What is Patellar Luxation? Patellar luxation is a condition that results in permanent or temporary dislocation of the kneecap. The kneecap (patella) slips out of position and can slide up and down. Although more common in dogs, particularly toy breeds, it is now being identified in greater numbers in cats. There are two types: medially luxating patellas (inherited) and laterally luxating patellas (injury).
How does my cat get Patellar Luxation? Some cats inherit this condition. Others develop it as a result of a traumatic injury to the knee area. They may suffer severe blows to the knee due to falls or being hit by a car. Degenerative arthritis in the knee area and hip dysplasia can also increase a cat’s chances of developing patellar luxation. In the inherited cases, it can affect one or both kneecaps.
How do I know if my cat has Patellar Luxation? The signs depend on the severity of the condition. For congenital cases, the symptoms may develop gradually as the cat ages. For injury cases, the signs are abruptly apparent. Cats with dislocated kneecaps will have difficulty walking, lift the affected leg when they run, show increased lameness or be reluctant to bear weight on the affected leg. Some cats adjust by changing the way they walk to put less pressure on their knees. A veterinarian will make the diagnosis based on a physical examination and review of radiographs of the knee.
What can I do about Patellar Luxation? Not all cats will this condition need surgery. With restricted activity, weight control, pain medication and/or supplements, the prognosis is good.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting Patellar Luxation? If you wish to obtain a purebred kitten, work with reputable breeders whose catteries do not have incidences of this inherited condition. Reduce the chance of your cat injuring his knees by cat-proofing your house and not allowing your cat to wander outside.
Are there certain breeds that get more often? Abyssinian, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and Manx lead the list of cat breeds most susceptible to patellar luxation. Studies indicate that females are 1.5 times more likely than males to get this condition.