Whether your canine friend is recovering from surgery or is suffering from a chronic condition, custom dog leg braces can play a crucial role in helping them regain mobility and lead a happy, pain-free life. In this blog, we cover what you need to know about custom dog leg braces, including the types of injuries they can help to heal and the process of getting a custom dog knee brace made.
Understanding Canine Leg and Knee Injuries
Pet owners know that a dog’s life is full of adventure, which can also lead to injuries when having too much fun.
Canine injuries can occur due to reasons such as:
Trauma: Trauma can occur from a fall, a car accident, or overuse from excessive activity, especially in dogs who are not used to it.
Chronic conditions: Underlying chronic medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia, can lead to leg or knee injuries.
Some of the most common types of leg injuries in dogs that require knee braces include:
- CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury)
- Cartilage Damage
The symptoms of leg injuries in dogs can vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. Some common signs to look out for include limping, swelling, and reluctance to move a front leg, rear leg, or knee joint. Dogs with leg injuries may also experience muscle loss, stiffness, and decreased full range of motion. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
The Importance of Custom Dog Leg Braces
A custom dog knee brace or leg brace can help your furry friend start the healing process. A custom leg or knee brace is designed to provide extra support and stability to the injured area, helping to alleviate pain and discomfort. They can also help to prevent further damage and provide support post-surgery. A custom dog knee brace or leg brace often has the ability to be adjusted or modified as the dog’s condition improves, or until they have fully recovered.
At Applied Biomechanics, we offer the following custom brace options, in addition to ACL/CCL braces:
- Dog Ankle Braces (Rear Leg)
- Dog Tarsal Braces (Rear Leg)
- Dog Elbow Braces (Front Leg)
- Dog Wrist Braces (Front Leg)
How do custom dog knee braces and leg braces differ from off-the-shelf options?
Custom leg braces are specifically designed and fabricated to fit the unique contours of a dog’s leg. They are made to measure and take into account the specific injury or condition that the dog is facing.
Pre-manufactured (off-the-shelf) leg braces cannot provide the same level of comfort and support as a custom-made brace.
The Process of Getting a Custom Dog Knee Brace or Leg Brace
Choosing the right type of brace for your dog will depend on the type and severity of the injury. A veterinarian can assess your pet and prescribe the appropriate brace for their specific needs. For example, a dog ACL brace will be very different from a carpal brace.
The measurement and fitting process
At Applied Biomechanics, all of our dog bracing is done by our Canine Bracing Specialist, Carla Michelin-Clarke. Carla starts by taking a history of your dog’s injuries and looking over any information that you can provide from your vet. She then does a physical assessment of your dog’s knee range of motion and stability. If your dog is a candidate and you choose to have the braces made, Carla then takes a cast of your dog’s knee. After the cast is removed it is filled with plaster to make the positive (duplicate) mold of your dog’s knee. She then modifies this cast so that the brace will provide the appropriate forces to the knee. This cast is then set up with joints and padding and the thermoplastic is then heat and vacuum molded to the cast. When cooled, the plastic brace is cut from the cast mold, trimmed and sanded to the desired trimlines and assembled with the joints, straps and pads. This whole process takes 2 weeks, at which time you bring your dog back into the clinic for the brace fitting.
Caring for Your Dog’s Custom Leg Brace
Once you receive your dog’s custom leg brace, it’s important to follow the instructions provided. This may include how to adjust the velcro straps or padding to ensure a snug and secure fit, and how to adjust the brace as your dog’s condition improves.
To guarantee your dog’s brace provides long-term, effective support, remember to keep it clean and dry. As your dog’s condition improves, it may be necessary to adjust or replace the brace. We will be able to assess your dog’s condition and make any necessary adjustments.
Applied Biomechanics is a leading provider of custom leg braces for dogs and we have a team of experts who can help you make the best decision for your pet. If you are considering a custom leg brace for your dog, please contact us today for more information.