Patellar luxation, or kneecap displacement, is a common orthopedic condition seen in cats. This occurs when the kneecap (patella) moves out of its normal position and can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty walking for affected felines.
While patellar luxation can occur in any cat breed, it’s much more common in smaller breeds like Devon Rex, Abyssinian, and Siamese cats. It’s also more commonly seen in younger cats, usually less than one year old.
The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, trauma or injury to their knee joint, and abnormal bone development. Symptoms of patellar luxation can include limping, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, and an abnormal gait or hopping motion.
Symptoms of Feline Patellar Luxation
Symptoms of Feline Patellar Luxation can vary from mild to severe, and can include:
- Limping or lameness
- Reluctance to move or jump
- Abnormal gait or hopping motion
- Pain when walking or standing
Some cats will also develop a bow-legged appearance due to the displacement of their kneecap.
Diagnosing Feline Patellar Luxation
Diagnosing patellar luxation in cats involves a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian, including manipulating their knee joint to check for abnormal movement of the patella. X-rays may also be taken to assess the severity of their condition and rule out any other underlying issues.
Stages of Feline Patellar Luxation
Feline patellar luxation is split into four stages based on the severity of the condition. These stages are:
The kneecap can be manually moved out of position but returns to its normal position when released.
The kneecap moves out of position spontaneously but returns to its normal position when the leg is straightened.
The kneecap is out of position most of the time but can be manually manipulated back into place.
The kneecap is permanently out of position and cannot be manually repositioned.
Treating Feline Patellar Luxation
Treatment options for feline patellar luxation depend on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, rest and anti-inflammatory medication could be enough to manage symptoms. In more severe cases, surgery might be necessary to reposition their kneecap and stabilize the joint.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation can also be recommended after surgery to help your cat regain their strength and mobility in the affected leg.
Early diagnosis and treatment of patellar luxation can help improve your cat’s quality of life and prevent further complications. If you suspect your cat is suffering from this condition, it’s important to get veterinary care as soon as possible.
Preventing Feline Patellar Luxation
While there is no surefire way to prevent feline patellar luxation, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce their risk of developing this condition. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Excess weight can put extra strain on your cat’s joints, increasing the likelihood of injury and orthopedic issues.
- Low-impact exercise: Activities such as swimming or gentle play can help keep your cat active and maintain muscle strength without putting too much stress on their joints.
- Regular veterinary check-ups: Routine exams can help catch any orthopedic issues early on and prevent them from becoming more severe.
- Avoiding high-impact activities: Jumping from high surfaces or participating in intense physical activity can put a strain on your cat’s joints and increase their risk of injury. Limiting these activities can help prevent patellar luxation and other orthopedic issues.
- Breeder selection: If you are considering getting a cat from a breeder, it’s important to choose one who screens their cats for genetic predisposition to orthopedic issues, including patellar luxation. Selective buying can help reduce the likelihood of your cat developing this condition.