Cats can suffer from a condition called carpal hyperextension, as can other animals such as dogs. In this type of injury damage has been incurred to the tendons of the wrist than normally hold it in place and allow the cat to retain its upright posture. There are several symptoms including lameness, the ankle swelling, and the cat walking awkwardly. Surgery may be the only option to repair the damage. During recovery painkillers may be required by the cat for some time.
Carpal hyperextension can appear in cats as a result of many different accidents that can befall it during its activities. It is particularly common as the result of falling from some significant height. This may involve falling out of a window or off a high fence, for example. But there are other routes to sustaining such injury, such as stumbling on uneven ground. The injury takes the form of damage to the ligaments at the rear of the carpal joint. Any type of cat of any sex, age, or breed is a potential victim of such an injury.
After being injured in this way a number of symptoms will become apparent in the cat. They will show signs of lameness. The joint that has been damaged will also swell up. They will also start to walk in an awkward way because the joint can no longer sustain a normal amount of weight on it. Because the damage is likely to be on one side there will also be instability in the motion as well.
There is no drug cure for this kind of condition. So treatment for it involves surgery to repair the damage. This could involve removing some cartilage and allowing bone to fuse, possibly with the aid of pins or screws. This will be kind of painful for the cat whilst it is in place so painkillers could be needed, as could anti-inflammatory medication.
Home-care may be another aspect of treatment. This could involve making sure that bandages and casts stay in place and stay clean and dry. It is could also involve making sure that the cat gets the appropriate rest, in the first instance, and then later on the appropriate exercise. There are also aspects of prevention to consider as well. Clearly it is rather difficult to prevent a cat from taking the kind of risks that may lead to this kind of injury but closing second floor windows could help, especially in a new house.