OrthoPets Blog

April 2019 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Nesta

Nesta Marley is a 2-year-old MN Scottish Terrier, adopted from a Scottish Terrier rescue group, who was born with right forelimb ectrodactyly syndrome with medial partial syndactyly arthrogryposis of carpal and MCP joint and left ulnar agenesis and amelia of digits. Nesta has had two different prosthetic devices from two different companies for his left forelimb without success. 

X-ray of Nesta’s left forelimb

In April of 2018 OrthoPets began working with Nesta Marley. OrthoPets discussed the difficulty and concern for suspension for the left forelimb prosthesis due to poor humeral access and a small antebrachium. Nesta’s wonderful owner was determined to find a solution for him so he could live a normal life. The first device fabricated by OP would not stay on, despite many adjustments. We were getting closer to finding a solution, however, as this had been the most successful device he had tried so far. Nesta and his owner decided it was best to drive out to OP from New Jersey to find a solution for him in person. 

OrthoPets worked for about a week with Nesta and his owner to come up with a new design to stay on his leg. The new device was streamlined as much as possible, the humeral cuff was removed, and a new silicone antebrachial liner was fabricated. This was the first time experimenting with silicone as a solution for better purchase.  As soon as the new device was donned, Nesta Marley took off running in his new device down OrthoPet’s hallway. The OP Staff and his owner watched him nervously to see if the prosthesis would come flying off, but it did not! Finally, the OP Team had found a design that stayed on his challenging limb. Nesta even got to walk on concrete or the first time in his life.  

OrthoPets has received regular updates on progress and Nesta still loves his new leg. He is even in a contest to be voted Top Dog in New Jersey and we wish him the best of luck. 

Featured Partner Clinic: Avondale Veterinary Healthcare Complex (Iowa, USA)

Dr. Christie Carlo graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. She spent the next 13 years seeing small animal patients (dogs and cats) in the Chicago western suburbs and Pella, IA. Dr. Carlo began searching for options to treat her patients with more than just a pill to manage their pain and discomfort associated with surgery, injury, and age. This led to her current position as a rehabilitation veterinarian.

In 2009 Dr. Carlo joined Avondale Veterinary Healthcare Complex where she began to pursue certification to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute (CRI). Becoming a CCRT has opened many opportunities to learn and pursue various avenues of pain management, surgery, and assistive devices that make dogs and cats more comfortable and mobile.

Dr. Carlo’s first orthotic case was in 2010. The owner was committed to the health and well-being of his dog so we continued to look for options to help her walk better. OrthoPets was contacted and the staff was extremely helpful making the stifle (knee) brace for this 13 year old Labrador possible. Since then Dr. Carlo has worked with patients placing braces on front and rear legs to support various tendon and ligament injuries. She also helped a stray shelter dog walk on all 4 legs after getting her paw severed in a trap by placing the dog in a prosthetic. Sadie was rescued by Animal Lifeline of Iowa and soon adopted into her forever home. Sadie’s story can be seen at avondalevet.com.

In addition to general veterinary medicine, Dr. Carlo enjoys all facets of canine and feline rehabilitation medicine including massage therapy, underwater treadmill (hydrotherapy), stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), laser therapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, musculoskeletal ultrasound evaluations, nutritional consults, tissue mineral analysis, whole food nutritional supplements, exercise therapy, myofascial trigger point-dry needling, and assistive devices. Dr. Carlo works closely with a certified veterinary chiropractor and acupuncturist and a talented surgeon. All of these diagnostic and therapeutic modalities are available at Avondale Veterinary Healthcare Complex and allow Dr. Carlo to help her patients feel the best they can.

Dr. Carlo is a member of the Greater Des Moines Veterinary Medical Association (GDVMA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA), the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management (IVAPM), and the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV). Dr. Carlo recently finished her 3 year appointment to the board of the AARV as Secretary.

