OrthoPets Blog

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!

Happy New Year from OrthoPets! New Business Hours!

From all of us at OrthoPets, we wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year!

With the new year, we wanted to let you know we have new business hours!

Our new office hours are Monday through Thursday, 9am – 5pm MST.

The change in office hours will not affect our fabrication time-frame. Happy New Year!

November 2018 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Jerry

Jerry is a three-and-a-half-year-old male goat from a rescue organization in Massachusetts. He has a right carpal injury from an unknown trauma, which left the carpus contracted and unable to extend. He has good range of motion in elbow and shoulder joints, but his carpus was contracted, and he had a hard time getting around. Jerry faced the possibility of amputation until he finally met a veterinarian who brought up the possibility of a custom-made prosthetic/orthotic device for him. 

OrthoPets was able to design an “accommodative device” for Jerry, allowing him to rest his limb in the contracted position while having an extension piece extend downward in a natural position into a faux paw. This eliminated the need for an amputation and would still allow him to ambulate normally. When Jerry was first introduced to his new forelimb prosthetic device, he took to it immediately and ran to chase the other goats. Jerry is now living a normal goat life with the rest of his pasture mates!

August/September 2018 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Jane

Jane is a 5-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer who was referred to OrthoPets because of a previous Achilles tendon rupture surgery that had failed. About one year post-operatively, Jane was out pheasant hunting with her owner and unfortunately reinjured herself. When she was seen at the veterinarian’s office for limping, she was diagnosed with a new partial tear of her left Achilles.   After reviewing Jane’s case, we reached out to her owner and veterinarian to discuss the goals and outcomes for Jane and her new tarsal orthotic. The owner was hoping Jane could return to partial hunting but decided that she would not be a professional hunter. He decided to decline further surgery and opt to use a tarsal orthosis that would offer Jane long-term support allowing her to continue hunting. Based on the goals, it was decided that we would fabricate a non-articulating tarsus with an articulating paw orthosis to ensure long-term support for Jane during her high intensity activities. 

Since Jane is a high energy dog, we needed to add some additional components to her device to make it extra durable. Some of those components were aluminum in her paw segment, Heavy Duty motion limiters, and carbon reinforcements throughout her device.   Richard reached out with an update at the end of July letting us know how thankful he was for the device and how it has enabled Jane and him to continue to hunt. He even let us know Jane had recently won a hunting competition! 

Richard sent us a picture of the award they had just received for Jane winning the club field trial championship. “There are 6 birds and the dog must find, point, and retrieve with the least shots and in 20 minutes or less. Jane had the fastest time of all the dogs and wouldn’t have been able to do it without your orthosis! I’m so glad she can still hunt with me.” – Richard, Jane’s dad

July 2018 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Rusty

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.

June 2018 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Kinley

Kinley is a 12-year-old lab that presents with chronic and severe degenerative changes of the right tarsus. Chronic ligament instability or a previous OCD lesion was ruled out. She has experienced progressive pain and weakness of the stifle and hip joints secondary to the tarsal pathology. A tarsal arthrodesis was not recommended due to the success rate and that she was responding well to the anti-inflammatories. The goals of the orthosis were to return the patient to his 3-mile-a-day walks as well as to avoid further injury or increase of current instabilities of the tarsus and stifle. 

The severity of tarsal instability concurrent with stifle involvement indicated a non-articulating tarsal orthosis with a paw segment coupled to a cranial femoral shell. The femoral shell added global support (multi-plane) to the stifle to reduce the likelihood of a CCL tear. Due to the complexity of the pathomechanics, several custom modifications were added to this unique case to provide Kinley the greatest amount of comfort and support. Kinley adapted to the orthosis quickly and a marked improvement was noted in her gait. With the added support and stability, Kinley was able to return to her 3-mile-a-day walks and was able to experience increased comfort and confidence during gait.