Luxating Patella in Cats

by catfood

The stability and effectiveness of the knee joint are compromised by an orthopedic condition known as luxating patella. This typical knee injury has affected people, dogs, and cats.


Why Does the Patella Luxate in Cats?

A luxating patella is the result of the kneecap being out of position. The patella is the name for the kneecap. The term “luxation” describes an object that is misaligned or dislocated.

The knee is a complex joint that connects the upper tibia to the lower femur (thigh bone) using muscles, tendons, and ligaments (shin bone). The patella, often known as the kneecap, is a small bone that can be found in the trochlear groove of the femur underneath the patellar ligament. When the knee is flexed and bent, the patella slides up and down in the trochlear groove.

If the kneecap is not functioning properly, it may pop in and out of the groove. Bending and flexing the knee joint hurts when the kneecap is out of place. It is now unpleasant and difficult for the cat to move around, run, and jump.


After feeling the knee joint and checking out any other probable causes of the anomaly, a veterinarian will diagnose patellar luxation. The vet may discover a luxating patella in one or both knees. The luxation is medial and frequently belocates toward the interior of the knee. Another possibility is that the luxation is lateral, in which case it likely displaced to the outside of the knee.

The diagnosis of a luxating patella will fall into one of four categories depending on how severe the dislocation is.

  • Grade I: The kneecap may pop out of the groove when the vet applies pressure, but it will go back in when the pressure is released.
  • Grade II: The kneecap automatically protrudes and retracts at erratic intervals. Until the leg is straightened out and turned in the appropriate direction, the kneecap won’t go back into its groove.
  • Grade III: The vet can manually realign the kneecap, which is frequently out of the groove.
  • Grade IV: The veterinarian is unable to rectify the kneecap’s chronic misalignment.

If both knees are injured, the condition’s severity may differ depending on the side.

Causes of Cats’ Luxating Patella

Patellar luxation can occur when the trochlear groove is insufficiently deep to keep the kneecap in place. It can also be brought on by injuries to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Sometimes an anatomical flaw, such as bow legs, causes it.

What specifically causes the circumstances that lead to patellar luxation is unknown. Because certain cats may be genetically predisposed to the disorder, it is best to never breed cats with the condition. Breeds including the Burmese, Abyssinian, and Devon Rex can be more prone to developing a luxating patella.


Symptoms of a Luxating Patella in Cats

Sporadically hobbling or growing lame in the hind limbs, chewing or licking one or both knees, and making popping or clicking noises when manipulating the affected knee (s)

Cats who have patellar luxation may experience sporadic symptoms. As long as the kneecap is in the proper position, the cat may often run, jump, and walk. When the kneecap is out of place, the cat will experience abrupt pain and limited range of motion in the affected knee.

Cats with low-grade patella luxation may not show any symptoms. Your veterinarian may discover something during a routine health check and advise you to keep an eye on it.


You should visit the vet right away if your cat is limping. Your cat will first be examined by the vet, who will also review its medical history. Radiographs (X-rays) may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other issues.

Initially, cats with luxating patellas are often managed with caution. You will need to limit the amount of running and leaping your pet is allowed to do because your veterinarian could advise against excessive activity. Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may also be advised for a short while.


If the patellar luxation is not severe, your cat will rarely experience pain (particularly Grade I). In mild to moderate cases (Grade II), where the kneecap occasionally pops out of its groove, you might experience sporadic discomfort. In minor circumstances, the cat ought should be able to lead a reasonably typical existence. The occasional need for rest and medication may be necessary if the knee issues return.

Surgery can be necessary if non-operative treatment fails and your cat is regularly uncomfortable and immobilized. This is typically true in cases of Grade III and IV patellar luxation.

The causes of the patellar dislocation are addressed during surgery for patellar luxation. In order to treat patellar luxation, surgeons may employ a number of surgical techniques. Surgery is frequently performed to realign abnormal bones, deepen the trochlear groove, and repair the soft tissues surrounding the patella.

For the first several days after surgery, healing calls for rest and pain management. Although most cats heal quickly, they occasionally require a little gentle physical therapy. Most cats won’t experience any further problems with the knee joint, despite the possibility of further damage.

How to stop cats’ patellas from luxating

You can reduce the risk, but you can’t completely prevent patellar luxation in cats. You might be able to prevent cats from having luxating patella by avoiding injuries in general. If your cat jumps up to high places, take smaller steps to ease the strain on your knees.

If your cat exhibits any symptoms of pain or suffering, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as you can. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the faster treatment can begin.

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