Treating a Cat Skull Fracture

A cat skull fracture is usually a result of the feline coming in contact with an automobile or not always landing on his feet. Any bone in a cat skeleton can be broken.

Symptoms of a Skull Fracture in Cats

Symptoms of a skull injury in a cat are dependent upon the area of the skull that was fractured. For example, a cat that has as a fracture to the area of the nose or jaw may have a hard time breathing or eating. Neurological disorders can follow a fracture to the part of the skull that protects the cat's brain, which can be minor or very severe. A fracture to the area of the cheek bone can cause problems with the cat's eyes.

Common signs a pet owner will see when a cat has a skull fracture include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Head tilting
  • Coma
  • Blindness
  • Changes in the cat's behavior

Diagnosing Cat Skull Fractures

A veterinarian may be able to tell a cat has a fracture to the skull by doing a physical examination. He may also perform neurological exams to see how bad the injury is, a CT scan to see if surgery may be needed, or an x-ray of the skull to determine if the cat is stable enough to undergo anesthesia.

Treating a Cat Skull Fracture

Cat first aid may need to be performed if there is a lot of blood loss from the injury that caused the skull fracture. The pet should be taken to a cat emergency room or emergency veterinary hospital, especially if the cat suffered other injuries.

If the jaw area of a cat's skull was fractured, the jaw may need to be immobilized with wires or a muzzle. Depending on the extent of injury, a cat may have to undergo surgery so his teeth can be realigned or his airway corrected.

Damage to a cat's cheekbone may need to be corrected with surgical procedures to stabilize it with pins or wires. The cheekbone may need to be replaced with a bone plate.

Most skull fractures do not require surgical correction. Surgery in this situation is typically only done to correct impairments to a cat's sight, breathing or eating, and if a cat's neurological symptoms worsen.

A veterinarian may prescribe pain medication to a cat while he is recovering from the injury.

Home Aftercare Treatment

A cat may take several months to fully recover from a skull fracture, especially if there are many neurological problems as a result of the injury.

He may need to be fed soft foods, have his activity restricted while recovering and he may need help grooming. Cats in recovery can develop bed sores if their resting position is not changed and they are not kept clean.

To help prevent a skull fracture, consider having an inside-only cat, or modifying the home so there are no high perches from which your cat can jump or fall.