Although it is major surgery, amputation can actually help dogs rather than hinder them by removing their source of pain and suffering. Limb amputation in dogs is ultimately supposed to improve their lives and only happens if your veterinarian believes the procedure can achieve it.
Most dogs will be happy to adapt to life on three legs with your help and the advice of your veterinarian. In fact, they are often so busy running around chasing balls and playing “fetch” that they barely notice that something is wrong.
How will my dog deal with amputation surgery?
Limb amputation in dogs may be difficult to think about at first, but it can do a lot of good for your severely injured pet. In fact, amputation of the dog is often the best option for dogs with serious injuries from car crashes, other accidents, or for those suffering from bone cancer or other serious illnesses.
Of course, it can’t be easy for your dog to learn how to move around like it used to be. The lack of a limb makes normal movement a chore, and your dog must learn to compensate for this before returning to his habitual, springy self. However, over time, most can compensate for the changes in weight distribution and learn to walk and even walk again. With time and understanding, they could soon be walking around in the garden or park – just like they used to be.
Make a tough decision
Seeing a happy and spirited dog walking down the street on three legs is a reminder that amputating limbs in dogs and amputating dogs doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Instead, think of it as the beginning of a new life for your dog, a positive option that can humanely extend their life and eliminate any pain they may have had before. Surgery will only take place if it is beneficial for your dog. So, you should know that if this happens, you are doing the best you can.
However, it is understandable that the decision to have your dog’s limb amputated is a difficult one. The surgery, recovery, and prognosis (depending on the reason for the amputation) should be discussed in-depth with your veterinarian as this is a big decision. Larger or heavier dogs may not handle amputations as well as lean, small dogs, and for cancer, amputation may not be a cure.
Consult with your veterinarian prior to surgery so that you can make an informed decision and do the best for your loyal canine friend.
Help Customize Your Pet: Limb Amputation in Dogs
If you and your veterinarian have agreed that amputation of the dog is the best thing you can do for your dog, then you should think about their aftercare and how they will adapt to their new life. Your dog needs help and support not only immediately after the operation but also when he is mobile again – after all, it can be a little different for a dog with three legs.
Keep these tips in mind for your dog’s health and happiness, and carefully follow your veterinarian’s advice.
- Follow your veterinarian’s aftercare instructions carefully and ask questions if you are unsure about canine amputation surgery.
- These instructions likely recommend keeping your dog in custody after surgery. Make yourself comfortable and entertain them in a safe and fun way.
- Don’t encourage your dog to jump no matter how hard he wants. They may be disappointed, but you must do what is best for them.
- Dogs need to build strength in their remaining limbs. Ask your veterinarian about a slow-growing exercise program.
- Your dog may find the help of a veterinary physical therapist helpful in building muscle – ask your veterinarian for details on a good one.
- At first, short tours are exhausting for your dog – but keep in mind that this can be a lot of effort.
- Ask your veterinarian about alternative forms of exercise, such as hydrotherapy/swimming, which may be easier for your dog (and which are still great fun).
- Your dog may find it more difficult to access their favorite furniture, such as beds. So provide ramps or steps, and make sure your friend’s food, water, and bed are easily accessible without jumping.
- Your dog may not be able to escape the danger as quickly as it used to. So keep him out of the way until your pet’s speed is back to his bravery!
- Keep an eye on your dog’s weight, as the weight gain puts more stress on the other legs and makes coping a lot harder. This is very important as your dog may be more prone to weight gain as their movement is reduced.
- Allow sufficient time for your dog to rehabilitate and adjust, and if you have any concerns, always seek additional information on the canine amputation recovery process.
- Other pets, especially those who enjoy playing with your dog, may initially be upset about the change of companion. Slowly re-introduce the patient and keep track of things.
- It is possible for pets to have phantom pain in distant limbs. So if your dog is uncomfortable, contact your veterinarian as further treatment may be needed.
- If you are concerned that your dog may not adapt to the changes, contact your veterinarian to discuss how you can make your dog’s life easier. Sometimes everyone needs a little help.
Many dogs are currently on three legs and enjoying life as much as ever, but that doesn’t make it easier for you and your pet to make a decision. Limb amputation in dogs may be good for some, but not so good for others. Think about your decision and discuss it with your veterinarian.
If amputation is the answer to your dog’s problem, keep in mind that in many cases, with patience, understanding, and love, your faithful dog will learn to handle him and be as happy as ever.