When Should I Consider Using A Knee Brace For My Dog
If you start to notice your dog having symptoms of a knee injury, supporting the joint is a great way to help your pup until you can get to the Vet to have an exam.
Symptoms of knee injuries include:
- Limping in the hind legs.
- Joint stiffness is most noticeable when resting after physical activity.
- Difficulty jumping or getting up from the floor.
- Sitting with one leg stuck out to the side.
Giving your dogs stifle joint extra support while it is injured can help prevent a more severe injury when healing. Your dog might have a CCL tear that can be prevented from a full rupture by the use of a knee brace!
Sharing My Colleagues Experiences Fitting Dogs With Acl Braces
Dr. Tanis Walker, DVMmy friend and colleaguehas fit three dogs with custom stifle braces with varying success. She has graciously allowed me to share her point of view and her photos with you.
I educated the owners on the downsides of stifle braces versus having stifle surgery performed , but the owners were concerned their dogs would not do well for either the surgery or prolonged rehab period, so we moved forward with fitting the dogs for the braces. The first stifle brace we did was GREAT . The second two dogs had a lot of fit issues despite multiple casts and remeasures for adjustments. They only work when the dogs wear them and you arent supposed to leave them on an unattended dog, so how much do they really help? I dont know. They were fun to do but also stressfulthey are $1200-1500 and if you get the measurements wrongugh.~Dr. Tanis Walker, DVM
Veterinarian and rehab practitioner, Dr. Mandi Blackwelder, graciously shared this perspective:
I Am Having Problems Getting My Dog’s Knee Brace To Fit What Do I Do
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, please describe the issue you are having and include 2-3 photos of the brace fitted to your dog to the best of your ability. This will allow us to see what you are seeing, how the brace currently fits on your dog, and how your dog’s leg is built. That information gives us the best chance of helping you find the perfect fit!
Can the brace be worn in water?
Yes, the brace can be worn in water since it is water-resistant. However, we recommend you remove the brace once your dog leaves the water. You must allow the brace dry fully before you reapply it to your dog. Do not place the brace in direct sunlight to dry as this can cause it to lose its shape.
Benefits Of A Knee Brace
A knee brace can provide many benefits to your dog and heal a variety of different ailments. One of the most notable injuries a dog can get is a torn ACL/CCL injury, which is a ligament injury resulting in a damaged knee. A leg brace can help to reduce pain from the tear, and in some cases, assist the injury in fully healing without the need for surgery. A veterinarian will help you determine if a leg brace is the best option for you and your pups ACL/CCL injury.
Additionally, knee braces can help reduce inflammation in the joints of dogs with arthritis, thanks to their heating and insulating powers. They also provide the support that is necessary for arthritic dogs to comfortably exercise so they can stay fit and healthy. It is an overall cost-effective way to help improve the quality of life in dogs with joint pain.
Some braces, like the Labra Dog Knee Stifle Brace Wrap, aid dogs in rehabilitating their muscles after an injury or surgery. This is an important healing step as it exercises the muscles to avoid future stiffness and muscle imbalance after the dog is healed.
Top 10 Best Knee Braces For Dogs 2023
Why we like it: This easy to use rear leg brace is great for giving your dogs entire leg balanced support and for reducing any chronic inflammation.
This brace is designed to support the entire rear leg of your dog. It hugs your dogs leg tightly, providing mobility support and reducing chronic inflammation that may be present in the muscles or joints of the leg. It is a great option if your dog has had a recent surgery or strain that requires complete, encompassing support.
The AGON Canine Brace is available in multiple different sizes, making it easy to find the best brace size for your pup. They also provide a detailed measurement guide so you can be sure the brace will perfectly fit your dog. The material is lightweight and flexible, and the addition of Velcro fasteners makes it easy to use.
The sizes of this product do tend to run small. If you are worried about the brace fitting properly, you can always purchase the next size up from what you think you will need. You can also look into a more adjustable brace, such as Pet Lovers Stuffs back leg brace.
Why we like it: The Ortocanis is handmade by experts in Barcelona and held to high manufacturing standards so it can provide as much support to your dogs knee as possible.
- Improves muscle flexibility and elasticity
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Agon Dog Canine Rear Small Brace Compression
Hi! Im Karen and a certified dog lover. As a freelance writer and blogger, I do my best to squeeze in some time with my dogs, learning more about the way they act and how I can make sure that they continue to stay well-cared for by yours truly.
