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Research article2020Peer reviewed

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

Boge, Gudrun S.; Engdahl, Karolina; Moldal, Elena R.; Bergstrom, Annika


ObjectivesThe 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).MethodsA 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.ResultsFifty 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 cranial cruciate ligament 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).Conclusions and relevanceConservatively 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; stifle joint; treatment; quality of life

Published in

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
2020, Volume: 22, number: 4, pages: 277-284