Jump to section

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.

Ligament and Tendon Conditions Average Cost

From 458 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$550

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

Types

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Ligament and Tendon Conditions in Cats

Surgery

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Ligament and Tendon Conditions Average Cost

From 458 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$550

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ligament and Tendon Conditions Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

american wirehair cat

dog-age-icon

Four Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

Well he's not limping anymore, it's been about a week and half since he landed the wrong way jumping off the bed. He limped the first week. Last night, I was massaging his front left arm (source of limp/pain) and it feels like there's a tight fishing line that run up his arm, and rubbing it made him aggressive. What do you think this could be, a muscle, tendon, ligament ? Sorry for my country comparison of a body part to a tight fishing line, but that's how I can describe it.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello I'm sorry to see that your pet is limping. He may have sustained a soft tissue or muscle injury. I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. They may want to give him a pain injection and take x-rays. Good luck.

Aug. 6, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

American Short hair

dog-age-icon

Thirteen Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Muscle Spasms

My cat suffered a leg injury upon jumping on a dresser. He now is suffering leg spasms and has difficulty jumping. The vet has had us in rest for two weeks. I took him off rest yesterday to see how he is and he’s still having difficulty. Eating- litter box is as usual

July 26, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If two weeks of rest has not improved the problem, he may need a couple of things. He may need an x-ray to see if there was more damage than what you're Veterinarian initially suspected. Or he may need some anti-inflammatory pain medications. Since all over the counter pain medications are quite toxic for cats, it would be best to call your veterinarian, let them know that things have not improved, and see what their recommendation is as the next step. I hope that all gets better for him and he feels better soon.

July 26, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Smurf

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping, In Pain At Times.

My 9 year old 6.5kg cat came in just over 2 weeks ago and laid on the floor. He then got himself into his radiator (not on) cradle. I went to lift him and he bit me which was unusual. I took him to the vet but they could not find anything wrong on palpation. He would not walk for them. They prescribed metacam. I have been back twice and it is thought he has a torn ligament. He sometimes cries, can hobble but limps. One vet wanted to x-ray but I did not want him given an anaesthetic when no bony injury was suspected. He spends most of his time lying down and I am carrying him up and down stairs. How long should a torn ligament take to heal and am I being stupid in not having the x ray?

Aug. 1, 2018

Smurf's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

I think the x-ray might give more information about what is going on with Smurf, and if 2 weeks have gone by and he doesn't seem to be improving, you may need to have further diagnostics done. Depending on what ligament is torn (there are many), it can take weeks to months to fully heal. It seems that a recheck might be a good idea if he is still having the problems that you are describing.

Aug. 1, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Tintin

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Ruptured Ligaments
Limping, Not Eating, Not Relieving

Hi my cat injured himself last night. We took him to the vet today and they said the ligaments in his back leg are ruptured. They said that he would need surgery but because of his age it may not work. What would be the chance of recovery,he is 10 years old.

July 24, 2018

Tintin's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Unfortunately I cannot give you an indicator of recovery with surgery as there are many different factors to take into consideration, however the likelihood of any favourable recovery is small. Your Veterinarian would be able to give you more specifics but they may not know until they start the surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 25, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Sadie

dog-breed-icon

Labrador

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Torn Tendon

My dog ran into a barbwire fence and now has a small tendon hanging out of her leg. I don’t see this getting repaired, she still can flex her leg. It is at the first bend probably was connected to a toe? She is a black lab. The piece hanging out is about 3 inches. How long before the tendon dies? Should we wait until it dies to snip or should we snip now? I am keeping her comfortable with aspirin and benedryl. Any other advice?

July 15, 2018

Sadie's Owner


answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

If Sadie has a piece of tendon on the outside of her body, she may have a significant wound associated with that. Barbwire fences are dirty, contaminated objects to be injured by, and she may need further treatment. Whether the tendon needs to be repaired or not is something that I can't comment on without seeing her, unfortunately, but it would probably be a good idea to have her examined by a veterinarian. The tendon may not die, but may cause ongoing infection and pain, and cutting the tendon may be excruciating for her. Some things are best evaluated by a professional, and this seems like one of them. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 15, 2018

She seems to be recovering well. She is walking normally. The tendon has dried up and when the bandage is off, she is trying to remove it herself. It was very small, like cooked angel hair pasta sized. It has been 4 days and she is no longer on pain relievers. I called the vet and they said to keep it clean with antibacterial soap and keep it dry. I am watching for signs of infection. If no infection, then I’m not going to vet. Thank you anyways.

