OrthoPets Blog

Oakley and her OrthoPets Tarsus Devices (Dog ankle braces)

Oakley is a 5 ½  year-old, spayed female, Labrador Retriever that was diagnosed with bilateral gastrocnemius tears (Type 2c). She loves to go on walks and play ball and she is also a hunting dog. Her owners reported that she came up acutely lame in the left pelvic limb in December of 2018 after a day of hunting. Oakley improved with exercise restrictions and NSAIDs but injured her right Achilles three or four months later.

Oakley was nearly plantigrade in both hind legs and her SDF and DDF tendons were still intact so she had severe digital contraction as well. Oakley’s veterinarian prescribed bilateral OrthoPets custom tarsal orthotic devices (dog ankle braces) in August 2019 to support Oakley’s tendons and help her to return to normal function.

OrthoPets fabricated caudal-style tarsal devices (dog ankle braces) with articulation at the tarsus (ankle) and paw for each of Oakley’s pelvic limbs so her veterinarian could slowly reload her Achilles complex. Oakley recently completed the two-week paw segment removal trial for possible transition to a sports brace and she was able to achieve healing of her right Achilles! Her left tendon showed a drop after the trial, so her veterinarian reattached the paw segment to provide more stability to the tarsus (ankle).

The Sports Brace modification to Oakley’s right device will provide support to her healed tendon and help prevent the reoccurrence of rupture. If Oakley is not able to achieve full range of motion at her left tarsus (ankle), OrthoPets can convert her device into something more appropriate for long-term support. It has been a privilege for OrthoPets to help Oakley make this transition and another privilege to continue to be a part of supporting her quality of life!

Oakley is moving so well now with her bilateral OrthoPets Tarsus devices (Dog ankle braces)

Ace and his OrthoPets Stifle Brace (Dog Knee Brace)

Ace is a 7-year-old, male, German Shepherd. He initially presented to his Veterinarian in 2018 with waxing and waning signs of lameness. The issue progressed between August and October 2019 to toe-touching lameness. rDVM was able to initiate a minor cranial drawer when Ace was sedated for radiographs. Ace was then diagnosed with a ruptured left cranial cruciate ligament (ACL/CCL.)

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle device (dog knee brace) which is designed to stabilize the stifle joint and prevent tibial thrust.

Ace’s veterinarian’s goal is for him to be able to bear weight on affected limb and restore lost muscle mass.

Ace’s device has been adjusted for a sore that formed around the tarsal (ankle) area. We created a channel in the foam of the device to allow for the sores to heal and the device to not rub on those areas. Ace has been doing great since the adjustment and is enjoying life in New York!

Ace getting back to regular activities.

Finn and his OrthoPets Prosthetic Device

“Finn” is a 4 year old male (neutered) border collie who was presented to Avondale Veterinary Healthcare in Iowa in September 2019 for radial nerve paralysis of his left thoracic limb after jumping out of a car window 6 months prior.  On the physical exam, his carpal extension was 150 degrees and flexion was 33 degrees. He had muscle atrophy of this triceps, biceps, and trapezoids, and good control of his elbow. He also had a wound on the dorsum of his paw due to dragging the limb.

The original plan for Finn was to try to utilize a carpal orthotic (dog wrist brace) to slowly gain extension of the carpus.  When OrthoPets received the case and media, they had concerns about triceps function and the possibility of gaining extension due to the length of the injury.  The owners elected to visit the OrthoPets team at Colorado State University to verify. 

The evaluation by Martin and the team at CSU determined that Finn had impressive triceps control and would benefit from an accommodative style hybrid orthotic/prosthetic to return his extension to the ground in a normal alignment. 

Finn returned to Dr. Carlo’s care in Iowa and was fitted with the hybrid device. He took to it right away and is regularly attending rehabilitation to gain better elbow extension.  His paw wound has healed as well. Finn’s quality of life is now back to normal. He is very active and enjoys chasing the ball in the device.

