Should my Dog’s Leg be Amputated?

photo 2006 Jon Hurd | more info (via: Wylio)Hi my dog has nerve damage due to a botched up operation by the vet, she draggs...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Dec 28th 2010


Flying Nun Dogphoto 2006 Jon Hurd | more info (via: Wylio)
Hi my dog has nerve damage due to a botched up operation by the vet, she draggs her back paw and knuckles badly, her foot is mostly dressed or in a splint but she still gets sores and swelling, she has had hydrotherapy which didn’t improve anything, she has no feeling in her paw and is always at the vets. She has been like this since sept 09 with no improvement, my vet has asked us to consider amputation, what do you think?

cath
south wales

Yikes! I am curious to know what type of surgery led to this problem.

It is an unfortunate fact that all surgeries, even when competently performed, have the potential to lead to complications. I once spoke about this with an MD who specialized in surgery. He was able to provide excellent definitions of minor surgery and major surgery. Major surgery is performed on you. Minor surgery is performed on someone else.

Cath, I am sorry that you dog has suffered from loss of sensation in her foot. Dogs with no feeling in their feet tend to injure their feet repeatedly. In some dogs new injuries occur faster than they can heal. Although they aren’t painful (if the dog can’t feel its foot), the wounds are a major inconvenience. They also can lead to a serious type of infection called sepsis.

Amputating the limb will prevent it from suffering repeated injuries. But it is a big deal. I recommend amputation only as a very last resort.

However, if all other potential therapies have failed, then amputation may be appropriate. Fortunately, dogs who have lost a limb generally lead completely normal lives.