Dr. Carlo can be reached at Avondale Veterinary Healthcare Complex. Please call the clinic to make an appointment at 515-262-6111, email at info@avondalevet.com, and visit Avondale’s website at www.avondalevet.com.

We are always looking to partner with professionals that share the same goals and vision in animal rehabilitation! If you are a rehabilitation professional and are interested in becoming a partner clinic, please reach out to us at info@orthopets.com!

Featured Partner Clinic: Paradise Animal Hospital (Maryland, USA)

Dr. Jennifer King grew up in Northern Virginia. She graduated from St. George’s University Vet School in 2006. She has practiced veterinary medicine in Maryland since 2008 and became certified in rehabilitation & physical therapy in 2011. She is interested in neurology, ophthalmology, feline medicine and pain management. She practiced emergency medicine and rehabilitation for 5 years before joining Paradise Animal Hospital. After recently losing her three legged Doberman named Darby, she is down to just one furry companion a cat named Lovely (named by her son). But she has a full house with her two young sons, Robert and Isaac, husband Daniel and her mother whom helps care for the boys!

The rehabilitation center at Paradise Animal Hospital has an underwater treadmill, a pool, cold laser, ultrasound, E-stim and many exercise therapy tools. The team has worked together for more than 10 years and is excited to offer custom made OrthoPets devices as an option for our clients seeking a non surgical solution for orthopedic injury in their pets as well as facilitate the recovery from complex tension injuries.

For More Information, please visit: http://www.paradiseanimalhospital.com

We are always looking to partner with professionals that share the same goals and vision in animal rehabilitation! If you are a rehabilitation professional and are interested in becoming a partner clinic, please reach out to us at info@orthopets.com!

March 2019 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Katie the Cat

Katie, a 10-year-old domestic short hair, suffered from degenerative Achilles tendon changes which contributed to the rupture of her gastrocnemius and stretching of her superficial digital flexor tendon after falling off the counter last fall. She had surgery to repair the damaged tendon and to place a transcalcaneal screw to hold the joint in extension and minimize tension on the Achilles. The screw was removed 8 weeks later.

Katie then went to see OrthoPets partner, Dr. Tari Kern at Pawsitive Steps in Michigan. Cats don’t always make the best candidates for orthoses, but Dr. Kern is no stranger to working with felines. She will even walk them in the underwater treadmill, so she was up for the challenge. To reach Katie’s goal of returning to normal function, she was fitted with a pink camo tarsal paw orthosis with articulation at both the tarsus and paw and internal and external wedges. She moved well at her fitting, encouraged by moving her crate around the treatment room.

Rehab is not just for dogs. At her first follow-up visit, Katie climbed up and down stairs as well as rocked the “catalettis.” She has since advanced, and the paw shell has been removed. Dr. Kern continues to work with Katie on gait and hind limb and core strengthening.

LEFT: At her first follow-up visit, Katie rocks the “catalettis” and shows off her tarsal paw orthosis.
RIGHT: Close-up of Katie’s device

Forelimb Prosthetics – Is My Pet or Patient a Candidate?

In order for a pet/patient to be a candidate for a front leg prosthetic device, there are three minimum requirements needed:

1). The pet/patient needs to have at least 30%-40% of the radius and ulna remaining so that the pet/patient can control the prosthetic. Less than this amount of radius and ulna means the patient is unable to control the length of the socket prosthesis with its forearm.

2). The pet/patient must have a functional elbow joint in order to control the prosthesis. This means that the pet/patient needs to have full control over its muscles and condition of the elbow joint must be amenable to use of the limb during weight-bearing.

3). The prosthesis must be able to gain purchase and suspension from the humerus. This requires access to the medial side of the humerus approaching the patient’s armpit.

Still unsure if your pet is a candidate for a forelimb prosthesis? Shoot us an email at info@orthopets.com or give us a call Monday through Thursday 9am5pm MST and we will be able to help you determine if a hindlimb prosthesis is right for your pet or for your patient.

