OrthoPets Blog

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!  

Nahri and Her OrthoPets Chevy Prosthetic Device (Over the Back Hind Limb Prosthetic)

Nahri is a 1.5 year old domestic shorthair cat who was hit by a car as a kitten, receiving a traumatic fracture to metatarsus resulting in a left distal tibiotarsal amputation. She was also diagnosed with bilateral medial patellar luxations: Left grade 3/4, right grade 2/4.

Nahri’s case initially presented to OrthoPets for the protective ‘House Slipper’ option. The house slipper is a custom prosthetic liner essentially, with tread and straps and offers a small amount of limb length addition. It’s a great option for pets who need protection while out of the device, or cats since it’s light weight and easy to use. When OrthoPets received the impression, unfortunately they determined that her limb shape was not bulbous enough, despite retention of the talus, where a house slipper would stay on.

Nahri’s owner was determined to find a solution and was seen by one of our partners at Animal Medical Center by Dr. Alvarez, Dr. Britt, and their staff. Dr. Britt reached out to see if an above tarsus prosthetic would work for her. Nahri is a special cat – she is very tolerable and handleable making her a better candidate for this style, but OrthoPets had never been successful before with a cat needing this type of prosthetic. They agreed to give it a try, and everyone was on board for the challenge and potential failure.

The team was able to design a softer and lighter-weight suspension solution, still utilizing the spine plate and contralateral femoral cuff, and Nahri was fitted under Dr. Britt’s guidance. She took to the device without much concern and was very tolerable – better than some dogs Dr. Britt commented! It was determined that the length of the device was just too much for her current limb strength, so it was modified with an adjustable length extension and a special faux paw. Her biggest challenge will now be to strengthen her muscles of her residual limb. We are very excited to see the first success with a prosthetic in a cat at this amputation level!

Ace and His OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Ace is an eleven year old, neutered male, German Shepherd Mix. He was diagnosed with a left, cranial cruciate ligament (ACL/CCL) tear in November 2019. Ace has a history of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (liver cancer) which makes him not a great candidate for surgery.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard, stifle device (dog knee brace) which will help stabilize the stifle joint and prevent tibial thrust.

Ace’s veterinarian’s goal is stabilization of the stifle, improvement of lameness and avoiding surgery/anesthesia at this time.

Ace received his left, stifle device in December 2019 and has been doing great so far!

Jessie and Her OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace)

Jessie, an eight year and eleven month old, Labrador Retriever, had a tarsal arthrodesis (ankle surgery) in April of 2018 following a diagnosis of Degenerative Joint Disease in her right tarsus (dog ankle). A year later, the surgery failed and one of her plates broke and was removed. Her owners decided to pursue more conservative management rather than do a second surgery.

Jessie’s veterinarian prescribed a tarsal device (dog ankle brace) for Jessie to provide some pain relief and help her get better use of her affected limb. OrthoPets fabricated a caudal-shell style tarsal device with a paw segment attached. In order to provide the rigid, long term stability that Jessie’s tarsus needed, the device was non-articulating at the tarsus.

Jessie did really well in her tarsal device, so well in fact, that her owner recently reached out to OrthoPets to get a duplicate device fabricated. OrthoPets was so happy that Jessie had been getting such good use out of her orthotic device and happily fabricated another for her owner.

Since Jessie’s original impression and measurements were only a year old, and review of media confirmed no major changes to the leg since the first device was fabricated, OrthoPets was able to fabricate the device using the original impression scan.

Jessie should be getting her duplicate device soon and OrthoPets will review the fitting media to make sure the fit and function is similar to the original and appropriate for the support of her right tarsus.

Jessie’s duplicate device in our Carbon transfer pattern.

Wilbur and His OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Wilbur is a twelve year-old, ninety pound, neutered male, Labrador Retriever from Pennsylvania. He was diagnosed with a CCL (ACL) tear in his right stifle (knee) in February 2020. Previous history for Wilbur includes a surgical CCL repair for his left stifle in 2016 and an Anal Sac Adenocarcinoma where he has had two surgeries and chemotherapy. He is currently in remission.

Wilbur’s owners decided to pursue an orthosis and avoid surgery. His Veterinarian’s goal for his stifle device (knee brace) is to stabilize his right stifle and to allow comfortable use without surgery.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle device which will provide global support for the stifle and Wilbur’s CCL injury.

Wilbur had his fitting appointment with his Veterinarian on April 6, 2020 and is doing great and looks great in his American Flag OrthoPets stifle device.

Annie and Her OrthoPets Below Carpus Prosthetic Device (Below Wrist Prosthetic Device)

Annie is a one and a half year old Golden Retriever who was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her left carpus (wrist) resulting in a left forelimb amputation.