Finn and his OrthoPets prosthetic device.

Ginger and her OrthoPets Carpus Devices (Dog wrist braces)

Here are a few photos of cute Ginger, a border terrier, with IMPA. IMPA (immune-mediated polyarthritis) is a disease in which the immune system mounts an inflammatory response within the joints, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.


Ginger is using OrthoPets bilateral carpus paw devices (dog wrist braces) to aid in her IMPA and her mobility. With her OrthoPets carpus devices, she is able to get around with ease and enjoy activities again.

Ginger and her OrthoPets Bilateral Carpus Paw Devices (Dog wrist braces)

Daisy and her OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog knee brace)

Daisy Ferguson is a 2-year-old, spayed female, Labrador Retriever Mix. She was diagnosed by her veterinarian in September 2019 with a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament in her right hind limb. Daisy is a young, vibrant girl who is otherwise healthy and is just looking to get her stifle (dog knee joint) healthy again so she can return to play!

OrthoPets fabricated Daisy a standard stifle device with a tarsal cuff to aid in suspension and keep the stifle device from slipping down. The goal for this type of device is to stabilize the stifle joint and prevent tibial thrust. By using a dog knee brace, Dasiy can get back to an active lifestyle while her knee is being supported.

Daisy has needed one minor adjustment on her stifle device due to a sore forming on her lateral malleoli (side of her ankle). We heat flared out the shell in the area of the tibia/fibula and Daisy has been doing well since the adjustment.

Check out Daisy’s cute pink stifle (dog knee) device!

We wish Daisy the best of luck with her stifle, dog knee, recovery!

Lucy and her OrthoPets Elbow Devices

Lucy is a 1-year-old hound mix from Massachusetts. Lucy’s mom is a veterinary technician and she was worried about Lucy’s elbows. Lucy had been diagnosed with bilateral elbow dysplasia and arthrosis. Lucy’s mom decided to contact OrthoPets to see if elbow devices would be beneficial to Lucy and her mobility.

OrthoPets determined they could be of help, and fabricated custom made bilateral elbow devices to give Lucy the additional support and stability to the front legs, and the elbow joints that she needed.

The goals for the devices are to improve Lucy’s comfort and support elbow during high impact activities such as play.

We wish Lucy the best of luck in her new cute PURPLE OrthoPets Elbow Devices!

Jonah and his OrthoPets Carpus Device (Dog wrist brace)

Jonah is a 2-year-old male neutered Bernese Mountain Dog. He had his left front 2nd digit amputated over a year ago due to recurring antibiotic-resistant infection. Unfortunately, following the amputation, he developed a non-healing pressure sore on his remaining 3rd digit along with chronic swelling, as he tried to compensate for the missing digit. Jonah’s owners and the veterinary team reached out to OrthoPets to provide a solution for him that would allow better anatomical placement of his paw pads, reduce pressure on the 3rd digit, and still allow some airflow to help with healing of the wound.

Jonah does not have any carpal pathology or instability, but his OrthoPets Carpus Device (dog front wrist brace) features a sporty, streamlined cranial-style articulated carpus device, with an articulating paw segment. The metacarpal and antebrachial shells mainly serve to help suspend the device, though they do provide some passive frontal plane stability for him as well. The paw segment features a special custom anatomical shape to the shell along with a soft foam insole and “bumper,” all molded to his paw shape based on a Biofoam imprint of the paw. These allow pressure to be better distributed across all his remaining digits rather than just concentrated on the 3rd digit where his wound is.

Jonah and his OrthoPest Carpus Device (dog front wrist brace)

Jonah’s previously non-healing wound has finally closed after 2 months in his device (along with a dedicated dermatological and medical management, of course) and we can’t wait to track his progress as he improves further and the inflammation continues to resolve! Good luck Jonah with your new OrthoPets Carpus Device!

