Common InjuriesBelow are some of the most common injuries we see at OrthoPets from the pet owners and veterinarians we work with. Please call or email us with any questions about your pet’s injury to find out how we can help!
STIFLE/KNEEDog ACL Canine Luxating Patella
TARSUS/ANKLE & BACK LEGS & PAWSDog Achilles Tendon Canine Hock Hyperextension Degenerative Myelopathy
CARPUS/WRIST & FRONT LEGS & PAWSCanine Carpal Hyperextension Canine Osteosarcoma Missing or Non-functional Front Legs
ELBOWDog Elbow Dysplasia
SHOULDERMedial Shoulder Instability
PROSTHETICSDog Prosthetics for Limb Amputations
Torn CCL/ACL Injury (CCL/Dog Cranial Cruciate Ligament)The most common injury when pet owners and veterinarians consider using a dog knee brace (stifle orthosis) is for a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). This ligament is similar to the human anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The canine cranial cruciate ligament is one of four ligaments that join the tibia and femur together to create a stable dog knee joint (stifle joint). The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is responsible for stabilizing the tibia from abnormally thrusting forward and away from the femur. This is called “cranial tibial thrust.” Cranial tibial thrust results when the CCL presents with a partial tear or is completely torn. When your pet is standing, there is stifle joint (dog knee) compression force is created and causes the tibia to thrust forward. This forward (Cranial) tibial thrust results from the slope of the tibia enabling the femur to slide down the back of the tibia while the tibia slides forward from under the femur. Your veterinarian is able to preform two “hands on” tests to reveal instability of your dog’s knee (stifle joint) in addition to radiographs. One test is to replicate stifle joint compression similar to weight bearing. This test is called the compression test. If the result of stifle joint compression forces the tibia to slide forward from under the femur (cranial thrust), the test is positive and a CCL tear or CCL rupture is suspected. The other test is the cranial drawer test. This test isolates the CCL and eliminates joint compression. Your veterinarian holds the upper bone (femur) static and pulls the lower bone (tibia) forward and way from the femur. This motion is just like pulling a drawer open. If the tibia can be pulled forward (cranial drawer), then the test is positive. Your veterinarian will also be exploring and evaluating the “feel” of the end range of this abnormal motion. This feel will help indicate the degree of injury and is helpful in determining treatment options. OrthoPets has conducted significant research and has published a peer reviewed scientific paper describing the successful use and outcome of an OrthoPets Stifle Orthosis (dog knee brace). Our dog knee brace (stifle orthosis) for the canine ACL tear provides the necessary biomechanical force coupling to replicate stifle joint stability while allowing your pet to enjoying normal activities and stifle (knee) joint range of motion. To learn more about our dog knee brace, take a look at our Stifle Orthosis page to view patients enjoying life with their OrthoPets dog knee brace. Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets dog knee brace. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support your dog’s knee injury!
Canine Luxating PatellaA common injury when pet owners and veterinarians consider using a dog knee brace (stifle orthosis) is a Luxating Patella (AKA: dislocated knee cap, floating knee cap). The patella (knee cap) is held in place by a groove shape on the end of the femur (thigh bone) known as the “trochlear groove.” This groove allows the patella to glide up and down the end of the femur during stifle (knee) flexion and extension and prevent the quadriceps muscle tendon mechanism from sliding off the side surfaces of the femur. A patellar luxation can occur due to malformation of the trochlear groove, curvature of the femur, or the shape of the patella. Trauma can also cause the patella to dislocate. The patella can luxate medially (inside surface) or laterally (outside surface). Patella luxation is common among smaller breeds but occurs in large breeds as well. Typically, a grading system is used to diagnose the severity of luxation; Grade 1 being less severe and Grade 4 being most severe. Your veterinarian is able to perform simple diagnostic tests to rule out or diagnose a luxating patella of your dog’s knee. Diagnostics may include radiographs, joint taps, among other manual manipulations of the knee joint (stifle) to “feel” the stability of the knee cap and determine a grade of luxation if present. Depending on the severity of your dog’s dislocated knee cap, an OrthoPets Stifle Orthosis (dog knee brace) may be a beneficial addition to your treatment plan. In order to address a luxation of the patella, the tibia (shin bone) has to be positioned in a way to properly align the patella within the trochlear groove by aligning the quadriceps muscle tendon mechanism. This realignment of the greater tibial tuberosity (top part of the shin bone) improves the direction of pull of the quadriceps and patellar tendon across the trochlear groove. This is similar to the surgical outcome of the tibial tuberosity transposition (TTT). However, an OrthoPets dog knee brace can only be effective in realigning the quadriceps mechanism within Grade 1 and 2 presentations. Unfortunately, if your dog’s luxation has been diagnosed as a Grade 3-4 luxation, an external coaptation, such as an OrthoPets dog knee brace will not be able to achieve adequate tibial alignment nor would the patient tolerate the extreme twisting force needed to keep the knee cap in alignment. This is due in large part to femoral curvature deformity. To learn more about our dog knee brace, take a look at our Stifle Orthosis page to view patients enjoying life with their dog knee brace. Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets dog knee brace. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support you and your dog’s knee injury or abnormal alignment!
