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Short- and long-term outcomes after digit amputation in dogs: 33 cases (1999–2011)

Kathryn L. KaufmanVeterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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F. A. MannVeterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine complications and outcomes for dogs that underwent digit amputation.

Design—Retrospective case series and owner survey.

Animals—33 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs that underwent digit amputation were evaluated. Signalment, digits amputated, level of amputation, reason for amputation, and complications were recorded. Owners were contacted via mail or telephone to collect follow-up information.

Results—35 digit amputation procedures were performed for the 33 dogs in the study (1 dog underwent 3 procedures). Short-term (≤ 14 days) complications other than lameness were detected in dogs after 13 of 33 (39.4%) procedures for which follow-up information was available; incisional dehiscence was the most common short-term complication. Long-term (>14 days) lameness was detected in dogs after 8 of 32 (25.0%) procedures for which follow-up information was available; lameness was mild or intermittent after 6 of these procedures. Amputation of a digit in a hind limb was the only variable that was significantly associated with the development of short-term complications. Twenty-four of 33 (72.7%) owners responded to the survey via mail or telephone interview; 23 (95.8%) of those owners were satisfied with the procedure. Most dogs had a good functional outcome (including dogs that underwent amputation of digit 3 or 4 or both).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Amputation of a hind limb digit was the only risk factor identified for development of short-term complications. Dogs that underwent amputation of digit 3 or 4 or both did not seem to have a worse outcome than dogs that underwent amputation of other digits.

Abstract

Objective—To determine complications and outcomes for dogs that underwent digit amputation.

Design—Retrospective case series and owner survey.

Animals—33 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs that underwent digit amputation were evaluated. Signalment, digits amputated, level of amputation, reason for amputation, and complications were recorded. Owners were contacted via mail or telephone to collect follow-up information.

Results—35 digit amputation procedures were performed for the 33 dogs in the study (1 dog underwent 3 procedures). Short-term (≤ 14 days) complications other than lameness were detected in dogs after 13 of 33 (39.4%) procedures for which follow-up information was available; incisional dehiscence was the most common short-term complication. Long-term (>14 days) lameness was detected in dogs after 8 of 32 (25.0%) procedures for which follow-up information was available; lameness was mild or intermittent after 6 of these procedures. Amputation of a digit in a hind limb was the only variable that was significantly associated with the development of short-term complications. Twenty-four of 33 (72.7%) owners responded to the survey via mail or telephone interview; 23 (95.8%) of those owners were satisfied with the procedure. Most dogs had a good functional outcome (including dogs that underwent amputation of digit 3 or 4 or both).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Amputation of a hind limb digit was the only risk factor identified for development of short-term complications. Dogs that underwent amputation of digit 3 or 4 or both did not seem to have a worse outcome than dogs that underwent amputation of other digits.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Kaufman's present address is the Department of Veterinary Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840.

The authors thank Dr. John Middleton and Dr. Patrick Pithua for statistical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Kaufman (katelkdvm@gmail.com).