Grizzly and his OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Grizzly is a 14-year-old, Labrador Retriever.  He presented to his veterinarian in November 2019 favoring his left hindlimb and skipping while running. Upon examination, an audible click was heard in the knee, radiographs were taken that showed moderate arthritic changes as well as significant joint effusion. Grizzly had decreased range of motion during both extension and flexion, crepitus of the stifle and positive tibial thrust and cranial drawer.

OrthoPets fabricated a standard stifle orthotic with a tarsal cuff to aid in suspension and keep the stifle orthotic from migrating distally. Grizzly is currently going through rehabilitation with his veterinarian and is doing very well thus far.

Our goal for this type of stifle device for Grizzly is stabilization of the stifle joint (knee joint) and preventing tibial thrust. Despite the audible click heard on examination, Grizzly seems to be doing great and the owners are happy to have a non-surgical option. Great job Grizzly and keep up the great work in your new OrthoPets Stifle Device (dog knee brace)!

Nugget and Her OrthoPets Prosthetic Device

Nugget and Her OrthoPets Prosthetic Device

Nugget is a 2-year-old Chilean Flamingo born with a congenital deformity of her left limb. The deformity resulted in a partial amputation performed at Santa Barbra Zoo, where she resides.

Before perusing an OrthoPets Prosthetic, Nugget was getting used to wearing a makeshift cover to help protect her residuum, but it was time to find a better long-term solution.

Santa Barbra Zoo contacted OrthoPets to see if we could help. The dedicated staff wanted to give Nugget the best chance at a normal life and had seen that OrthoPets has helped many animals achieve this. Having helped over 30 different species with a variety of different pathologies, OrthoPets was up for the challenge!

The team created a successful pet prosthetic solution with creative materials to give Nugget the most normal representation of the limb she was missing.

Nugget is adjusting to her new OrthoPets Prosthetic very well and everyone is very pleased with the results of the device and how Nugget has taken to it so far. She now can spend her days with the rest of her flamingo friends living a normal life with her new limb.

Her new OrthoPets Prosthetic is even pink to match her beautiful pink feathers. We look forward to watching her progress at the Santa Barbara Zoo. OrthoPets was very excited to work with Nugget and the Santa Barbara Zoo on this interesting OrthoPets Prosthetic Device!

Zeke and his OrthoPets Tarsus Brace (Dog Back Leg- Ankle Brace)

Zeke is a 3-year-old, MN, Australian Cattle Dog that presented to his veterinarian in July of this year with a chronic calcaneal tendon rupture of the left pelvic limb. Zeke had been limping for about 10 months before being diagnosed. He had a dropped tarsus and his SDF and DDF tendons were still intact creating pretty severe digital contraction. Zeke underwent surgery to repair the tendon and his veterinarian prescribed an OrthoPets custom tarsal device (Dog ankle brace) to support his repaired tendon during recovery and help Zeke return to normal function.

OrthoPets fabricated a caudal-style tarsal shell with articulation at the tarsus and paw so his veterinarian could slowly reload the Achilles complex as Zeke’s tendon healed. Due to the extreme angle of digital flexion, Zeke’s paw-segment had a significant external wedge which affected his gait pattern when he was first learning to walk in his device. Zeke’s owner and veterinarian were diligent with his rehabilitation exercises and toe stretches and Zeke soon acclimated to his device and the external wedge was removed facilitating his ability to ambulate while wearing the orthosis. The OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog ankle brace) will give Zeke the needed support and stability to the tarsal joint.

Zeke is now 14 weeks post-op and doing very well in his custom device. His tendon has healed and the owner and veterinarian are considering the conversion of his device to a sports brace for Zeke to wear during explosive activity. This modification to his device will provide support to his healed tendon and help prevent the reoccurrence of rupture. OrthoPets looks forward to helping Zeke make this transition and continue to be a part of supporting his quality of life! We are so happy that Zeke is enjoying his OrthoPets Tarsus Device (Dog Ankle Brace)