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Feline Facial Fractures: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

Maxillary and Mandibular Fractures in Cats

As responsible pet owners, we want nothing but the best for our furry friends. We make sure that they are well-fed, properly groomed, and receive the necessary medical attention.

However, there are times when accidents happen, and our cats end up with facial injuries, specifically fractures to their mandibles and maxillae.

Symptoms and Types

The most visible symptom of maxillary and mandibular fractures in cats is facial deformity. You may notice that your cat’s face looks lopsided or distorted.

Some cats may also experience oral or nasal bleeding, which can be frightening to witness. Additionally, your cat may have an inability to open or close their jaw, or there may be fractured teeth that are visible.


There are a few underlying factors that can cause maxillary and mandibular fractures in cats. Oral infections, such as periodontal disease, can compromise the integrity of the jawbones and lead to fractures.

Metabolic diseases, such as hyperparathyroidism, can weaken bones and make them more susceptible to fractures. Congenital or hereditary factors can also play a role, especially in breeds that are predisposed to certain bone disorders.


If you suspect that your cat has a maxillary or mandibular fracture, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. A thorough history will be taken to determine the cause and severity of the injury.

A physical examination will also be conducted, which may involve sedation to make your cat more comfortable. X-rays are the most effective way to diagnose maxillary and mandibular fractures in cats, and they will provide the veterinarian with a better understanding of the extent of the injury.


The treatment plan for your cat’s maxillary or mandibular fracture will depend on the severity of the injury. Surgery may be necessary to realign the broken bones and stabilize the fracture.

Painkillers and antibiotics will be prescribed to manage pain and prevent infection. Stabilizing the fracture is crucial, and wax may be used to help hold the jaw in place.

Oral irrigants may also be prescribed to keep the mouth clean and promote healing. It’s essential to follow the veterinarian’s instructions closely and bring your cat for postoperative evaluations as needed.

Surgical Repair Options

There are different surgical repair options available for cats with maxillary and mandibular fractures. Here are the three most common procedures:

Closed Reduction

Closed reduction is a non-invasive technique that involves realigning the bone without making any incisions. This procedure takes advantage of your cat’s natural healing process and can be done under sedation or general anesthesia.

The veterinarian will apply pressure to the broken bones to bring them back into their proper position. While closed reduction is a less invasive option, it may not be suitable for all types of fractures.

Open Reduction-Internal Fixation (ORIF)

Open reduction-internal fixation (ORIF) is a more invasive procedure and involves making an incision to expose the broken bone. This procedure uses screws, wires, or plates to keep the bone in place.

ORIF is a stronger fixation method and is often necessary for more severe fractures. However, it does require a longer recovery time, and there is an increased risk of infection.


Mandibulectomy or maxillectomy is considered a last resort when the other surgical repair options are not suitable. This procedure involves removing the affected jawbone, which can greatly impact a cat’s quality of life.

However, it may be necessary if the injury is severe and cannot be repaired using other methods.


Maxillary and mandibular fractures in cats are serious injuries that require prompt medical attention. Symptoms of these fractures include facial deformity, oral or nasal bleeding, inability to open or close the jaw, and fractured teeth.

The causes of these fractures can include oral infections, metabolic diseases, and congenital or hereditary factors. If you suspect that your cat has a maxillary or mandibular fracture, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Treatment may include surgery, painkillers, antibiotics, stabilizing the fracture, and oral irrigants. Surgical repair options include closed reduction, open reduction-internal fixation, and mandibulectomy/maxillectomy.

With proper medical care, most cats can make a full recovery from maxillary and mandibular fractures.

Pain Management

When a cat has suffered from an injury or undergone surgery, managing their pain is a crucial aspect of their recovery. Pain can not only cause distress to your cat, but it can also interfere with their healing process.

Proper pain management involves the use of medications, home remedies, and nutritional adjustments.


If your cat is experiencing pain, your veterinarian may prescribe prescription painkillers. It’s important to follow the dosages and timing instructions provided by your veterinarian closely.

Too much medication can cause adverse effects, while too little medication may not provide adequate pain relief. Good pain management involves finding the right balance and making adjustments as necessary.

Home Remedies

Providing a comfortable and stress-free environment is an essential part of pain management. Reducing stimuli and minimizing trauma risk can help your cat feel more at ease and allow them to focus on healing.

This includes supplying them with a cozy bed, minimizing loud noises, and providing a safe and comfortable space where they can relax. Additionally, your cat may benefit from alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture.

These therapies can help to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, which can lead to a reduction in pain. However, it’s important to discuss any alternative therapies with your veterinarian before beginning any treatment.


Proper nutrition is essential for a cat’s overall health, but it’s especially important when they are recovering from an injury or surgery. Soft food is often recommended for cats recovering from maxillary and mandibular fractures, as it is less likely to cause pain when chewing.

This type of food is also easier to eat, which encourages your cat to eat more. Additionally, it’s essential to monitor your cat’s weight and fluid intake.

If your cat is experiencing any pain or discomfort, they may be less likely to eat or drink. Regular weighing and monitoring of their fluid intake can ensure that your cat maintains their nutritional needs, which will aid in their recovery.

Postoperative Care

After a cat has undergone surgery, proper postoperative care is critical to their recovery. The following are essential components of postoperative care:

Follow-up Visits

Your veterinarian will likely schedule follow-up visits after the surgery to monitor the healing process. X-rays may be taken to ensure that the bones are properly healing, and preventative measures will be taken to minimize the risk of refracture.

Environmental Modifications

Modifying your cat’s environment to reduce the risk of further injury is another essential aspect of postoperative care. This includes creating a quiet and noise-free environment, avoiding contact with other pets, and providing a safe and comfortable space for your cat to rest.

Dietary Adjustments

Your cat’s diet may need to be adjusted post-surgery. Soft food may be recommended for a period of time, and it’s essential to monitor your cat’s weight and fluid intake to ensure that they are receiving the necessary nutrients.

It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely when it comes to postoperative care. Failure to do so can cause setbacks in your cat’s recovery and increase the likelihood of complications.


Proper pain management and postoperative care are critical components in ensuring a cat’s successful recovery from maxillary and mandibular fractures.

Medications, home remedies, and nutritional adjustments can help to manage pain and promote healing.

Follow-up visits, environmental modifications, and dietary adjustments can help to minimize the risk of complications and aid in your cat’s recovery. As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to understand the importance of pain management and postoperative care and to adhere to your veterinarian’s instructions closely.

Maxillary and mandibular fractures in cats can be serious injuries that require proper medical attention and postoperative care to ensure a successful recovery. Pain management is critical in promoting healing and involves the use of medications, home remedies, and nutritional adjustments.

Postoperative care should include follow-up visits, environmental modifications, and dietary adjustments to minimize the risk of complications. It is important for pet owners to understand the significance of pain management and postoperative care and to work closely with their veterinarian to ensure their cat’s optimal recovery.

Remember to follow all instructions closely and to keep your cat’s best interests at heart during this time.

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