My dogs have helped me through a lot, and this is my way of giving back to them! Besides animals, I also love to travel and cook, having explored my countrys restaurants and unique places. Follow me as I show you all the amazing tips and bits of information I learn along the way about our furry friends!
About Healing Arts Animal Care
Healing Arts Animal Care in Beaverton, Oregon provides veterinary acupuncture, pet rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy and athletic conditioning to the dogs and cats of the Portland Metro Area including Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin. We strive to create a team among you, your pet, your veterinarian and ourselves to create a whole package of care for your pet. Pets come through our door knowing that were going to have fun here and this isnt another trip to the vet. Through manual therapies, acupuncture, laser, ultrasound, underwater treadmill and creating a tailored individual home exercises, we strive to bring your injured pet back to speed, keep your elderly pet as an active member of the family, return your obese pet back to a functional friend and keep your athletic pet at the peak of his performance.
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What Is An Acl/ccl Injury
A torn CCL, the canine cruciate ligament, is one of the most common injuries a dog can sustain. The CCL is in the same area as a humans ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament many veterinarians and lay-people use CCL and ACL interchangeably when referring to an injury of this nature.
The CCL connects the back of your dogs femur bone to the front of the tibia. More simply put, it is the ligament behind the knee that connects the bone above the knee to the bone below it. When this ligament is damaged, either by a tear or a strain, the area becomes swollen, causing your dog pain. Damage can occur at any time, but it usually sustained during intense exercise or running.
A CCL injury requires rest and immobilization to repair itself. This is where a knee brace comes in. By providing support to the leg muscles, the CCL can begin to repair itself, and your dog can regain their mobility during the healing process.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to fully repair your dogs torn ligament. ACL/CCL surgery can be prohibitively expensive, costing from anywhere between $1100 to over $4500 depending on the type of surgery and who is performing the procedure.
Fitting A Balto Dog Knee Brace
Look at your brace and identify the abdominal belt, the collar link and the brace with its straps.Find the patella or knee cap of your dog. The hole of the brace should be centered on the knee cap of your dog.
Note: It is easier to fit the brace if your dog is standing.
- If your dog tends to lift or drag its leg instead of bearing weight on it while walking, check the lowest strap near the hock. It may be too tight and be putting too much pressure on the tendon, therefore loosen slightly.
- For breeds with long hair, please bear in mind a clipping might be necessary in order for the brace to fit better.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USE
As your pet has the potential to damage the brace or injured themselves, we recommend supervision of your dog at all time when wearing the brace.
Can A Dog Acl Brace Be An Alternative For Surgery
Doggy Brace is designed for preventive care and recovery from sprained ACLs. It is not an alternative to surgery if your vet believes surgery is the best course of action. A torn ACL will not heal on its own.
However, surgery may not be an option for your pet due to their health, age, or if they have an aversion to anesthetics. If this is the case, braces for an injured ACL can help support your dogs joint so they can comfortably move while they recover.
A sprained ACL should not require surgery. A brace is a fantastic option to support your dog while they recover.
Adjustable Strapping Accommodates Muscle
Braces provide support to allow your dog to remain mobile while undergoing treatment for a damaged or torn ACL, and can even act as an alternative to surgery.
The custom-made ACL braces for dogs that we fit have adjustable strapping to provide your dog with greater comfort and to allow you to easily remove the brace when your pet sleeps.
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Dog Knee Braces Arent Just For Injuries
Stifle braces arent only a great tool for dogs with CCL or ACL injuries. They can also help dogs with arthritis too. Stifle braces actually help to reduce the amount of pain your dog is experiencing from arthritis by supporting the joint properly. They are also helpful for dogs that are disabled or senior dogs, as well.
Ortocanis Original Knee Brace For Dogs
The Ortocanis original knee immobilizer is one of the best knee braces for dogs with joint pain and limping problems. The knee brace reduces the pain and swelling by improving balance among the muscle groups involved.
A knee brace that improves flexibility in tighter muscles and enables your dog to quickly regain the normal walking gait in affected limbs. The surface of this brace exerts slight pressure that alleviates the heavy burden on the joints, thus increasing their stability.