Hock/Ankle HyperextensionA common condition when pet owners and veterinarians consider using a dog hock brace (tarsal orthosis) is for hock (ankle) hyperextension. You may observe your dog’s hock (tarsal) joint present very straight rather than bent while walking or even standing. In severe presentations, your dog’s hock may even appear to bend in the opposite direction. Your dog’s hock (tarsus) is composed of five joints that make up 7 tarsal (hock) bones, 2 crural bones (tibia/fibula or shin bones) and four to five metatarsal bones. There are several ligaments responsible for stabilizing the canine tarsal (hock) joint. Even though this presentation is not well described in veterinary literature, it is thought to be breed specific and occurs due to a laxity of the ligaments. In addition, if there are existing conditions higher up in your dog’s leg, this condition can occur due to compensation. Your veterinarian is able to perform hands on tests to reveal the severity of laxity of the ligaments. They may suggest additional advanced diagnostics such as radiographs, and in some cases a CT to look for abnormalities within the joint. Depending on the severity of your dog’s hock (tarsal) hyperextension, your veterinarian may recommend an OrthoPets Tarsal Orthosis (dog hock brace) to provide stability and support while holding your dog’s hock in an appropriate and comfortable position. To learn more about our dog hock brace, take a look at our Tarsal Orthosis page to view patients enjoying life with their dog hock brace. Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets dog hock brace. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support you and your dog’s hock injury.
Dog Achilles Tendon InjuryOne of the most common injuries that can occur to the tarsus (hock) is a rupture or partial rupture of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is made up of 5 different tendons divided into 2 different groups. The Achilles Tendon Complex is responsible for extending the tarsus into a normal weight-bearing position. When these tendons are disrupted, the dog presents a “dropped” or “hyper-flexion” of the tarsus. The Superficial Digital Flexor tendon can also be involved. This tendon is responsible for flexing the digits (toes) creating a “spring like” action to the paw mechanism. An excessive pull on this tendon when the Achilles is damaged can cause the toes to “curl under.” Your vet will be preforming a hands-on evaluation and may choose some additional diagnostics to determine the extent of the injury before deciding on a plan. In many cases, a surgical intervention including the use of a custom orthosis post-operatively is prescribed for this type of injury. The benefit to using a custom orthosis post-operatively include customized tendon reloading during surgical recovery, controlled return to tendon loading during return to function, and device conversion to sports brace. The orthosis enables ease of access to the limb to inspect for skin irritations, breathability, and allows the pet to engage in water therapy such as underwater treadmill. An OrthoPets Achilles Orthosis (hock brace) can be used as a “palliative” care solution. This would be used for patients not proceeding to surgery or patients who have experienced an unsuccessful Achilles tendon repairs. To learn more about the dog hock brace, take a look at the Tarsal Orthosis page to view patients enjoying life with their OrthoPets dog hock brace. Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets hock brace for your pet. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support you and your dog’s Achilles injury!
Degenerative MyelopathyThe most common injury when pet owners and veterinarians consider using a Toe-Up Device (sciatic nerve sling), is for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). The cause of Degenerative Myelopathy is unknown. However, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has developed a DNA test to identify patients who carry the mutated gene associated with DM. While having the mutated gene is not a diagnosis, it does significantly increase the likelihood that the patient could develop it. It is believed that DM causes the myelin sheath to break down in the spinal cord disrupting the neurological communication between the patient’s brain and hind limbs. DM is a progressive disease that originates at the spinal cord. It may initially present as hind end weakness or knuckling progressing to ataxia and eventually hind limb paralysis. Degenerative Myelopathy is diagnosed through the process of elimination. Unfortunately, there is no cure. Formal rehabilitation in conjunction with an OrthoPets Toe-Up Device can improve a patient’s mobility and quality of life. The OrthoPets Toe-Up is a dynamic assistive device designed to dorsiflex (return the paw to a normal position) the paw. By placing the paw into a normal alignment, the patient can walk without causing injury to the dorsum (top) of the paw. The OrthoPets Toe-Up device is used as a therapeutic intervention in conjunction with a formal rehabilitation program. OrthoPets Toe-Up candidates must be able to bear weight on the affected leg as well as advance the affected limb forward during gait. To learn more about our Toe-Up Device (sciatic sling), take a look at our Toe-Up page to view patients enjoying life with their OrthoPets Toe-Up Device. Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets Toe-Up Device. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support you and your pet’s sciatic injury!
Canine Carpal Hyperextension
One of the most common injuries when a pet owner or veterinarian considers using a carpal orthosis (dog wrist brace) is for a condition known as Carpal Hyperextension. The canine carpus is composed of three joints. Palmer fibrocartilage and ligaments support these individual joint levels. Fibrocartilage and ligaments support the palmar (backside) of the carpus while additional ligaments are located on the sides and dorsal (front side) of the carpus support those respective surfaces.
Any of these supportive structures can be affected by congenital deformities, trauma, degenerative disease processes and immune mediated conditions. Most commonly, patients are presented to OrthoPets for acute trauma to the palmar fibrocartilage (located on the back side) of the carpus causing the carpus (wrist) to collapse/drop into a hyperextended position.
Typically, carpal injuries such as canine carpal hyperextension, are diagnosed using a combination of physical exam and diagnostic imaging. During examination, your veterinarian will be looking for soft tissue swelling, pain or discomfort, abnormal range of motion and instability when the joints are stressed. Radiographs and other imaging techniques can be helpful in determining the severity and level of instability.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s carpal injury, an OrthoPets Carpal Orthosis (wrist brace) may be a beneficial addition to your treatment plan. Our dog wrist brace solutions can be built as a non-surgical, post-operative alternative to traditional casts, or as an advanced sports brace solution.
To learn more about our dog wrist brace, take a look at our Carpal Orthosis page to view patients enjoying life with their dog wrist brace. Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets Carpal Orthosis. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support you and your dog’s carpus injury.