OrthoPets Blog

Audrey and Her Bilateral OrthoPets Above Tarsus Prosthetic Devices (Dog Above Ankle Prosthetic Devices)

Audrey before she received her devices

Audrey is approximately 1.5 year old spayed female American Staffordshire Terrier who was found in an abandoned house with both of her hindlimbs severed at the tarsi (ankles). To make matters slightly more complicated, her left limb is longer than her right. Audrey also has fecal and urinary incontinence, along with a decreased right patellar reflex, indicating some sort of neurologic abnormality and walks in stifle (knee) extension.

No one knows what actually happened to her. She presented to an OrthoPets partner clinic, Animal Medical Center in New York, in October 2020, for prosthetic solutions (dog fake legs) after struggling with chronic distal residual skin sores and failed devices from another orthotic and prosthetic company.

OrthoPets fabricated bilateral (both limbs) hindlimb prosthetics (dog fake legs) for Audrey being very carefully to get the limb length discrepancy correct since there was no “normal” limb in which to compare. Extra care in the design was taken to provide more comfort to her compromised skin.

Audrey’s dedicated adopters were surprised and thrilled to see how comfortably Audrey used her devices for the first fitting, as if the devices are a normal extension of her limbs. Her skin still has some healing to do, but she has been given back her mobility to live a happy life with her family after having a rough start.

Brycen and His OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Brycen is a 4-year-old, 160lb, neutered male Great Dane from Washington state. He was diagnosed with a partial cranial cruciate ligament (CCL/ACL) tear in his right pelvic limb in late September 2020. History for Brycen includes acute onset right hind limb lameness in early August 2020. X-rays on 8/19/2020 indicated right stifle (dog knee) effusion, he was prescribes one month strict rest. His right hind limb improved 50% and started rehabilitation on 9/9/2020. He had a surgical consult in late September 2020 that indicated a partial cranial cruciate ligament tear. Surgical repair was recommended. Brycen’s owner elected to continue rehabilitation, home exercises and an OrthoPets Stifle Orthotic (Dog Knee Brace).

Brycen’s veterinarian’s goal for his stifle device was to help stabilize the stifle and decrease pain so that Brycen may continue his job as a service dog without surgery and without pain.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle device for Brycen which will provide global support for the stifle and Brycen’s cranial cruciate ligament inury.

Brycen was fitted for his leopard print OrthoPets Stifle Device on 12/4/2020 and is doing very well, continuing his rehabilitation with Dr. Stephanie Garlichs at Whidbey Canine Conditioning & Rehabilitaion.

Cowboy and His OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace)

Cowboy is an Australian Cattle Dog, who presented to Dr. Gilmore at Karnes City Veterinary Hospital in Texas early last year with a left tarsal (ankle) luxation. Cowboy suffered from acute worsening of an intermittent lameness in his left pelvic limb, and radiographs revealed a tarsal luxation with osteoarthritis (OA).

Cowboy’s owner did not wish to pursue the arthrodesis surgery and wanted a better alternative for long term support than a cast or splint. Dr. Gilmore prescribed a custom tarsal orthosis (dog ankle brace) for Cowboy and OrthoPets fabricated a caudal-shell style, non-articulating tarsus, articulating paw device for him.

Cowboy did great in his device during his fitting appointment. He took to the orthosis almost immediately and his veterinarian was very pleased with how he was moving in it. Cowboy’s owner reported that he became very depressed when they took his device off to give his leg a break, and that he was not himself again until they put the orthosis back on!

OrthoPets is so happy for Cowboy and we hope he continues to get the support that he needs with his custom device.

Dondi and His OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Dondi is a 9-year-old, 129lb, neutered male Cane Corso from California. He was diagnosed with CCL (ACL) disease with a history of suspected bilateral (two limbs) CCL tears. He has done very well with rehabilitation and weight management. As Dondi has gotten older and subtly weaker, he has started medial rotation of the stifle (dog knee), especially during sitting. Dondi’s owners became worried about him having secondary tears of the medial/lateral collateral ligaments or other tissues.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle device (dog knee brace) for Dondi to help support his Veterinarian’s goal which is to minimize medial and lateral destabilization of the right stifle.

Dondi may be developing some neurological deficits which are causing him to knuckle at the paw and scrape his rear nails down to the quick. His device also started slipping distally. His owners stepped up their band resisted gait exercises and Cavaletti exercises to try to help raise his limb higher.

OrthoPets did some adjustments to his device that included bringing the distal end of the device tighter around the tarsus and installed a shock cord to attached to a boot which will help the knuckling that he has developed.

Approximately a month after the adjustments were made, Dondi’s gait has greatly improves and he’s happily trotting away in his solar patterned stifle device with the toe-up attachment.

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.