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J Feline Med Surg. 2019 Mar 21:1098612X19837436. doi: 10.1177/1098612X19837436. [Epub ahead of print]

Cranial cruciate ligament disease in cats: an epidemiological retrospective study of 50 cats (2011-2016).

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1 Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Veterinary Science, Oslo, Norway.
2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.



The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics and long-term outcome of surgically and conservatively treated cats with cranial cruciate ligament disease (CCLD).


A retrospective cohort study of cats with CCLD, diagnosed at two university animal hospitals between January 2011 and December 2016, was performed. Signalment, history, treatment and follow-up information were retrieved. Cat owners were contacted for additional long-term follow-up information. The cases were divided into two groups; one conservatively managed and one surgically treated with the lateral fabellotibial suture technique. A quality of life questionnaire, the Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index (FMPI), was distributed to the owners of cats alive at follow-up for assessment of chronic pain as a long-term outcome. Univariable statistical methods were used to evaluate the data.


Fifty cats were identified and were followed for a median of 41 months after diagnosis of CCLD. Seven cats (14%) developed bilateral CCLD. Twenty-eight cats (56%) were treated conservatively and 22 (44%) surgically. All surgically treated cats in which arthrotomy was performed (19/22) had total CCL rupture and 9/19 (47%) had meniscal injuries. Postoperative surgical complications were recorded in 6/22 cats (27%). Owners of 24/29 (83%) cats still alive at follow-up completed the FMPI questionnaire. The conservatively treated cats had a lower FMPI score, indicating less chronic pain, than those cats treated surgically ( P = 0.017).


Conservatively treated cats with CCLD experienced less chronic pain at long-term follow-up than surgically treated cats. Bilateral disease is not uncommon in cats with CCLD.


Cranial cruciate ligament; lateral fabellotibial suture; meniscal disease; quality of life; stifle joint; treatment


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