Multi-Centre retrospective study of the long-term outcome following suspected traumatic elbow luxation in 32 cats

Williams H, Calvo , Gaines A, Kalff S, Sajik D, Kulendra NJ, Meeson RL, Parsons K, Farrell M, Kulendra ER
J Small Anim Pract. 2020 Apr 29. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13143.

OBJECTIVES: To describe reduction techniques and clinical outcome in a series of traumatic elbow luxations in cats.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective review of unilateral elbow luxations treated at five specialist referral centres. Data included signalment, aetiology, concurrent injuries, luxation direction, time to reduction, primary reduction technique, surgical procedure and complications. Cases were excluded if reduction technique was unknown. Telephone owner questionnaire follow-up was completed using a Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index.

RESULTS: Thirty-two cats were included. Lateral luxations were most common (n = 21). Time (hours) until attempted initial closed reduction was <24 (n = 12), 24-48 (n = 13), >48 (n = 3) or unrecorded (n = 4). Luxation was treated by closed reduction alone (n = 7) or by surgery (n = 25); 14 of 25 cases underwent primary surgical reduction and 11 of 25 were secondary procedures following failure of closed reduction. Transcondylar bone tunnels and circumferential suture (n = 19) was the most commonly used surgical technique. Catastrophic (n = 1), major (n = 11) and minor complications (n = 5) were recorded; reluxation occurred more frequently after closed reduction (n = 8) than after open reduction with fixation (n = 0). Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index data were available for 12 cats; outcome was good-excellent in all 12, with a median function score of 64.5/68 (range: 55-68) and a median pain score of 0/15 (range: 0-5). Outcome was not associated with reduction technique.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Elbow reluxation occurred in 61% of cats following primary closed reduction but did not occur in any open reduction cases. Reluxation rate increased with duration from injury. Most cats had good-excellent owner-assessed outcome, regardless of reduction technique.