OrthoPets Blog

Athena and Her OrthoPets Below Tarsus Prosthetic Device (Dog Below Ankle Prosthetic Device)

When Athena was adopted, her new owner brought her to see our Partner in Florida, Dr. Block. Athena had an apparent congenital partial amputation of the left hindlimb below the tarsus (ankle), and Dr Block prescribed a custom prosthetic device (dog fake leg) for her.

OrthoPets fabricated a below-tarsus prosthetic for Athena. Since she was still fairly young when the device was prescribed, Athena may have need for another prosthetic to be fabricated once she reaches skeletal maturity, to ensure that her prosthetic fits and supports her adult conformation properly.

Dr. Block’s goals with the use of the prosthetic device were to improve Athena’s posture at a stance and her biomechanics during gait, and to prevent long term compensatory mechanisms developing. Athena seemed to take to her device right away, and the purple color looks really good on her! OrthoPets looks forward to seeing how Athena progresses in her device.

Kobi and His Bilateral OrthoPets Stifle Devices (Dog Knee Braces)

Kobi is a 2 year and 10 month old, neutered male, German Shepherd Dog/Labrador Retriever Mix. He presented to his veterinarian acutely non-weight bearing in late 2019, and was diagnosed with a torn Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL/ACL) in his right pelvic limb.

Kobi’s veterinarian prescribed an OrthoPets stifle device (dog knee brace) for his right hind limb to control tibial thrust and provide support to the stifle joint (knee joint). OrthoPets fabricated a stifle device with a tarsal cuff attached for suspension.

Kobi took to his right stifle orthosis almost immediately, but he still needed a little strengthening rehabilitation to help prevent knuckling and to help him learn to flex his stifle and tarsus (knee and ankle) in the device.

Shortly after getting into the support of the right, stifle device, Kobi suffered an acute rupture of his left CCL (ACL) and his veterinarian reached out to OrthoPets with a prescription for a bilateral (two limbs) orthosis.

Kobi has been doing really well in his bilateral stifle devices, and with the help of rehabilitation has learned how to move properly in the devices and has returned to his active lifestyle!

Lucy and Her OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace)

Lucy and her best friend Murphy

Lucy is an approximately 10-year-old, spayed female Beagle, who presented to Dr. Michelotti at Centre Animal Hospital with a gastrocnemius rupture at the musculotendinous junction. Dr Michelotti prescribed a custom OrthoPets tarsal orthotic (dog ankle brace) for long term palliative support to Lucy’s injury, and OrthoPets fabricated a caudal-shell style, non-articulating tarsus, articulating paw device for Lucy.

Lucy’s size presented some unique challenges to the fit and function of her device; her skinny leg made it difficult to keep the device suspended properly, and her gait pattern presented some challenges with preventing any caudal collapse. Lucy’s owners were very receptive to our suggestions and worked very hard to perfect their donning (putting device on the leg) technique. They also sent Lucy’s device to OrthoPets in order for us to make adjustments to try and resolve the issues.

It took about 5 months of regular communication and assessment of media, and a couple adjustments, but we were finally able to build an external wedge with a caudal kickback that accommodated Lucy’s unique way of walking while keeping her in proper alignment so that she no longer collapsed caudally (toward the rear) when walking in her device. We also ground down the profile of the paw segment, installed a custom metatarsal push-pad, and added a custom Achilles hammock to help with suspension of Lucy’s leg in the device.

OrthoPets is so happy that we were able to work so closely with the owners to get Lucy comfortable and properly supported in her device, and we hope that she continues to do well in the support of her orthosis!

Melba and Her OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Melba is a fourteen year-old, spayed female, Australian Shepherd. She was diagnosed with a torn right, cranial cruciate ligament (CCL/ACL) in October 2019. Melba has a very unique gait pattern where she walks with her right leg under her midline. She has a history of a TPLO (knee surgery) done on her left CCL (ACL). Due to her age, her owners were not wanting to pursue a second TPLO.

Melba’s veterinarian, Dr. Mandi Blackwelder, who is one of our Partner Clinics in Oregon, would love for Melba to be able to return to normal walks and stabilize her stifle joint.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle device (dog knee brace) with a tarsal cuff (ankle cuff) to aid in suspension and keep the stifle device in place. The goal of the device is to stabilize the stifle joint and prevent tibial thrust.

Melba received her device in December 2019. Her initial fitting went well with the exception of her unique gait. During her first recheck in the middle of December, she showed much improvement, and is using her leg more to go on short walks. Dr. Mandi Blackwelder is currently working with her in rehabilitation to help with her gait pattern.

Larry the Alpaca and His OrthoPets Fetlock Hoof Device (Alpaca Wrist Device)

Larry is an 11 year old MC Alpaca who developed digital pad necrosis and underwent amputation of the medial digit on the left forelimb. He was also born with angular limb deformity and significant valgus of the fetlocks.  His case presented to OrthoPets medial support of the remaining lateral digit and to protect further valgus limb deviation.

OrthoPets fabricated a non-articulated fetlock, non-articulated hoof device (alpaca wrist device) with removable neoprene liner for added stability and durability (he’s in a herd with 32 other Alpacas!).

On the initial fitting, Larry took to it easily but tended to deviate into fetlock valgus, due to the severity of the instability of that joint, which cause pressure sores. Due to the severe joint instability, the device was further modified with a special addition to the hoof segment for more medial ground contact and better alignment. This seemed to be exactly what the device needed and did not cause any concerns with use, which was originally an unpredictable outcome.

