Background: Limb amputation may be recommended in domestic cats following a severe injury or disease. The purpose of the study was to report the signalment, the complications, recovery outcome, owner satisfaction and expectations of domestic cats following limb amputation.
Results: Medical records of 3 specialty hospitals were reviewed for cats that received a single limb amputation in a 10 year period (2007-2017). These cat owners were contacted, and 59 owners completed surveys, comprising the study population. The most common reasons for limb amputation were neoplasia (54.2%, 32/59), traumatic injury (40.7%, 24/59), bone or joint infection (3.4%, 2/59), and thromboembolism (1.7%, 1/59). Thirty-four cats (57.6%) had postoperative complications. Of the fifty-nine surveys, 52.5% reported minor complications and 5.1% reported major complications. There were no differences in postoperative complication rates for thoracic versus pelvic limb amputations. All owners reported either excellent (77.9%, 46/59), good (20.3% 12/59), or fair (1.7%, 1/59) satisfaction with the procedure. Based on their previous experiences, 84.7% (50/59) of owners would elect limb amputation if medically warranted for another pet. The remaining 15.3% of owners who would not elect limb amputation again had experienced death of their pet with a median survival time of 183 days.
Conclusion: Owners reported a positive satisfaction when considering complications, recovery outcome, and expectations. This study can be used by veterinarians to guide cat owners in the decision making process of limb amputation.