Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Digit amputation

Synonym(s): Digiamp

Contributor(s): Ash Phipps , Adam Dunstan-Martin

Introduction

  • Digital amputation is the surgical removal of the digit.
  • With appropriate candidate selection, amputation of the digit provides pain relief, improved welfare, improved production and maintenance of weight.

Uses

  • Digital amputation is the treatment of choice when infection does not allow for salvage of the claw, or the animal will otherwise be sent to slaughter.
  • Conditions that may warrant this procedure include:
    • Septic arthritis of the distal interphalangeal joint .
    • Osteitis of the distal phalanx/sesamoid.
    • Necrosis and/or septic tenosynovitis of the deep digital flexor tendon.
    • Septic processes the coronary band and/or supracoronary tissues.
  • Digital amputation may be an appropriate treatment for a fractured digit. 

Advantages

  • All infected tissue can be removed completely.
  • Recovery after surgery is rapid.
  • Lameness usually resolved quickly after amputation.
  • The long-term survival in the herd may be expected to be approximately 1.5 to 2 years post-surgery, but is dependent upon many variables.

Disadvantages

  • Cosmetically, the appearance may be unsatisfactory.
  • Poor case selection:
    • Infection proximal to the amputation site may result in failure to resolve the infection, uncontrolled pain and compromised animal welfare.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Good: low incidence of complications if the appropriate candidate is selected for surgery and all infectious tissue is adequately removed or managed correctly.
  • Lameness should improve within hours of surgery.
  • The animal should be using the limb normally within 3 weeks of the surgery.
  • Animals rarely remain in the herd from more than 1.5 to 2 years.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kofler J (2017) Surgical treatment in deep digital sepsis in cattle–Claw preserving methods and claw amputation. Revista Acadêmica: Ciência Animal 15 (2) pp 45-65.
  • Pedersen S (2012) Digit amputation- getting it right for a productive future. Cattle Lameness Conference proceedings, p 29.
  • Starke A, Heppelmann M, Beyerbach M & Rehage J (2007) Septic arthritis of the distal interphalangeal joint in cattle: comparison of digital amputation and joint resection by solar approach. Veterinary surgery 36 (4) pp 350-359.
  • Bicalho R C, Cheong S H, Warnick L D, Nydam D V & Guard C L (2006) The effect of digit amputation or arthrodesis surgery on culling and milk production in Holstein dairy cows. Journal of dairy science 89 (7) pp 2596-2602.

Other sources of information

  • Parkinson T J, Vermunt J J & Malmo J (2010) Diseases of cattle in Australasia: a comprehensive textbook. New Zealand Veterinary Association Foundation for Continuing Education, Wellington, NZ.
  • Anderson D E & Rings M (2008) Current veterinary therapy: food animal practice. Elsevier Health Sciences. St Louis, Missouri, USA.
  • Divers T J & Peek S (2007) Rebhun's diseases of dairy cattle. Elsevier Health Sciences. St Louis, Missouri, USA.
  • Fubini S L & Ducharme N (2004) Farm animal surgery. Elsevier Health Sciences, St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Organisation(s)

  • Rochester Veterinary Practice.


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