Hindlimb Prosthetics – Is My Pet or Patient a Candidate?

In order for a pet/patient to be a candidate for a back leg prosthetic device, there are three minimum requirements needed:

1). The pet/patient must have at least 30%-40% of the tibia and fibula remaining so that the patient can control the prosthetic. Less than this amount of tibia and fibula means the patient is unable to control the length of the socket prosthesis.  

2). The pet/patient must have a functional stifle and hip joint in order to control the prosthesis. This means that the patient needs to have full control over its muscles and condition of the stifle and hip joints must be amenable to use of the limb during weight-bearing.

3). If the amputation or limb deformity is above the tarsus joint, the prosthesis will gain purchase and suspension onto of the pet/patient’s lumbar spine and a contralateral femoral cuff. This requires access to the medial side of both femurs and the pet/patient’s ability to wear a chest harness.  If the amputation or limb deformity is below the tarsus joint (pet/patient presents with both medial and lateral malleoli and the calcaneus, the prosthesis will gain purchase and suspension above these bony landmarks.

All prosthesis cases require x-rays for us to better assess limb length, bone quality, bone shape, and joint quality.

Still unsure if your pet is a candidate for a hindlimb prosthesis? Shoot us an email at info@orthopets.com or give us a call Monday through Thursday 9am5pm MST and we will be able to help you determine if a hindlimb prosthesis is right for your pet or for your patient.

Featured Partner Clinic: Walking Paws Rehab (Colorado, USA)

Danyel Wynn DVM, CCRT, cVMA started her career at an equine rehabilitation center for injured or abused horses. She would assist with performing physical therapy on the horses and once healed train them to assist special needs children through hippotherapy. This motivated her to pursue a bachelors in physiology and veterinary science from the University of Arizona.

While in college Dr. Wynn performed research at the Arizona Cancer Center studying drug development to prevent the migration of ovarian cancer. In 2009 she then moved to Colorado to pursue her doctorates in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University.

Upon graduation she worked in wildlife anesthesiology in South Africa. Danyel has worked on many species including rhinos, lions, giraffes, wildebeests, monkeys, zebra, and sables.

Upon returning to the US she worked in general practice while pursuing her certification in rehabilitation and acupuncture. She has also undergone training in pain management through Peak Performance. After transitioning to sports medicine she quickly worked up to becoming medical director at one the local rehab clinics.

Dr. Wynn has great experience in teaching veterinarians, physical therapists and technicians from all over the world. She is a mentor for Canine Rehabilitation Institute and Bel Rea Community College. She is always happy to take on any challenge and strives to help pets get back on their paws.

Dr. Wynn started Walking Paws Rehab in 2017. She offers many services such as rehabilitation, laser therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, shockwave, ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy, manual therapy, hydrotherapy, and (V-OP) veterinary orthotics and prosthetic devices through OrthoPets.

For more information, please visit Walking Paws Rehab’s website

We are always looking to partner with professionals that share the same goals and vision in animal rehabilitation! If you are a rehabilitation professional and are interested in becoming a partner clinic, please reach out to us at info@orthopets.com!

February 2019 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Penny the Baby Giraffe

Penny was referred to OrthoPets from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as an 8-week-old reticulated giraffe calf that presented with angular limb deformity due to bilateral fetlock and carpus joint laxity.

Penny’s injuries occurred after she had slipped and fell. OrthoPets had the opportunity to consult with Penny’s doctors about temporary devices to help support her limbs while OrthoPets and her doctors designed custom orthoses. It was determined that long-term orthoses would be beneficial for Penny’s pathology, provide the appropriate stabilization, and would ease the daily care of her limbs as the orthoses would be easier to don and doff.

