $400. Bandages also need to be changed every week or so, so that they don’t soil and cause infections.
These repeat visits would only cost around $30 to $50, as the majority of the cast remains on the animal. Otherwise, limited activity or more commonly cage rest would be recommended by the vet for the time that the splint/cast is on your animal’s leg.
Overnight hospital stays would not be expected in these cases. After a few weeks, a repeat x-ray is commonly advised, simply to monitor that the leg is healing correctly – with the cost again being around $100.
Finally, in 4-6 weeks, of course, with advisement from the treating doctor, the splint or cast can be removed and another x-ray would be taken if needed to confirm that the bone has fully healed.
Overall, for a non-surgically treated bone fracture, an owner may expect to pay anywhere in the ballpark of $500 to $800, including recheck appointments and pain medications. If sedation is required, such as a wiggley kitten with a difficult to cast fracture, the cost will increase by around $200.
- Surgical Treatment
For a compound fracture where the bone penetrates the skin, surgery is usually needed. This is because not only the bone is damaged but it extends to various muscles and tendons around it as well.
A compound fracture or other complex injury requiring surgical intervention will, unfortunately, be more expensive than non-surgical treatment. Depending on the severity of the injury, the cat may also require overnight observation following orthopedic surgery.
The cost of the cat’s broken leg surgical treatment itself varies widely based on the specifics of the situation but can be between $1,500 and $4,000. The cat should still be restricted in activity or even better cage rests when allowed home and will also need to be seen after around 2 weeks so that the doctor can take the sutures out.
This is often included in the cost of the procedure. Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs may also be prescribed, which can run around $30 to $100 depending on the types and dosages.
For cats that were involved in road and other freak accidents, they may likely need admission to the vet clinic prior to the surgery. Hospitalization is typically charged at around $50 per night.
If the cat’s condition is severe and intensive nursing and monitoring take place during its stay, the charge could be about $150 per night.
- Post-surgery containment
Most vets will recommend that you keep your cat isolated either in a small room or preferably in a cage. The idea is to prevent the cat from jumping or climbing that could destabilize the fracture while it is healing.
Ideally, you should keep your cat in a wire crate with a comfortable bed and a litter tray for the first few weeks of its recovery. These items will cost around:
- Crate – $30
- Cat bed – $14
- Litter tray – $22
Some vet clinics will lend their clients wire crates free of charge, so it’s worth asking about this before your cat comes home.
When your cat’s fracture has recovered, it may require several physiotherapy sessions to restore the full movement in its limb, especially if a joint is affected. Physiotherapy prices vary, but you can expect to pay around $75 for an initial consultation and $55 for follow-ups.