July 18, 2018

Sadie's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Kitty

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limping,
Lots Of Pain
Can'T Put Foot Down

My cat started limping for a few years (she is a little overweight) and today she couldn't walk normally at all. Every time she tried to put pressure on her back foot, she would growl loudly in pain and would try to lift it up, growling even more. We took her to the vet and they told us she had a torn ligament in her knee that needs to be fixed surgically. That surgery is between $2000-2500 and we really can't afford that. Is there other way to fix this? She is in a lot of pain, can't even move from it, and we're desperate. I don't know if I should trust the vet as, here, they are known to only advise surgery in order to make more money.

dog-name-icon

Chucky

dog-breed-icon

short hair

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Stiffness Limping

Well my cat came home limping from his right hand and next day his paw was huge and swollen he was clearly in pain I looked for any signs of a thorn or a sting nothing found I made an appointment to see the vet for next day by the time I took him his whole arm was swollen from the paw all the way to the shoulder they shaved his leg and it was all red with whitish dots so they said they had to drain and made not an incision but cut a huge triangle in the paw between his thumb and wrist i could see tendons or ligament I don't know exactly what it was but it looked like 2 thick white strings the bandage came off and when I came home he had chewed on those strings then I made a better bandage he could not break and healed but after that he kept limping and his paw look stiff compared to the other hand and he cant flex it when he stand looks like he cant put much weight on it and the wrist doesn't flex like the left side

dog-name-icon

Hen

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pain

My cat Hen was born with a strangulated & withered right hind leg and the last third of her tail; as she grew, the leg and tail segment simply fell off - no blood, no pain, she just crawled to her mother to nurse and her leg and tail stayed put. As she has aged, she adapted well to her, um, compromise; when she slow-walks it's obvious she's impaired (a chicken-like bobbing, hence her name), but she can run as fast as her siblings by raising her stump, pointing her shortened tail in the direction she's moving, and going fast. She's an admirable cutie, but there's an emerging problem: her accommodation - the stump and tail movement for balance and direction has caused chronic tendon contraction, likely from overuse and atrophy of the remaining thigh muscle. My veterinarian is recommending physical therapy at this time, and possibly an NSAID for associated pain (it clearly hurts), but I wondered if a tendonectomy is in order, or even removal of the remaining stump? I'm not eager for her to go under the knife but I hate that she suffers when this occurs about once or twice a year.

dog-name-icon

Ted

dog-breed-icon

British Blue

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

10 days ago my cat suddenly began limping badly and not able to put his back leg down. I took him to the vet and after extensive xrays, scans exams etc it has been determined that he has ruptured his Achilles. They gave me Metacam and sent me home for two weeks cage rest. I am to return in a few days to determine the next steps. After a few days I decided that I had to let Ted out of the cage because he was showing signs of depression, not eating, drinking or going to the toilet. He wouldnt eat any food with the Metacam in it and I am unable to put anything in his mouth - so he hasnt had any since the first few days. I let him out for a little while in the morning then in the evening. He started to put a little weight on the leg and occasionally use it. As the days went by I thought it was best to leave Ted in my bedroom throughout the day and over night. He seems much happier however the leg still isnt working properly. Some times he can put it down and other times he is limping badly. He goes back in a few days for a decision about an operation. I am struggling with the idea of him having this operation and then spending a huge amount of time caged - then physio. After seeing him go through just a few days caged - I dont think we can do this. Is there any chance of this getting better on its own - without the surgery?

dog-name-icon

Lucy

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Lameness

Lucy injured her left leg while playing 5 years ago. Since then I’ve noticed occasionally she’ll not walk normally but then readjust and appear fine. Fast forward 5 years to last week, she was running through the house stopped and turned around with her right leg bowed out like a chicken wing. She was in pain and unusually biting and hissing. I took her to the ER where they took x-rays and said she had patella luxation in both legs, the left with some arthritis probably from the injury years ago. They recommended very expensive surgery on both knees. I shopped around for another vet, who said they couldn’t get a complete picture from the x-rays and recommended a second photo shoot. This vet saw a torn CCL in the left leg (old injury) and a luxating patella in the right leg (grade 3). Since last week, Lucy appears to be back in her normal spirits, although with some lameness and an occasional chicken-winged right leg. The vet recommended to me to first take care of the CCL then address the other leg. Lucy is an 18-pound chunker and I’m a little worried about which leg to start with to ensure optimal recovery. The vet did not express concern about her weight and recovery. Any additional insights?

Ligament and Tendon Conditions Average Cost

From 458 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$550

How can we help your pet?