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Outcomes of dogs undergoing limb amputation, owner satisfaction with limb amputation procedures, and owner perceptions regarding postsurgical adaptation: 64 cases (2005–2012)

Vanna M. DickersonDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Kevin D. ColemanDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Morika OgawaDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Corey F. SabaDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Karen K. CornellDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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MaryAnn G. RadlinskyDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Chad W. SchmiedtDepartment of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate outcomes of dogs and owner satisfaction and perception of their dogs’ adaptation following amputation of a thoracic or pelvic limb.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—64 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs that underwent limb amputation at a veterinary teaching hospital between 2005 and 2012 were reviewed. Signalment, body weight, and body condition scores at the time of amputation, dates of amputation and discharge from the hospital, whether a thoracic or pelvic limb was amputated, and reason for amputation were recorded. Histologic diagnosis and date of death were recorded if applicable. Owners were interviewed by telephone about their experience and interpretation of the dog's adaptation after surgery. Associations between perioperative variables and postoperative quality of life scores were investigated.

Results—58 of 64 (91%) owners perceived no change in their dog's attitude after amputation; 56 (88%) reported complete or nearly complete return to preamputation quality of life, 50 (78%) indicated the dog's recovery and adaptation were better than expected, and 47 (73%) reported no change in the dog's recreational activities. Body condition scores and body weight at the time of amputation were negatively correlated with quality of life scores after surgery. Taking all factors into account, most (55/64 [86%]) respondents reported they would make the same decision regarding amputation again, and 4 (6%) indicated they would not; 5 (8%) were unsure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This information may aid veterinarians in educating clients about adaptation potential of dogs following limb amputation and the need for postoperative weight control in such patients. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;247:786–792)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate outcomes of dogs and owner satisfaction and perception of their dogs’ adaptation following amputation of a thoracic or pelvic limb.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—64 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs that underwent limb amputation at a veterinary teaching hospital between 2005 and 2012 were reviewed. Signalment, body weight, and body condition scores at the time of amputation, dates of amputation and discharge from the hospital, whether a thoracic or pelvic limb was amputated, and reason for amputation were recorded. Histologic diagnosis and date of death were recorded if applicable. Owners were interviewed by telephone about their experience and interpretation of the dog's adaptation after surgery. Associations between perioperative variables and postoperative quality of life scores were investigated.

Results—58 of 64 (91%) owners perceived no change in their dog's attitude after amputation; 56 (88%) reported complete or nearly complete return to preamputation quality of life, 50 (78%) indicated the dog's recovery and adaptation were better than expected, and 47 (73%) reported no change in the dog's recreational activities. Body condition scores and body weight at the time of amputation were negatively correlated with quality of life scores after surgery. Taking all factors into account, most (55/64 [86%]) respondents reported they would make the same decision regarding amputation again, and 4 (6%) indicated they would not; 5 (8%) were unsure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This information may aid veterinarians in educating clients about adaptation potential of dogs following limb amputation and the need for postoperative weight control in such patients. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;247:786–792)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Coleman's present address is Northlake Veterinary Surgery, 935 Montreal Rd, Clarkston, GA 30021.

Dr. Ogawa's present address is Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group, 318 Warren St, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

Dr. Radlinsky's present address is VetMed, 20610 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024.

Presented in abstract form at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Surgery Summit, San Antonio, Tex, October 2013.

Address correspondence to Dr. Schmiedt (cws@uga.edu).