It can be an unusual sight, but we are all aware that there are pets who are missing a limb. There are a number of reasons an animal may need a limb removed. Just because they are lacking a limb or two, it doesn’t mean they have any less love to give. Many animals who have lost a limb adapt very well to the change, more so than a human ever could. We have also developed a number of ways to support these creatures in their time of need. If your pet has lost a limb or you are thinking about adopting a disabled animal and want to know more about looking after them, here is some advice to help you out.
Reasons for the Amputation
In most cases, amputation is considered to be a straightforward course of action when it comes to dealing with an injury or life-threatening health condition. The amputation of a limb isn’t usually undertaken lightly, but if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and will improve the length and quality of the animal’s life, then it will be the best option. For example, if a serious injury occurs, then removing the limb can be the most viable and least traumatic option for the pet. If there is a medical condition involved, such as cancer or another kind of progressive illness, then removing the limb may be the only option to stop the disease from spreading.
There could also be acquired or genetic conditions involved. Some pets are born with a bone missing from their limb. This presents as a crooked limb or even a stump at birth. Puppies and kittens can also acquire birth injuries that dislocate a joint or cause a fracture when the animal passes through the birth canal. Such injuries are very difficult to fix and in most cases, amputation is the best solution.
The surgery involved in limb amputation is normally straightforward, but the reasons for the surgery can affect this. For example, if the limb needs to be removed because the pet was hit by a car, then there may be other injuries that the veterinarian needs to sort out and be aware of before performing the surgery.
Animals recover remarkably well from an amputation surgical procedure. In many cases, your pet will be up and back to normal almost immediately. From a pet’s perspective, all they know is that they feel much better without the damaged/diseased limb.
During the recovery period, the animal may feel a little uncomfortable until the scars heal and pain relief is important. But after everything has healed and they have figured out how to maneuver themselves, you will be able to enjoy your time with your well-adapted pet.
Coping with the Restrictions
Exactly how much a limb amputation affects your pet after they have recovered will depend on what leg/legs have been removed, your pet’s behavior, their size, and the ways in which you manage everything. Building up strength in the remaining leg is something you should focus on. You can do this through exercises, such as swimming. If you have a cat without a limb, then they should be kept indoors to ensure they are safe and don’t injure themselves. If you have a dog without a limb, make sure you don’t let them jump off things too much or overdo it when you take them for a walk. Time is usually the best medicine and allowing your pet to adapt in their own way is the only thing you can do in most situations. A dog wheelchair should be considered to aid in mobility.
Many pets can walk very well with a missing limb, but your vet can advise you if a wheelchair is likely to aid mobility for your pet. Dogs and cats adapt very quickly to a wheelchair and are able to zip around just as fast as their able-bodied companions. Pet wheelchairs support the body when a limb has been amputated. Pets can go for walkies and do everything other dogs and cats can do, with the exception of jumping on the sofa, of course!
If your pet has to lose a limb, don’t panic. It will almost certainly give your pet a whole new lease of life. They will adapt easily, and a vet would not recommend it if they didn’t think it was the best option for your pet. If you are adopting a pet without a limb, make sure you ask plenty of questions and understand why they are in this condition.