Below are some links to sites relating to surgery on dogs. I know a lot of owners out there have concerns about having their pets under anaesthetic. Recently it was discussed that some dogs were dying either during or after surgery. I personally have not had this awful experience, but apparently some Löwchen and other small breed owners have had close encounters! Although general anaesthesia and surgery always involve a certain amount of risk, with today's technology and highly trained staff it is very unlikely that your dog will have any serious trouble with the operation. Your Vet is the one who will have all the answers for you.



It is of extreme importance for the well-being of your pet that a splint or cast be well cared for at all times. You, as the pet owner, must assume this responsibility.

It should be realized that under certain conditions (i.e., getting wet, slippage from its original position, etc.) the splint or cast may not perform its function properly or may even do severe damage to the animal, such as causing gangrene of the foot. Examine the splint or cast daily. Watch for swelling of the leg above the splint, and pinch the toes through the splint daily to ensure the animal has good sensation in them and that the toes have not become swollen.

Keep the splint or cast dry at all times. When the animal must go outside during wet weather, a plastic bag can be used to keep the splint or cast dry. Remove this when the animal is back inside.

Talcum powder or cornstarch helps to prevent friction sores that may occur where the splint or cast rubs in the groin or the armpit of the animal.

If any of the following events occur, return the animal to the hospital that day, where you will be attended to by either the orthopaedic staff, if available, or someone from the emergency service:

  1. Any change in position or shape of the splint or cast on the limb

  2. Any excessive chewing of the splint or cast by the animal

  3. Any sign of excessive discomfort

  4. Any unusual or bad odours coming from the splint or cast

  5. Any unexplained soiling of the splint or cast that was not present before

  6. Any pronounced sores that develop at the top of the splint or cast that do not respond to talcum powder or cornstarch application

  7. Swelling of the toes, or the leg above the splint

  8. Inappetence, depression, or fever in your pet

Be sure to make and keep an appointment to have the splint or cast examined and adjusted by the doctor in charge.

No splint or cast can be worn in complete comfort by the animal, and minor licking or chewing is to be expected. A few animals will persist in mutilating even the most carefully made and fitted splints or casts. If there is even a suggestion of trouble, it is always best to have the animal examined right away.


Owners become a critical part of postoperative care when the animal returns home. They tend to be more lax if the animal has internal fixation rather than external fixation. If a splint is not present, the assumption is that the animal may return to normal function. Proper aftercare should be discussed with the owner and reinforced with a set of written instructions.

Animals should be restricted to the house, cage, small run, or leash walks until there is radiographic evidence of union. A return to normal function, namely, free running, prior to union will result in complications. This is true of all fractures.

C. D. Newton


There is one drug commonly used in anesthetic protocols that SHOULD NOT BE USED IN THE BOXER.  The drug is Acepromazine, a tranquilizer, which is often used as a preanesthetic agent. In the Boxer, it tends to cause a problem called first degree heart block, a potentially serious arrhythmia of the heart. It also causes a profound hypotension (severe lowering of the blood pressure) in many Boxers that receive the drug. 

Recently, on the Veterinary Information Network, a computer network for practicing veterinarians, an announcement was placed in the cardiology section entitled "Acepromazine and Boxers." This described several adverse reactions to the drug in a very short time span at a veterinary teaching hospital. All the adverse reactions were in Boxers. The reactions included collapse, respiratory arrest, and profound bradycardia (slow heart rate, less than 60 beats per minute). The announcement suggested that Acepromazine should not be used in dogs of the Boxer breed because of a breed related sensitivity to the drug.

Show Boxers

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