Plainly said, leg splints limit movement of the leg and help lessen pain. Splints give a cat owner a solid, temporary form of emergency first aid to use on the way to the veterinarian. The leg splint keeps the limb immobilised to avoid further injuries. Homemade leg splints may also help to keep pressure on a bleeding wound. Unless stabilised with a splint, a bleeding wound could kill a cat, or a hairline fracture could spread farther.
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Things you need
- Rolled cotton
- Medical tape
- Rolled bandage
- Splint material
Collect all the supplies. Injured cats normally have zero tolerance so you need to move quickly. If you do not have all the supplies you need, improvise. Duct and masking tape can take the place of medical tape; a torn T-shirt or washcloth could act as the cotton or bandage. Cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet paper rolls make excellent splint material. Newspapers, magazines and spoons also work well. Any firm material that does not have jagged edges or sharp points can work as splinting material.
Roll the cotton, washcloth or T-shirt around the limb and a secure it with a small amount of tape. Then, gently place the splint along each side of the injury. Tape around the splint material. Make it snug but not tight or falling off.
Check to see if you've put the materials on properly and the improvised splint is providing enough support. Make sure the splinting will hold throughout the ride to the veterinary clinic. Wrap the splinted limb in a final layer of soft material (a bandage or cloth) and secure it all with tape.
Tips and warnings
- If you have time, reduce the swelling of the injured area with an ice cube. If you're using the splint to stop bleeding from an open wound, use more cloth.
- Always use clean materials.
- Do not force the splint onto your cat.
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