Rusty is a 3-year-old Australian Shepherd who suffered a severe and complex metatarsal/tarsal luxation with a closed mid-diaphyseal fracture of metatarsals 2-5. The fracture and subluxations were surgically corrected and temporarily stabilized with an implant. However, Rusty’s surgeon wanted to protect the plate as well as avoid the possibility of unintentional arthrodesis and have the option for future plate removal and stabilization through orthosis alone.
Based on the surgeon’s goals for Rusty, a tarsus/paw orthosis that features a cranial tibial shell with an articulating tarsus and articulating paw segment and dacron motion limiting straps at the articulations was chosen. This design allows free range of motion on the sagittal plane, while offering frontal plane (varus/valgus) restraint and transverse plane control. Several special considerations were included to provide comfort at the suture and plate sites, as well as a prosthetic sock for extra protection of Rusty’s shaved haircoat.
Rusty took to his orthosis extremely quickly and was able to go hiking on vacation with his owners almost immediately after receiving his device. His biggest challenge so far has been to keep him slow and steady when he is using the orthosis since he would prefer to run and jump.