Hoppy and Wheelie Vest for Dogs

The OrthoPets Hoppy and Wheelie Vests are an innovative adaptive solution to help dogs who are missing one or both front legs (forelimbs) regain their mobility. Each OrthoPets Hoppy or Wheelie Vest is custom-made for each patient to be lightweight, sturdy, durable and, most-importantly, functional as per their individual needs. Each patient is unique and different, so these mobility solutions are designed depending on their conformation, diagnosis and mechanical needs to determine each pet’s device design requirements.

A patient missing one or both forelimbs will be limping and their altered posture and gait can result in long-term consequences such as injury and breakdown of the spine, neck, remaining forelimb or even hind limbs. These chronic pain syndromes and consequences can result in other issues and even premature death. These unique patients sometimes may not be a candidate for pet leg braces or animal prosthetics.

The OrthoPets Hoppy and Wheelie Vests support the spine and hind limbs in a natural and horizontal position to help protect against such injuries. These patients are supported in their adaptive devices either on a set of flexible skids or on wheels to allow them comfort and to transition into a life of mobility and independence.

Through the appropriate application and use of an OrthoPets Hoppy/Wheelie Vest, coupled with rehabilitation therapy, your pet can regain lost quality of life, mobility, comfort, and function.

Please feel free to contact us via phone or email with any questions you may have.

You will find examples of our Hoppy/Wheelie Vests below.

Hoppy and Wheelie Vest

When your pet is limping due to discomfort caused by an injury or instability, we understand the impact this has not only to the quality of life of your pet, but also to your family. Our sole focus is on the design and support of our custom animal orthotics and prosthetics to restore your pet’s mobility.

These special patients will require time and patience as they learn how to use their adaptive devices. A formal physical rehabilitation is critical for these pets to teach them how to propel, maneuver and turn their Hoppy or Wheelie Vest. Very young Hoppy and Wheelie Vest patients may require multiple devices as they will outgrow them as they develop into maturity.

What is the OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™?

The OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™ is a custom mobility device for animals missing or without function of their thoracic (front) limbs. This device is used as a transition to the OrthoPets Wheelie Vest. A sturdy plastic vest lined with comfortable foam or neoprene is fabricated from a fiberglass impression of the animal’s chest. OrthoPets’ technicians then add flexible skids to the bottom of the vest. With training our patients learn to bounce along on the skids creating more mobility and comfort in every day life. Some of our patients even learn to snow “ski” on the skids!

How does the OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™ improve quality of life?

Animals missing or with non-functional thoracic limbs often appear to “get along great.” They learn to stand and hop-walk on their pelvic (back) limbs or learn to tripod with their chest and pelvic limbs. However, long term this can create back and neck chronic pain syndromes leading to pain and sometimes premature death. Imagine the neck strain experienced by always looking up at the world. Imagine bouncing on your chest or balancing on half of your limbs to move around each day. The OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™ allows our patients to find horizontal again bringing the pelvic limbs and chest closer to level. As the animal learns to bounce in the vest he finds mobility and pain relief!

Acclamation to the OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™

At OrthoPets our rehabilitation team has developed techniques for acclimating patients in the OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™. Here are some tips to get you started. Our team is available by email, phone, or virtual appointment for further assistance.

  • Goals
    • Build confidence
    • Dedicate weight shift to the chest by way of the vest
    • Re-align pelvic limbs beneath the pelvis
    • Encourage forward movement in the device
    • Transitions: sitting, righting
  • General tips
    • Treats and praise encourage acceptance. Always work slowly.
    • Sessions should be short at first, just a few minutes in the vest with verbal and food reward only if there is no struggling/wiggling. Do not end the session until a moment when the animal is calm, then quickly treat, praise and take out of the vest.
    • Meals in the vest are a great way to link good experiences to being in the vest.
    • Moving forward. Use food treats as motivation by holding treat in front of the animal and encourage neck stretching to reach for treat. As this becomes habit move a bit further away to encourage pushing or hopping. Other playmates can be motivators too. With supervision allow familiar dogs or cats to interact with your animal encouraging movement in the vest.

Important: Best results are achieved with the guidance of a certified canine rehabilitation professional (CCRT or CCRP). These specially trained individuals will be able to use these guidelines to tailor a specific restorative rehabilitation program for your patient. If a certified professional is not available in your area you may schedule a virtual appointment with our rehabilitation team here at OrthoPets.

Transition to the OrthoPets Wheelie Vest™

Once the OrthoPets Hoppy Vest™ is mastered the next step to full mobility is conversion to the OrthoPets Wheelie Vest™. Contact OrthoPets when you are ready to transition. A custom wheel assembly will be mounted to the vest in place of the skids. By following the recommendations above you can train your pet to cover more ground, be more interactive, and more comfortable for life!