Trauma as well as several diseases, such as bone cancer, may leave you with the heart wrenching decision to amputate one of your dog's legs. While this treatment course if never a first option, it is a very viable option and can help save your dog's life as well as restore their quality of life. If your dog's life is in danger or if they're likely to be in pain for the rest of their life, amputation may be the best course. If you have to have your dog's leg amputated, here is what you can expect after surgery:
While the surgical site may look gruesome and painful after a limb amputation, most dogs are not in a lot of pain afterwards. Dogs are usually up and walking within 12 to 24 hours after surgery. Some pain medication may be given to make your dog comfortable; however, you may find that your biggest challenge is keeping your dog confined and still so they don't open their wound.
As mentioned, dogs are usually up and moving within hours of surgery. While some might hobble or have trouble with stairs at first, most dogs adapt very easily when you remove a limb. A lot of this has to do with how weight is distributed in dogs. In a dog that has all their limbs, the weight is distributed over all four limbs. Since the hind legs support most of the weight, removing a front leg usually doesn't cause much shift in weight distribution. Removing a back leg does, but most dogs will learn to shift their weight to make up for it very fast.
Full recovery for limb amputation takes about 10 to 14 days. During the recovery period, you can expect for your dog to get more mobile and for the wound site to look better day by day. While most healing is done after the 2 week mark, you may still notice some bruising that will fade with time.
The prognosis for dogs who have had one of their limbs removed is very good. They will live a long, healthy life provided that the disease that led to the removal of their leg doesn't show up somewhere else in their body.
Limb removal surgery is harder on pet parents than it is on dogs. In most cases, your dog will be in less pain after surgery and will adapt to their new three-legged life very rapidly. For more information, contact a clinic such as Animal Emergency Clinic.