Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Angular Limb Deformities in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Angular Limb Deformities in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Angular Limb Deformities?

Angular limb deformities is the term used to describe deviation in bone shape from what is considered to be normal. Angular limb deformities in cats can be either congenital or developmental. Congenital deformities are present at the time of birth, whereas developmental deformities develop during the feline’s growth period, typically between four to eight months of age. Angular limb deformities are a result of irregularities of the growth plates responsible for bone growth as the feline matures. The growth plates are soft and do not fuse until one year of age, therefore, trauma or nutritional experiences before the feline reaches one year will result in angular limb deformities. 

Angular limb deformity in cats is an abnormal bone growth that has resulted in irregularly shaped or crooked limbs. Angular limb deformities can be present at the time of birth or develop during the cat’s growth period. The forelimbs are the most common area to be affected by angular limb deformities, as they are made up of two long bones, but the rear limbs can also be affected. Cat owners will note a prevalent bowing of the legs, either inward our outward. Some felines with angular limb deformities will not experience complications, whereas others experience clinical signs of limping, pain, and the inability to complete certain tasks. Many develop arthritis with age.

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Angular Limb Deformities Average Cost

From 415 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Clinical signs of angular limb deformities in cats are noted by the presence of the bones of the limbs bowing away or toward the feline’s midline. Commonly affecting the ulna and radius, pet owners will observe this irregularity from the front of the feline, as her standing stance will seem abnormal. Some felines may not experience discomfort from the present deformity, whereas others may experience pain and limited mobility. On a radiograph, the presence of a bone deformity will be visible, but pet owners may notice symptoms including: 

  • Pain
  • Reduced range of motion in joints
  • Limping 
  • Inability to perform certain activities (jumping, running) 
  • Arthritis (later in life) 

Types

Congenital 

Congenital angular limb deformities in cats are present at the time of birth and are often the result of a genetic disorder or fetal malpositioning.

Developmental 

Developmental angular limb deformities in cats occur during the feline’s growth period (4-8 months) as a result of trauma to the growth plates. 

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Causes of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Angular limb deformities in cats have numerous causes, with the most common causes being trauma or a genetic disorder. 

Traumatic causes of angular limb deformities in cats include:

  • Falls
  • Hit-by-car
  • Being dropped 
  • Being stepped on 

Congenital causes of angular limb deformities in cats include:

  • Hereditary malformation 
  • Genetic disorder 
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Diagnosis of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Angular limb deformities in cats affect a feline at an early age and a medical record may not yet be established to review as part of the diagnostic procedure. However, cat owners can aid the veterinarian by providing vital information that is relevant to the feline’s condition. Informing the doctor of past trauma the young cat has sustained or familial disorders with the parents or siblings is crucial information for you to relay to the vet. A physical exam of the affected feline will be conducted, moving the affected limbs to detect range of motion and the presence of pain. 

X-ray (Radiography) 

An x-ray is the primary method a veterinarian will use to investigate a limb deformity. The radiograph enables the doctor to view the location, direction, and magnitude of the bone abnormality. 

CT scan (Computed tomography) 

A CT scan is often completed after an x-ray as this exam provides a cross-sectional image of the affected limb(s). This 3-dimensional image will provide the veterinarian with additional information about the deformity in comparison with the x-ray.

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Treatment of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Many felines with mild angular limb deformities can be managed without the need for surgery. A mild angular limb deformities in cats is primarily a cosmetic flaw, not accompanied by pain or mobility issues. The veterinarian may treat these cases with conservative management methods such as weight management, provision of joint supplements and avoidance of intense exercise. A conservative management method is set in place to decrease unnecessary stress to the joints, preventing injury and arthritis later on in the cat’s life. 

Cats with severe angular limb deformities may require surgical correction and are often referred to a specialist. Surgical correction of an angular limb deformity requires the placement of skeletal fixators to straighten the bone and keep them aligned. Surgical correction of angular limb deformities in cats has potential risks that your veterinarian will discuss with you if your cat is suffering severely from angular limb deformities. 

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Worried about the cost of Angular Limb Deformities treatment?

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Recovery of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

The prognosis for cats that have received conservative management for their angular limb deformities is a relatively positive end result. The main goal in management of an angular limb deformity is to decrease stress to the joints, therefore it is crucial to follow veterinary instructions. Felines that have undergone surgical correction will be reevaluated frequently to ensure the bones have not continued to twist and are healing correctly. 

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Angular Limb Deformities Average Cost

From 415 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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Angular Limb Deformities Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Tuxedo cat

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One Year

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Short Front Legs And Haunches Back

My cat was born with twisted short front legs and I want to make sure he’s not in pain and not sick. He was born this way and he walks fine just a little funny like a ferret he’s a very happy baby it seems but I worry he’s in pain or he could have a lot of problems..

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. He may be perfectly happy that way, but without seeing him, I don't have any way of knowing It would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him, see if he is having any pain or if any problems might be happening, and give you a better idea as to how he is doing. I hope that he does well!

July 16, 2020

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Chester

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Shorthair

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5 Months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Fever

Should I treat my cat at home? My cat has deformed back legs and seems to use one more than the other. The one he uses more got really swollen and filled with puss. It burst two days ago and it now has white substance coming out of it that seems to look like tissue. The cat licks and bites at the stuff coming out of it but I’m not sure what to do. We also don’t have money to take him to the vet and I hate aeeing him in pain

Aug. 4, 2018

Chester's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Firstly you should get a cone to prevent Chester from licking or biting at his paw, but a visit to a Veterinarian is required regardless as a prescription is going to be needed to treat the paw (possibly cellulitis, abscess or another cause). Not everything can be treated at home and a delay in treatment may only result in more treatment later on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 5, 2018

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Angular Limb Deformities Average Cost

From 415 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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