Meet Thebault, a nine year old Sheltie who has suffered from intermittent left front limb lameness since he was a puppy. As he got older, he started to struggle with routine things like walks, stairs, slippery surfaces and even standing up from a sitting position. He was diagnosed with carpal hyperextension and DJD (degenerative joint disease), with a possible but unconfirmed diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Thebault’s owners initially went through our partner clinic, Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, outside of Detroit. Dr. Kern has trained extensively with OrthoPets in our process and works on a number of cases with us regularly in addition to being certified in canine rehabilitation and other pain management modalities. In Thebault’s case, she was able to help him acclimate to his device and, in conjunction with rehab techniques, learn to use it appropriately and comfortably in preparation for a big family move to Alaska.
Dr. Kern and Silver, Thebault’s OrthoPets Case Manager, selected an articulating carpus, articulating paw, “Carter”-style device design for Thebault. This device has a cranial (front) shell, as opposed to our non-articulating and fully caudal (back) shell device. Thebault didn’t need his device to act as a non-surgical arthrodesis and completely stop all motion the way a non-articulating device would. He just needed help to control some of the movement and laxity in his limb that was making him uncomfortable.
Thebault received his device in early April 2016, and in spite of some shyness at his fitting appointment and even acting at first like the device was chasing him, he took to his orthosis (dog brace) very quickly. Because of the laxity of his digits, Thebault initially tended to supinate in the paw segment of his device which caused some irritation to his lateral 5th digit. This eventually necessitated the device coming back to OrthoPets to have the paw segment heat flared slightly to accommodate this tendency without encouraging it too much. His owners found that he tended to lick that area when his device was removed even after the adjustment, but were able to prevent him licking and further irritating it by putting a baby sock on the foot both to protect it and to distract him from licking as soon as the device came off.
Thebault and his family moved to Alaska in May and by the time they made the move, Thebault was so happy in his device that he actually raises his paw to have it put on. Because of his history and age, Thebault will likely require another orthotic device for his right front limb eventually, but for now he’s doing great with one device and is able to run and play and enjoy walks with his family again!