OrthoPets Case Study: Finley96ea1fc7-a5cc-4ada-bd0c-736f7d91a4f3.jpg

Finley is a 5-year-old Golden Retriever who received a custom tarsus paw orthosis from OrthoPets in February 2016.

Finley was hit by a car in 2015 and suffered massive tissue loss. After several unsuccessful attempts to accomplish bone union, Finley was diagnosed with a malunion of all metatarsals. At this point further options (including bone morphogenetic proteins and other reconstructive procedures) were considered, however the owners did not want to pursue further surgical options.

Orthoses as a treatment for non-unions are challenging since an orthosis cannot completely prevent the patient from loading through the fractures while vertical forces are applied. Furthermore, due to the instability in the lower limb due to the fractures, the device has to be worn 24/7. This can be associated with soft tissue complications including sores and dermatologic issues. In Finley’s case, the veterinarian discussed these concerns with the owner, but since Finley seemed very comfortable when walking around in a splint it was decided to pursue treatment with an orthotic device.

An impression of Finley’s limb was made as well as required length measurements for fabrication. A non-articulating tarsus/paw orthosis with the addition of a “clamshell” piece along the cranial aspect was designed to control the applied forces. A removable foam liner was fabricated to increase intimacy to the limb for additional support. The paw shell design featured a rockered bottom to ease her gait and help with propulsion.

Finley was fitted with her device in March 2016 and the owner reported immediately that Finley was very comfortable in the device! In fact, the owners felt that she was moving better than she did for a long time and she even started running on one of their walks! Finley is still using her device full-time so that she has the support she needs when she is allowed out in the yard for exercise and in the house even if she is lounging around. It is very important that Finley gets several air breaks throughout the day when resting. This device will continue to be something that she uses for life. Every 12-24 months, we will need to assess the foam liner to see if it needs to be replaced as it will become compressed over time. The tread on her device will be replaced as well as it wears down, similar to needing new shoes. When you receive an orthosis from OrthoPets, you not only receive a custom-made device, but you receive our services for the life of your or your client’s pet!