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In the present retrospective study, feline HRS was analyzed in 1125 patients presented in the years 2004 to 2013 at the Small Animal Clinic of Freie Universität Berlin.
Signalment: 82 % of the animals were European Shorthair cats, 3.7 % were crossbreeds and 0.1 % rare breed animals. The patients were, on average, 2.3 years old, 27.3 % were younger and 72.7 % older than one year. 54.1 % of the animals were male and 45.9 % female. 62.9 % of the males were neutered and 21.9 % of the females were spayed. The body weight of all animals averaged 4.1 kg. Course of the accident: time of the year/time of the day: 77 % of the animals fell during the warmer/warm season, i.e. from April to September and 23 % in the colder/cold season, i.e. from October to April. 62 % of the animals fell at night and 38 % fell during the day. Height of fall: 47 % of the cats in the study fell from high-ceilinged, pre-World War II buildings and 53 % from low-ceilinged, post-war buildings. Most of the falls were from the fourth (31 %), third (29 %), second (18 %) and fifth (11 %) floors. This corresponded to 12 m (31 %), 16 m (26 %), 8 m (22 %), 5 m (12 %) and more than 20 m (10 %). After such falls, cats suffer from a variety of characteristic injuries including chest trauma, orofacial lesions, abdominal trauma and fractures in combination with other lesions. The cats in the study suffered circulatory shock (48.6 %), craniocerebral injury (2.8 %), one or more chest traumas (58.3 %), one or more orofacial lesions (51.1 %) and blunt abdominal trauma (14.6 %). The musculoskeletal system was injured by the falls in 1040 patients, which included one or more fracture(s) of limb(s) (47.2 %) and of the pelvis (11.1 %), luxation of limb(s) (12.1 %) and ligament rupture(s) (1.5 %), soft tissue injuries of the limbs (8.2 %) and vertebral fracture(s) and/or vertebral luxation(s) (4.8 %). 3.7 % of the cats recovered from the fall uninjured, 25.2 % had minor, 25.1 % moderate, 20.2 % severe, non-life-threatening and 25.9 % severe, life-threatening injuries. 87 % of the cats survived. 71% of those were moderately to severely injured. 150 (13.3 %, N = 1125) of the patients eventually died in the clinic due to multiple traumas (n = 55; 36.6 %), or were euthanized at the request of their owners because of multiple traumas and a poor prognosis (n = 79; 52.6 %) or anticipated high treatment costs (n = 16; 10.6 %). A significant correlation was determined between the severity of the injury, the consistency of the impact surface and the height of fall. Cats that had fallen on a hard surface were more seriously injured. They were also more seriously hurt if they fell from greater heights. Slightly injured cats are usually polytraumatized with mouth bleeds, carpal ligament lesions and/or metacarpal fractures, mandibular fractures or epistaxis, hard palate fractures and dental trauma and one or more facial abrasions. Seriously injured cats present with pulmonary contusion, shock and pneumothorax in addition to the miscellaneous lesions from the slightly injured category. The following injuries: shock, craniocerebral injury, pulmonary contusion, pneumothorax, haemothorax, pneumomediastinum, subcutaneous emphysema, mandibular fractures, rupture of the urinary bladder, spinal trauma, radial/ulnar fractures, carpal and metacarpal fractures, pelvic fractures and tibial/fibular fractures are significantly more likely to be diagnosed in direct proportion to the height of the fall.