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OrthoPets Case Study: Shia

Shia is a 6-year-old female spayed mixed breed dog who lives in North Carolina. She presented in January 2017 with a partially torn CCL in her right hind leg. Shia’s owner wanted to pursue a conservative course of rehabilitation with an orthotic instead of surgery. Shia’s case was relatively straightforward, with a good possibility for a “curative outcome” which means we have provided a stable environment to allow the body to lay down functional scar tissue. After reviewing her media, additional componentry was not deemed necessary for suspension or control. However, due to her thin fur and prominent malleoli, it was decided that additional modifications would be made to the device to alleviate additional pressure on those prominent anatomical landmarks. Relief channels were ground into the foam of the distal tarsus lateral, medial and cranial. Then, a thin black, non-friction material called “glide” was added to this area.

Shia received her device in mid-January and used it in conjunction with a formal rehab program at Vanguard Veterinary Hospital in West End, North Carolina. Her rehab program included use of a gait analysis mat, so we wanted to share some of her GLS numbers. Initially, her owner was concerned because in her first week with the device, Shia actually showed more weight bearing out of the device than in it. She had a GLS score on her right hind of 77 with the device and 83 without it (higher number shows more weight bearing). This favoring of the leg can be common upon first receiving a device; patients do not yet trust the device to support them and experience muscle fatigue from starting to use muscles again that have atrophied due to the injury.

Shia’s orthotic did return to OrthoPets for an adjustment about one month into her time in her device because she developed an irritation at her achilles due to her distal migration of the device. The adjustment involved grinding the top of the shell to decrease the overall height as her flank/groin was pushing the device down and adding non-friction glide material to the achilles strap to help alleviate the rubbing. By this time, thanks also to her fantastic rehab work with Vanguard, she was at a GLS score of 100 on her right hind both with and without the brace, so her owner felt comfortable letting her go without the brace for a few days for the adjustments to be completed.

Now, not even four months after receiving her device, Shia is completely weight-bearing again and uses her orthotic just as a sports brace to help prevent re-injuring the ligament when she does high-impact activities like playing at the beach with her owner!