Unfortunately, before the first fitting of her custom-made orthoses, Penny was rushed to emergency surgery at CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University where the veterinary staff discovered that an existing abscess had spread further into her abdomen and found signs of bone infection in at least three of her legs. They also discovered a hip dislocation that was not previously seen in numerous X-rays. Her veterinary staff made the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize her.

One of the major orthoses challenges related to Penny’s case was how rapidly Penny was growing. To solve this challenge, telescoping componentry was used to connect the orthosis shell components together to the mechanical hinges that would allow for length adjustments to accommodate her growth. A primary orthoses goal for Penny’s case was to maintain sagittal plane flexion ROM, restrict hyperextension, stabilize frontal plane varus and valgus ROM, and prevent abnormal transverse plane motion.

OrthoPets is honored to have had the opportunity to be a part in caring for Penny, and we hope her unique device design may benefit future large breed animals in need.

Featured Partner Clinic: Equisport Medicine Integrative Veterinary Services (Washington, USA)

Christin Finn DVM, CVA, VSMT, CCRT is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Finn completed training and certification in Veterinary Chiropractic and Osteopathic Manipulation, as well as Veterinary Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dr. Finn has owned and operated Equisport Medicine since 1999.  She has over 20 years of experience caring for sport horses of many disciplines including racetrack, jumping, dressage and eventing. She completed the FEI veterinary training course in 2001 and served as a course veterinarian at the Rolex Four Star Event in Kentucky. In addition, she has four years of experience practicing small animal emergency medicine and surgery.

In addition, Dr. Finn has four years experience practicing small animal emergency medicine and surgery.

As her career progressed, Dr. Finn chose to shift the focus her practice to integrative veterinarian medicine. Integrative veterinary medicine is a comprehensive holistic approach to treating the whole animal, not just one ailment. Dr. Finn started her career as an ambitious equine and small animal emergency veterinarian. She was determined to solve problems and fix animals. Although Dr. Finn was very successful with many cases presented to her, as time progressed, she sought to have more of a relationship and partnership in helping her patients to heal both their physical and behavioral ailments. Rather than simply treating illness as it arose, Dr. Finn sought to take steps to prevent future illness. In other words, she became dedicated to fostering wellness.

Dr. Finn blends Western and Eastern medicine to provide the best and most complete diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for her patients. She is committed to helping owners have healthy and happy, horses and dogs.

For more information, please visit Equisport Medicine Integrative Veterinary Services’ website

We are always looking to partner with professionals that share the same goals and vision in animal rehabilitation! If you are a rehabilitation professional and are interested in becoming a partner clinic, please reach out to us at info@orthopets.com!

January 2019 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Dash

Dash is a little 15-pound, 11-year-old dachshund who was referred to an OrthoPets Partner Clinic, A Well Adjusted Pet near San Francisco, California. Dash had previous bilateral Achilles tendon and gastrocnemius tendon issues. When he first came in for his evaluation, he was already wearing OrthoPets off-the-shelf tarsal warps that had been working great. Due to his high energy, he was developing friction sores and having continued breakdown of his tendons, so his owner was hoping to find a more long-term solution. Dr. Ilana Strubel and Dash’s owner were concerned about his candidacy for bilateral tarsal orthosis due to his abundance of energy and small legs. We all agreed Dash would do better in custom-made orthotics as he loves to run and jump around like a wild pup! OrthoPets fabricated bilateral non-articulating tarsus, articulating paw orthosis for Dash. OrthoPets also fabricated custom special non-friction socks to help decrease the irritation and skin breakdown that he was having. At Dash’s first fitting OrthoPets received great feedback that Dash had taken to his devices and was acclimating well. Dr. Strubel loosened up his motion-limiting straps at his paw a little to allow him to fully place his paw segment on the ground and he loved it! Since then little Dash has been enjoying long walks and running around in his tarsal orthosis without any issues. Dr. Strubel and Dash’s mom have been very impressed by how quickly he acclimated and how well he is able to use his custom bilateral tarsal orthotics!