Ligament and Tendon Conditions Average Cost

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What are Ligament and Tendon Conditions?

Though ligament and tendon conditions are fairly common in cats, they require prompt care in order for full mobility to be restored.

The ligaments in a cat are a tough band that is composed of a white, slightly elastic, fibrous tissue that binds the ends of bones together. Ligaments prevent excessive movements that could cause dislocation or bone breakage. They are found throughout the cat's body where two bones meet.  Tendons are composed of a fibrous tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. When conditions arise with the ligaments or tendons, the cat's mobility will suffer.

Symptoms of Ligament and Tendon Conditions in Cats

Depending on the location of the ligament or tendon that is affected and the condition that occurred, symptoms may vary slightly. These symptoms include:

  • Subtle lameness that worsens over time
  • Inability or unwillingness to exercise
  • Resting foreleg on floor rather than in an upright position
  • Pain or tenderness in paws, forelegs or hind legs
  • Swelling in joints
  • Swelling around muscles
  • Grating sounds when joints are moved
  • Walking with heel placed on ground
  • Non-weight bearing lameness


There are several types of conditions that can affect the ligaments and tendons in cats. Some of these types include:

  • Cranial cruciate ligament tear: a tearing of the ligament in the knee joint
  • Palmar carpal ligament breakdown: tearing or wearing down of the ligaments in the wrist
  • Bicipital tenosynovitis: inflammation of the tendon in the shoulder joint
  • Brachii muscle rupture: rupture of the tendon in the upper limb
  • Supraspinatus avulsion: rupture of the tendon that connects shoulder to upper limb
  • Luxating patella: a condition in which the kneecap moves due to weakening or overextension of the ligaments and tendons

Causes of Ligament and Tendon Conditions in Cats

Most ligament and tendon problems occur due to a vehicular accident, trauma received from another animal, or injury from jumping from too high of a location. Vehicular accidents can cause fractures in the bones and hyperextend the tendons. A dog or other animal who attacks a cat may bite, causing the tendons or ligaments to become injured. When a cat lands on the ground incorrectly after jumping, the ligaments and tendons are at risk of tearing, rupturing or breaking down over time. Cats can also injure their tendons or ligaments slowly over time as a result of repetitive straining, overexertion, or fatigue.

Diagnosis of Ligament and Tendon Conditions in Cats

The veterinarian will need to know how long symptoms the have been present, any recent trauma or injuries that could have caused the ligament or tendon condition, and a complete list of symptoms. The veterinarian will gently examine the cat, feeling for signs of swelling and tenderness.

Radiography is the best way to determine what condition is affecting the cat. Radiography may include X-rays, which can eliminate fractured bones as the source of the problem; ultrasounds, which can identify swelling and tears in the ligaments and tendons; and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can look for muscle injuries and tendon or ligament rupturing.

If the exact cause of the symptoms cannot be determined through radiography, the veterinarian may use an arthroscope to explore the affected ligaments and tendons. The arthroscope is a small endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. The veterinarian will use the arthroscope to explore the injured area and diagnose the problem. Samples of fluid or tissue may be removed using the arthroscope and sent to an outside lab for further analysis.

Treatment of Ligament and Tendon Conditions in Cats


Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may need to occur. The cat will be placed under general anesthesia and a small incision will be made in the skin by the affected tendon or ligament. The veterinarian will then repair the problem and use sutures to close the incision.

Splint or Cast

The veterinarian may need the ligaments or tendons to remain immobile while they heal on their own. In these cases, a splint or cast will be placed on the cat in order to prevent mobility and re-injury from occurring.

Physical Therapy

The veterinarian may recommend physical therapy in order to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. During physical therapy, the cat will be put through a series of range-of-motion exercises and receive massages in order to promote healing.

Weight Reduction

The veterinarian may place the cat on a special diet in order for its weight to be reduced. Cats who are overweight place more pressure on their joints and tendons, which can cause injuries to occur.

Ice Packing

Cryotherapy, the placing of ice on the injured tendons or ligaments, may be recommended after surgery or splinting. Cryotherapy normally occurs for five to 10 minutes every eight hours over the course of several days. This procedure reduces swelling and decreases pain.

Recovery of Ligament and Tendon Conditions in Cats

With proper rehabilitation and prompt care, most cats recover fully from their ligament or tendon condition. Recommendations for physical therapy will need to be followed in order for the cat to recover properly. If surgery occurred, the cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar in order to prevent biting of the sutures. Follow-up appointments with the veterinarian to monitor progress and healing are recommended.

Ligament and Tendon Conditions Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

8 Months
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


Hi :) Out cat was cut across the back of her hind leg, a couple of centimetres above the back of her paw. She recovered well, bit a week later she came back limping. We're in a difficult position as we're located in a small town in Vietnam with a vey that has very little to work with. We've taken her to the vet who has given us 5 days worth of anti-inflammatories, but very little has changed. She keeps her paw off the ground as much as possible, but is still able to place weight on the leg though we can see that it pains her. Not sure what to do :( Any advice would be deeply appreciated!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2002 Recommendations
Without examining Guadalupe, I cannot determine the specific cause of injury whether it is tendon or ligament related; if your Veterinarian has limited equipment or resources it may be a case of offering pain relief to Guadalupe whilst she is affected by this. Tendon and ligament injuries can take a long time to heal due to the type of tissue and the poor blood supply, but rest and pain relief is probably the best and only course of action in this case. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you so much for your help. Couldn't be more grateful!

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American Shorthair
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


My cat went ought to the bathroom 2 nights ago. Shedidn't come back. She came back the next night, limping and her right hind leg looks deformed now. There is a bump, she is walking on it differently and it seems like she's not putting too much weight on it. I took her to an emergency veterinary hospital and the vet said there's no break or fracture. Shse also hasnt been eating or drinking much.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
504 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without seeing Tuesday, I can't diagnose what might be happening with her, or what might have happened while she was outside. She may have had a trauma of some kind, or a bite wound. She may have a strain or a sprain. I'm not sure if x-rays were taken, or if she is on any medication, but it would be a good idea to follow up with your veterinarian to see what they think might be the cause of her injury, and if she needs any antibiotics or pain medications.

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4 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


Hi, our 4 month kitten has a weakness in hind legs after a small dose of antibiotics due to diarrhea. She still eats well and seems fine but is not active as before. Mostly sleeping. When we touch her back legs she mews. Looks like there is a problem with tendons. What can we do? How to restore her? We do not give her any medication since then.


Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
504 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without knowing what medication, what dosage, or how long she was on it, I'm not sure that I can comment on whether the medication may have caused the weakness or if it is related to another problem. It would be best to follow up with your veterinarian, as they prescribed the medication and would want to know if she was having any adverse effects.

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domestic short hair
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

limping on 3 legs

cat dislocated her paw, suspect torn ligaments and tendons no arthroscope or endoscope used to view injury. 3 vets recommend arthrodesis, your suggestion please.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
504 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Dislocations can be difficult to resolve in the distal regions of the limbs if the ligaments have been torn. I cannot see Chip, or his x-rays, but x-rays tend to be quite diagnostic with this condition. If you have had three veterinarians who all agree that arthrodesis is the appropriate treatment, I would tend to trust those opinions. I hope that Chip does well!

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Domestic Short Hair
1 Year
Has Symptoms
We rescued my cat at 2 weeks. He's always had a bend in his right ankle that progressively gets worse. The left is now over compensating. We have tried splinting with no success. And no advice on what to do next.