PRACTICAL RELEVANCE: Traumatic stifle joint luxation is an uncommon but severe injury. There is usually rupture of several stabilising structures of the joint including the cruciate ligaments, collateral ligaments, joint capsule and menisci. Successful management of this condition requires good anatomical knowledge and repair or replacement of all damaged structures to achieve adequate joint reduction and stability. Better understanding of the treatment options available will aid clinical decision-making.
CLINICAL CHALLENGES: Due to the significant joint instability associated with these injuries, surgical repair is challenging. The use of a temporary transarticular pin to hold the stifle joint in anatomic reduction greatly aids ligament repair or replacement. Postoperative joint immobilisation has traditionally been recommended to protect the primary repair and aid periarticular fibrosis, but prolonged immobilisation can have deleterious long-term effects on the joint. Thus recommendations for the duration of postoperative immobilisation vary between 2 and 6 weeks. Also, due to their independent, outdoor lifestyle, affected cats may have been involved in a significant trauma with important concurrent injuries that need to be addressed prior to the orthopaedic repair.
EVIDENCE BASE: Published data is limited, with reports including only a small number of cats. The information and recommendations in this article have therefore been drawn from the available literature, the authors' experience and preliminary data from an ongoing multicentre retrospective study (unpublished).
AIMS: The aims of this article are to give the reader as thorough a summary as possible of the diagnosis, treatment, outcome and complications of traumatic stifle luxation.