Larry now loves his device and lives happily and comfortably with the rest of the heard in Minnesota. We are always thrilled to receive pictures of adorable and charismatic Larry in his orthosis!

Left: Completed device before any use or adjustments. Right: Modified hoof segment.

Callie and Her Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Callie is a 9 year-old, 74 lb., spayed female, Golden Retriever from Florida. She was diagnosed with a CCL (ACL) rupture in her left stifle (knee). Callie has a history is multiple lipomas, a low-grade sarcoma and lipoma removed from her right hind caudal/proximal thigh. She also has a large flank lipoma on her left hind which is easy to move cranially so there is not a concern of it getting in the way of her stifle device (dog knee device).

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle device to help support her veterinarian’s goal in providing comfort and letting her return to light play and walks.

Callie was fitted for her OrthoPets stifle device on April 3rd, 2020, and is currently doing great and looks beautiful in her purple, stifle device.

Dolly and Her Bilateral OrthoPets Carpus Devices (Dog Wrist Braces)

Dolly is a 12 year old spayed female English Bulldog mix who presented to Dr. Kern at Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation for assessment for bilateral carpal orthotics (dog wrist braces). Dolly suffered severe bilateral antebrachial trauma due to a dog bite incident in November of 2019.

Among other ailments, the accident resulted in right forelimb digital flexion failure and carpal hyperextension, neurological deficits of the left forelimb with loss of digits and paw pads, and local hyperesthesia. She underwent extensive wound management over the course of several months.

OrthoPets fabricated stylish leopard print bilateral non-articulating carpal orthotics with non-articulating paw segments. They featured removable inner liners for greater comfort and support, as well as accommodative insoles to protect the sensitive healing skin. The left device featured a buildup of crepe material to normalize the limb length discrepancy. 

Dolly has been in her devices since the end of March 2020 and is overall doing well! She is still very sensitive on her weight bearing surfaces and is learning to trust the orthotics, but is resilient and tries so hard. With time, Dolly will receive the full benefits of her carpal orthotics.

Amos and His OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace)

Amos is a 5-year-old, NM, Rat Terrier who presented to Dr. Bevan at Central Texas Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital with acute onset right hind limb lameness and plantigrade stance after running in the yard. Amos was diagnosed with a complete Achilles tendon laceration, and had a surgical repair of the tendon in July, 2020.

Dr. Bevan prescribed a custom tarsal device (dog ankle brace) to support Amos’ tendon during healing and allow for progressive reloading of the Achilles complex and OrthoPets fabricated a caudal-shell style, articulating tarsus, articulating paw device for Amos.

Amos is a very high energy and active dog who loves to run and chase his ball. Amos acclimated to his device very quickly, but was having some trouble with the intimacy of the fit of his device on his tiny leg. OrthoPets did some adjustments on the orthosis to tighten up the fit, and Amos has been more comfortable in his device and is doing much better since the adjustments.

Amos has been in the support of his device for a little over a month and Dr. Bevan has begun to return force to the leg by adding flexion at the tarsus (dog ankle). OrthoPets hopes that Amos continues to do well in the support of his device and is happy to be a part of improving Amos’ quality of life!

Before and after photos of Amos!

Oliver and His OrthoPets Stifle Brace (Dog Knee Brace)

Oliver is an 11 year old, 76 pound, neutered male, Weimaraner Mix from New York who was diagnosed with a CCL (ACL) rupture on his right hindlimb. Other medical history for Oliver includes Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis in 2015 and Anaplasmosis about 3 years ago.

Oliver received an OrthoPets standard stifle device with a tarsal cuff (knee brace with ankle cuff) to help aid in suspension. Oliver received his device on April 1st, 2020, and has been doing great so far. His mom, Kelly, is taking him on short walks to help get him accustomed to his new stifle device.

Oliver’s goals of the stifle device include: maintaining normal function, avoiding surgery and protecting his left stifle.

Kuno (UK Ministry of Defense) His OrthoPets Devices

You may recently have seen an article or two about Kuno, a 3 year old Belgian Malinois military working dog from the UK, who will be receiving the PDSA Dickin Medal for his service during a night raid in Afghanistan. During the raid, Kuno charged in, tackled the enemy gunman, and changed the course of events for his team, likely saving all of their lives. Unfortunately during his charge, he was shot in both hind legs, requiring life-saving care, and eventually requiring the amputation of his left hind paw due to infection.  He also had serious instability and damage to his remaining full right hind leg from his wounds.


OrthoPets became involved once Kuno returned home and his handlers were looking for solutions to let Kuno be fully mobile again as he worked on his extensive rehabilitation program, just like a wounded human would. The decision was made to first put his newly healed partial hind limb into a custom prosthesis to let him bear weight more evenly and hopefully take some of the pressure off the remaining full limb. His prosthesis is a standard below tarsus (ankle) prosthesis, featuring an extension to make up the missing height, a clamshell fastening to keep it in place, a soft removable liner for a snug and close fit, and rugged bike tread to let Kuno return to an active lifestyle.
After two months getting some miles on the prosthesis and getting increasingly comfortable with it, Kuno’s handlers then opted to pursue a custom tarsal brace for his unstable right hind, which had sciatic nerve damage due to his previous injuries and a nearly plantigrade stance from compensating. Until then he had been wearing a hard cast to support the right hind, so we built a non-articulated tarsus, articulated paw segment device to strongly support that unstable ankle while still allowing for as functional a gait pattern as possible. As you can see, Kuno has adjusted brilliantly to being the first ever military working dog in the UK to receive custom VOP devices, and is able to enjoy his well-earned retirement with his bionic legs!