Annie’s owners scheduled a consult with an OrthoPets partner when Annie was still a puppy, around seven months of age. OrthoPets recommends waiting on fabrication of a prosthetic device until patients have reached skeletal maturity since it can be cost prohibitive to have to remake the device as a patient grows. However, Annie’s DVM was worried that her muscles and bones were not going to develop properly on the affected side if she could not place weight on and use the leg in some way while developing.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard below carpus (below wrist) prosthetic with a humeral cuff to help keep the device from twisting on Annie’s limb. Annie took to her new device really well and was able to stay in rehab to learn how to function with her prosthetic.

It has been about one year since Annie got her first device, she is now fully grown, and it is time to fabricate a new prosthetic using a new impression that represents her current anatomy. Annie’s DVM provided OrthoPets with new media and radiographs so we could fabricate a new below carpus prosthetic device with a humeral cuff. The new prosthetic device will be appropriate for Annie’s skeletally mature residual limb and OrthoPets hopes that the prosthesis will continue to provide functional support to Annie so she can resume her normal happy life!

Top Left – Annie’s first device. Bottom Right – Annie’s second device.

Sage and Her OrthoPets Carpus Device (Dog Wrist Brace)

Sage is a 7 year old, small mixed breed rescue dog who has congenital angular limb deformities of both front legs. Corrective surgery was performed several years ago, but the right front leg in particular continued to show changes and increased instability and discomfort as Sage got older. As a result, her veterinary team and owner chose to pursue a custom supportive orthosis for her with the goal of increasing her comfort and preventing further angular limb changes. Her device is a full non-articulating cranial shell style carpal orthosis (dog wrist brace) to best support her unusual bony limb anatomy as she goes about her normal daily doggie activities with more comfort and mobility!

Looking great, Sage! 

Buckwheat and His OrthoPets Stifle Brace (Dog Knee Brace)

Buckwheat is a 65lb, 11-year-old, Border Collie mix from Oregon. Buckwheat has a chronic CCL (ACL) injury to his right stifle (knee). He has had a TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) performed in April 2019 where he had a very slow and challenging recovery with rapid progression of osteoarthritis noted on post operational radiographs. He has been consistently clinical for his right CCL injury over the last 1-2 months. He currently does not have any meniscal damage.

Due to Buckwheat’s age and experience with prior surgery, his owner decided to pursue medical management with an orthosis.

Buckwheat received an OrthoPets standard stifle device with a tarsal cuff (knee brace with ankle cuff) to aid in suspension. His Veterinarian’s goal for this device is to provide stability and support to his right stifle during rehabilitation and light to moderate activities at home.

Buckwheat was fitted for his OrthoPets stifle device on April 8, 2020 and has been going great and is very stylish in his leopard print stifle device!

Luigi and His Left Carpus (Dog Wrist) and Right Elbow OrthoPets Devices

At 10 years old, Luigi is a handsome senior dachshund! He suffers from immune-mediated polyarthritis (a condition that causes the immune system to mount an inflammatory response within the joints) and all of the associated joint problems that come with that condition. His veterinarian initially prescribed a carpus/paw orthosis (wrist/paw device) to support his left carpal hyperextension way back in 2018. The hyperextension was severe enough that he would sometimes even fall over to the left when his leg couldn’t support him anymore. His carpal orthosis needed some adjustments and quality rehabilitation with a specialist for Luigi to regain maximum function, but he was soon able to get back to his normal life and mobility.


He stayed stable and enjoyed being able to go for walks with his family again, until in late 2019, he luxated his left elbow joint, again due to his IMPA (immune-mediated polyarthritis). Dachshunds are normally very challenging elbow orthosis patients due to their characteristic deep chests and short humeri, which means we typically do not have enough axillary (armpit) access for a functional elbow orthosis. Luigi happens to have just enough space for us to squeeze in a shell that would control his elbow luxation. We also added a metacarpal shell to help keep the device in place on his leg. He’s a little lopsided with his asymmetrical devices, but he still loves to cruise around on walks with his family! 

Lucy and Her OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace)

Lucy is a 2 year old Korean Jindo mix rescue dog who works with our fabulous Bay Area Partner Clinic, Dr. Strubel at A Well Adjusted Pet. Lucy injured her right tarsus (ankle) initially while playing hard in March 2019 and following that she went through a chronic cycle of tarsal instability, pain, and swelling that resurfaced acutely whenever Lucy played too hard, which she loves to do! To support Lucy and the goal of letting her play safely off-leash again, OrthoPets created an articulated cranial style tarsal device with paw segment (dog ankle brace). The device features high resistance hinges at the tarsus that can be swapped out for lower resistance hinges, as well as motion limiting straps to offer different degrees of stability for Lucy at the tarsus. This will allow Dr. Strubel to use different configurations to find what is most functional in supporting Lucy in her daily activities as well as high impact play.

We know she will love getting back to playing again!

Isn’t Lucy’s PINK OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace) Adorable?!