Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Amputation: forequarter

Contributor(s): Laura Owen

Introduction

  • Amputation of the forelimb including the scapula.
    Print off the owner factsheet Caring for the amputee dog to give to your client.

Uses

  • Neoplasia distal to the scapula Osteosarcoma: axial skeleton Bone: neoplasia.
  • Incapacitating neurological disease, eg brachial plexus avulsion Brachial plexus: avulsion.
  • Severe soft tissue damage, eg degloving injuries and ischemic necrosis.
  • Fractures/luxations where financial constrainsts preclude repair/reduction.
  • Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis unresponsive to appropriate and prolonged medical treatment.
  • Incapacitating and medically unresponsive degenerative joint disease Arthritis: osteoarthritis.
  • Incapacitating congenital/acquired limb deformity.

Advantages

  • The procedure provides an acceptable 'salvage' option when no possibility of retention of a functional limb exists, due to failure of other treatments or due to the expected course of a neoplastic condition, and for patients where financial constraints preclude other treatment options.
  • Usually satisfactory long-term functional outcome.
  • Gives more cosmetic result than forelimb amputation by proximal humeral osteotomy Amputation: forelimb.

Disadvantages

  • Appearance and/or the functional locomotion of the amputated patient may be unacceptable to some owners.
  • Certain patients, eg large breed dogs with orthopedic disease in other limb(s), may not be good candidates for amputation.
  • Injury to another limb may subsequently be a more significant problem.
  • The patient may subsequently be more susceptible to blunt trauma of the chest wall.

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

  • Depends on the reasons for amputation.
  • If the primary disease is treated successfully, most small and medium-sized dogs cope very well with forelimb amputation.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Weigel J P (2003) Amputations. In:Textbook of Small Animal Surgery. Ed. Slatter, pp 2180-2190.


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