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Fracture of the Maxilla in Cats

By: Dr. David Diamond

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After discharge from the hospital, the cat must be restricted from activity for several weeks to allow the fracture time to properly heal. The duration will vary depending on the severity of the injury and any concurrent injuries the animal may have. Restricted activity means that the cat should be kept confined to a carrier, crate, or small room whenever he cannot be supervised. Play and rough-housing should be avoided, even if the cat appears to be feeling well. It is especially important that cats with maxillary fractures not be allowed to chew on toys or other objects and be fed only soft food or blenderized gruel.

Fractures that are repaired with internal fixation (wires or bone plates and screws) will have a skin incision on the face that needs to be monitored daily for signs of excessive swelling or discharge. These can indicate problems with the incision or possibly infection.

Analgesics (pain medications) or anti-inflammatory medication should be given as directed by the veterinarian. Analgesics, such as butorphanol (Torbugesic®) can cause sedation, and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin can cause stomach upset. Your veterinarian should be informed if any adverse side effects do occur.

If at any point prior to the follow-up evaluation the cat stops eating after some improvement following surgery, or if a bad odor begins coming from the mouth, there could be a problem.

Several weeks after surgery a follow-up appointment will be needed. The skull occasionally may need to be X-rayed again to make sure the bone is healing properly. If healing has occurred as expected wires placed around the teeth will be removed and the animal's activity level and diet will be allowed to return to normal.

In general, any other implants that were used in the repair under the skin will be left in place unless they cause a problem at some point in the future. Potential problems can include migration (movement) or infection of the implants.

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