The ACVS Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination has been canceled. Please check the Phase I exam page for more details.

 

About Us    Donate    

You are here

Surgical Procedures

What is a Diplomate?
The term "ACVS Diplomate" refers to a veterinarian who has been board certified in veterinary surgery.

Bookmark and Share

Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Limb Amputation in Dogs and Cats

The term "ACVS Diplomate" refers to a veterinarian who has been board certified in veterinary surgery. Only veterinarians who have successfully completed the certification requirements of the ACVS are Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and have earned the right to be called specialists in veterinary surgery.

Your ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon completed a three-year residency program, met specific training and caseload requirements, performed research and had research published. This process was supervised by ACVS Diplomates, ensuring consistency in training and adherence to high standards. After completing the residency program, the individual passed a rigorous examination. Only then did your veterinary surgeon earn the title of ACVS Diplomate.

Overview/Description of the Procedure: 

Amputation of a front leg is performed by making an incision on the side of the chest that removes the entire limb including the shoulder blade (scapula). In some cases, the scapula may not be removed and the amputation is performed at the shoulder joint. 

Amputation of a hind leg is performed by making an incision around the thigh. A portion of the thigh bone (femur) may be left behind or the limb may be removed at the hip joint.

Conditions Commonly Treated Using Procedure: 

Limb amputation is performed for the treatment of cancer that cannot otherwise be removed. Most commonly, bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is treated with amputation. Amputation may also be performed for severe trauma to the limb.

Advantages: 

Amputation is very well tolerated by dogs and cats, provided they do not have extensive neurologic or orthopedic disease affecting other limbs. Amputation relieves pain due to disease or injury and allows the pet to return to normal or near-normal activity. Recovery from an amputation is usually rapid, with incisional healing in 1-2 weeks, and many patients able to stand and walk shortly after surgery.

Disadvantages: 

Patients that have significant mobility issues other than the affected limb may not be candidates for amputation. Risks of the procedure include bleeding, infection, and post-operative swelling at the surgery site.

Content Theme: 

This Animal Health Topic was written by and reviewed by Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.  Any opinions stated in this article are not necessarily the official position of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The American College of Veterinary Surgeons recommends contacting an ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon or your general veterinarian for more information about this topic.

To find an ACVS Diplomate, visit www.acvs.org/find-a-surgeon.