Forelimb Amputation in an Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
Rui Bernardino, DVM; Teresa Fernandes, DVM; Narciso Lapão, DVM
Jardim Zoológico e de Aclimação em Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal


A 3-year-old female ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), weighing 6.2 kg, was assessed for a severe avulsion of the right forelimb at the level of the proximal third of the radius. The trauma was inflicted by a jaguar (Panthera onca) through the enclosure’s separation fences during the night.

In the morning, the animal was very calm, most likely in pain and shock, and it was easily caught in a net and immobilized with tiletamine-zolazepam 5.3 mg/kg IM (Zoletil 50®, Virbac Portugal, Almeirim, Portugal) via hand-syringe. Shortly after, 0.35 mg of morphine SC (Morfina 1% Braun®, B. Braun Medical, Queluz, Portugal) was administered, and the animal was maintained on isoflurane 1% (Isoflo®, Veterinaria Esteve, Esteve Farma, Carnaxide, Portugal) during the whole procedure. After 1 hour 30 minutes, fentanyl 0.02 mg IV (Fentanil B. Braun® 0.1 mg, B. Braun Medical, Queluz, Portugal) was administered to improve anesthesia.

It was decided to amputate the forelimb by removing the scapula (forelimb amputation with scapulectomy). In order to preserve the skin, the incision line started over the scapular spine in distal direction up to the edge of the remaining skin, and the subcutaneous tissue was undermined. After the amputation, the remaining skin was removed. The thoracodorsal and axillary artery and vein were separately ligated and divided using a 4-0 multifilament non-absorbable suture (silk; Silkan, B. Braun) and the muscle and subcutaneous tissue using a 3-0 monofilament absorbable suture (polydioxanone; PDS, Ethicon) with a cruciate pattern for the former and simple interrupted for the last. The skin was closed with a horizontal mattress using 2-0 multifilament non-absorbable suture (silk; Silkan, B. Braun). The ocelot was medicated with morphine 0.17 mg SC (Morfina 1% Braun®, B. Braun Medical, Queluz, Portugal) just before the end of the surgery, cephalosporin 90 mg SC (Ceporex Vet 18%®, Schering-Plough Animal Health, Schering-Plough Veterinária, Cacém, Portugal) and meloxicam 1.5 mg PO (Metacam®, Boehringer Ingelheim, Labiana Life Sciences, Spain). Post-surgically, the animal was kept isolated and the suture area covered with a modified Robert Jones bandage. The suture was taken off on the 10th day after surgery, and the recovery was uneventful as was the reintegration with the male in the enclosure. The animal is perfectly healthy and adapted to its new condition.

Scapular removal is often preferred, because more distal procedures produce less aesthetically pleasing results once the potential for unsightly muscular atrophy around the scapular spine and acromial prominence is eliminated.1,2 Removal of the scapula may render the chest wall more susceptible to blunt trauma.3 Due to the well-developed muscles in this species, the shoulder disarticulation is more difficult, and the prominent scapula spine is prone to being exposed due to post-surgical atrophy of the remaining muscles. In the non-domestic felines, scapulectomy is more adequate and can be a reasonable surgery option.

Literature Cited

1.  Fossum, T.W. 1997. Small Animal Surgery. Mosby-Year Book, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri. Pp. 1017–1019.

2.  Johnson, A.L., and D. Dunning. 2005. Atlas of Orthopedic Surgical Procedures of the Dog and Cat. Elsevier Inc., New York City, New York. Pp. 100–101.

3.  Slatter D. 1993. Textbook of Small Animal Surgery, 2nd ed. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pp. 1901–1906.


Speaker Information
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Rui Bernardino, DVM
Jardim Zoológico e de Aclimação em Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

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