The brace has an elastic as well as a stabilizing effect. In case of a damaged cruciate ligament, you may make the dog use this brace before the actual surgical procedure . This helps prevent the loss of too much muscle mass.
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If You Choose To Brace
If youve read this litany and choose to pursue the knee brace option, I do not judge! Especially if you have an older, less active dog or a smaller dog. I understand that surgery is expensive, and physically and emotionally demanding.
But I draw the line here: if you elect to go with a dog ACL brace, please choose the custom braceone that is measured and fit for your dog.
Heres a list of reputable companies that manufacture and sell custom braces:
Why Our Dog Knee Brace Is The Best On The Market
Our dog knee brace is designed with two unique features. First- we have a built in achilles relief channel that cushions the achilles tendon and keeps the strap on the front of the leg, reducing pressure on the tendon. This will prevent breakdown of the achilles tendon and further injury. Second-our patellar bar prevents the drawer motion which is the primary cause of a CCL tear. It cages the knee and provides stability and prevents both medial and lateral movement. We use the same materials in our dog braces that are used for making human orthotics. Your special pet will receive the highest quality device on the market.
Beauty the Bald Eagle: A poacher shot Beauty, tragically maiming her beak so that she couldnt eat by herself anymore and was dependent on hand-feeding for survival. After three years a group of volunteers made her a prosthetic beak, which allowed her to grasp food herself and eat properly again.
Riley the Mare: Infections like the one Riley had, thanks to a contaminated metal plate that was placed in her limb, are so common that it seems to be a given that the horse will just have to be put down. But this quarter horses survival of the infection and the use of a prosthetic limb are showing people that this doesnt have to be the case. Rileys survival is truly an inspiration to many.
Preventing Dog Knee Injuries
Simple adjustments to your dogs daily routine can reduce the risks of your dog developing a knee injury.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
As we discussed , obesity is a major contributing factor in the development of ligament tears and joint erosion. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight through exercise and proper diet is one of the best ways to prevent a knee injury.
Exercise Your Dog Regularly
Regular, gentle exercise strengthens your dogs muscles and keeps them healthy. Make sure you are not allowing your dog to jump from very high distances or constantly run on very uneven ground to prevent damage to the CCL.
Understand Arthritis Signs
Being informed about the early warning signs of arthritis can help you step in and start giving your dog proper support via a or other rehabilitative activity. Arthritis can appear quickly, and without addressing the pain as soon as possible, may go past the point of tolerability by your dog, leaving them immobile and dependent on pain pills for life.
Consensus Views From Veterinary Specialists And General Practitioners On The Dog Acl Brace
So how do veterinarians feel about knee braces for dogs? Allow me to present the unofficial party lines:
The Veterinary Surgeon:
A cranial cruciate ligament rupture is a surgical problem. Period. Especially if the injury is associated with a meniscal tear, which 50-75% of them are. Meniscal tears are terribly painful and leg braces cant help those one bit.
Conservative management of a torn ACL in dogs is a bad idea, especially for large dogs. Using a brace and expecting the knee joint to heal and return to normal function is just wishful thinking. The fastest and most effective way to help these dogs get back on their feet is surgery.
The Rehab Practitioner:
Rehab can help a dog with a torn ACL more effectively than a brace can. And even if an owner elects for a brace, the dog should still have rehab.
The General Practioner who is pro brace:
Its a lot to ask of a client to cough up $5000 for a stifle surgery. I recommend this type of leg brace for clients who cant afford surgery because some stability has to be better than nothing. I also recommend braces as an alternative to surgery for dogs who just arent good anesthesia/surgical candidates for whatever reason. I see decent results with dog knee braces in my practice. I think they improve quality of life for my patients.
The General Practitioner who is anti brace:
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What Is The Acl Brace For Dogs
Sorry if youre perplexed. I know its not an easy choice! But its one of the most crucial choices youll ever make. If youre still unsure which type of acl brace for dogs is best for you, I recommend comparing the characteristics and functionalities of the acl brace for dogs listed above. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Can A Dog Knee Brace Be Worn On Both Legs
It is called bilateral bracing when a dogs hind legs are braced at the same time. The probability of a dog with an ACL or CCL tear injuring their remaining knee within a year is high. A double knee brace may be necessary for a variety of reasons. By bracing and stabilizing the uninjured knee, further injury can be avoided.
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