Evaluating Long-acting Local Anesthetic on Pain Control in Dogs Following Front Leg Amputation

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"Help us improve pain control for dogs that need a front leg amputation to treat their cancer!"
Animal: Dogs
Age: 6 years and older
Keywords: limb amputation, cancer, dog, canine, pain, anesthetic, surgery, osteosarcoma
Type: Anesthetic / Surgery
14 Participants
Background and purpose
The purpose of this study is to determine if a local anesthetic provides pain control and reduces the amount of opioid pain medication needed for patients undergoing front limb amputation compared with dogs not receiving the local anesthetic in their amputation surgical wounds.
What happens in this study

If the exams, tests, and procedures show that your pet can take part in the study, and you choose to enroll them, then the following will happen as part of the study:

  • Owner completion of a brief survey (Canine Brief Pain Index) about chronic pain prior to and after amputation
  • Multiple pain evaluations before and after surgery
  • Amputation of one of the front legs to remove the tumor
  • A video recorded walking test every 12 hours after surgery while hospitalized
Pet owner responsibilities

If you wish to have your pet to take part in this study, you will be responsible for:

  • Bringing your dog to the UC Davis Soft Tissue Surgery Service and consent to an amputation surgery and 48 hours of post-surgery hospitalization.
  • Covering the costs of the cancer diagnosis and initial blood/urine analyses.
  • Covering any costs for any medical treatment needed because of any adverse events occurring during the study.
Participation requirements

We are looking for dogs that were diagnosed with cancer (based on cytology, biopsy or a presumed diagnosis of cancer based on anatomic site and radiographic findings) in one of the front legs and received a recommendation for amputation as part of their cancer treatment.

We cannot include dogs that are unable to walk before amputation.

To see if your dog can take part in the study, we will need to run blood and urine analyses to ensure that your dog can receive a NSAID following amputation, orthopedic and neurologic exam to make sure that your dog is a good candidate for amputation and will have a reasonable quality of life following amputation, and a one minute video recorded walking test.

Benefits and risks of participating
Taking part in this study may help to better control pain following your dog's surgery.

Risks of front leg amputation include surgical site infection, inflammation, dehiscence (when the sutures come apart prematurely) or seroma formation, which is an accumulation of sterile fluid under the skin that decreases with minimizing exercise and warm compresses. During surgery risks include bleeding, which may be life-threatening. Anesthetic risks include aspiration pneumonia, adverse reaction a drug and death. All of these are risks associated with leg amputation and are not specific to the study.
Liposomal bupivacaine (a long-acting local anesthetic) may cause increase inflammation at the surgical site and liposomal bupivacaine or saline may increase the formation of a seroma however these risks are purely speculative and have not been shown in previous veterinary research.
The study covers 24 hours of hospitalization, pain medications and a discount on the surgery.
PDF Docs
Clinical Trial Informational Flyer
Study duration and period
After surgery, your dog will need to remain hospitalized for 48 hours following amputation and will need to return to the VMTH 10-14 days following amputation for incision recheck and suture removal. The study will be completed at the follow-up appointment or when the incision has healed.
Recruitment period
From April 18, 2019
UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
1 Garrod Drive
Small Animal Clinic - Soft Tissue Surgery
Davis, CA 95616
Dr. Ingrid Balsa

Have any questions or want to learn more? Leave your contact details below and the research team will reach out to you.


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