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Indications for and outcomes of limb amputation in goats and sheep

Lisa Gamsjaeger MagMedVet1 and Munashe Chigerwe BVsc, MPH, PhD2
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  • 1 William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize indications for and clinical outcomes of limb amputation in goats and sheep.

DESIGN Retrospective case series and observational study.

ANIMALS Goats (n = 15) and sheep (7) that underwent partial or complete limb amputation at the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital from January 1, 1985, through December 31, 2015.

PROCEDURES Medical records of qualifying goats and sheep were reviewed and data extracted regarding signalment, use of animal, characteristics of the amputated limb, duration of hospitalization, outcome, and surgery-associated complications. The Fisher exact test was performed to compare postsurgical complication rates between various groups.

RESULTS Reasons for limb amputation included trauma (ie, fracture, dog bite, and wire-fence injury) and infectious or degenerative disease (ie, osteomyelitis and osteoarthritis). Median (range) hospitalization period for goats and sheep was 7.5 days (1 to 63 days) and 8 days (3 to 20 days), respectively. Most (7/9) of the postsurgical complications were noticed > 2 months after amputation and included uncoordinated gait, tendon breakdown and laxity of the contralateral limb, chronic lameness, surgical site infection, chronic intermittent pain, and angular limb deformity. No association was identified between postsurgical complication rate in goats and body weight category (< 20 vs ≥ 20 kg [44 lb]), age category (< 2 vs ≥ 2 years), and amputated limb type (forelimb vs hind limb).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Clinical outcomes for goats and sheep following limb amputation varied and were seemingly case dependent. Amputation should be considered when preservation of the whole limb is not possible. Veterinarians should advise owners that limb amputation may result in various complications and recommend aftercare treatment such as physiotherapy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize indications for and clinical outcomes of limb amputation in goats and sheep.

DESIGN Retrospective case series and observational study.

ANIMALS Goats (n = 15) and sheep (7) that underwent partial or complete limb amputation at the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital from January 1, 1985, through December 31, 2015.

PROCEDURES Medical records of qualifying goats and sheep were reviewed and data extracted regarding signalment, use of animal, characteristics of the amputated limb, duration of hospitalization, outcome, and surgery-associated complications. The Fisher exact test was performed to compare postsurgical complication rates between various groups.

RESULTS Reasons for limb amputation included trauma (ie, fracture, dog bite, and wire-fence injury) and infectious or degenerative disease (ie, osteomyelitis and osteoarthritis). Median (range) hospitalization period for goats and sheep was 7.5 days (1 to 63 days) and 8 days (3 to 20 days), respectively. Most (7/9) of the postsurgical complications were noticed > 2 months after amputation and included uncoordinated gait, tendon breakdown and laxity of the contralateral limb, chronic lameness, surgical site infection, chronic intermittent pain, and angular limb deformity. No association was identified between postsurgical complication rate in goats and body weight category (< 20 vs ≥ 20 kg [44 lb]), age category (< 2 vs ≥ 2 years), and amputated limb type (forelimb vs hind limb).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Clinical outcomes for goats and sheep following limb amputation varied and were seemingly case dependent. Amputation should be considered when preservation of the whole limb is not possible. Veterinarians should advise owners that limb amputation may result in various complications and recommend aftercare treatment such as physiotherapy.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Gamsjaeger (lgamsjaeger@ucdavis.edu).