Friday, December 2, 2011

Veterinary Highlights: OrthoPets' Orthotics & Prosthetics

When Jasmine was diagnosed with a ruptured ACL, the last thing we wanted to do was putting he through surgery.

As it turned out, surgery was what we did, and today I strongly believe that it is the best option for most dogs.

What if surgery isn't a good option for your dog?

We did a lot of research into non-surgical options for Jasmine's knee injury. One of the things we considered was a stifle brace.

When I went online and did a search for stifle braces, I had a picture in my mind what I thought such a device should look like. Except I wasn't finding any. Some of the products I came across I wouldn't even recognize as being a brace!

Then I stumbled upon the OrthoPets' stifle brace.

Now, that one looked like what I thought it should! I read all I could about it but I still had many questions. I ended up talking to the founder of OrthoPets; I had a lot of tough questions. All his answers really impressed me, and should we have gone with the brace option, this would be the one we'd use.

Stifle brace isn't the only product OrthoPets offer. 


They also provide braces for hock and paw, elbow, wrist and paw, as well as full hind and fore-limb prosthetics and adaptive devices.



Their products are held in high regard by the orthopedic department of Colorado State University (yes, I talked to them then also).

Their devices are trully custom fitted for each patient. 

The cast molding process looks a bit scary but I'm sure your veterinarian could handle that just fine. (Interestingly, Jasmine's vet at that time refused to help us out with getting the mold done, which I still cannot get over)

I think that the OrthoPets' orthotics and prosthetics are really well thought out and well designed and it would be what I'd choose should I need one for our dog.

Did any of you use OrthoPets orthotic or prosthetic for your dog? Let us hear from you.

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OrthoPets' vision is to improve their patient’s quality of life through innovative Prosthetic & Orthotic solutions. They have implemented the same adaptive technologies used in the field of human Orthotics and Prosthetics to care for their animal patients.

OrthoPets strives to give each patient a second chance to enjoy a normal life. Partnering with various animal healthcare professionals and animal lovers alike, they endeavor to provide the best Animal Orthotic and Prosthetic care available.

20 comments

  1. Thanks for posting this. It seems like a great 'second option' for cases when surgery may not be an option.

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  2. Oh Really a big thanks.. I was unable to find this info my dog is suffering from this..

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  3. Yoshi..... This was the best option for my dog after tearing her ACL. Vet did the mold. Got her the brace and she was back to herself in a few months after gaining strength and stabiity in her hind leg. When vet checked her leg just recently she said it was difficult to tell it had been injured because of the way the brace helped it heal up.It has been about 15 months since injury. She is now getting a brace for her other side hind leg as she just got a partial tear in it a few days ago. This is an amazing device and well worth the money. My dog is 8yrs old and to see her have mobility after these injuries is a blessing. Thank you Orthopets for all you do.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story! These braces are really very good, aren't they? Best luck with the second knee (((hugs)))

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  4. My dog was diagnosed with an ACL injury in her left rear leg back in September and I tried a stiffe brace from orthopets and after 3 adjustments the fit is still not correct it slides down and will not stay in place. She has scuffed her toe nail (twice) and worn in down to the quik so of course it starts bleeding. After the last adjustment she hops on that leg and will not walk on it normally. She also unable to climb steps without falling with the device on either. These braces and not for everybody and since she is in no pain and I am restricting her activity we are going to take things day by day and hope that in time this will heal naturally.

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    1. Hi Christine,

      wow, sorry it's not working for you. You're the first case I hear about not having a good fit. Who did the mold?

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    2. My vet did the mold and took the measurements. I figure between the brace, impression kit, vet visits and the shipping back and forth I have spent close to 1,000.

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    3. What did orthopets say about the situation?

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  5. There has been 3 adjustments and things that I kept mentioning like the area around the thigh/groin was too big or too much of a gap there Honestly I felt was being ignored. They were asking for pictures and videos (which I understand) the pictures were easy but I did need help with the videos because I don't have access to video (phone etc) so that took a while. Another thing that upset me was that it would not stay in place it kept sliding down and I found it interesing that after the second adjustment they removed a strap (which did not make sense if it was sliding down) and then after the 3rd adjustment that same strap mysteriously re-appeared in that same area. I asked to speak to a supervisor and all communications came through email (from the supervisor) except for the day she called me to ask for my credit card to ship it back after the 3rd adjustment. They sent me a video to view to apply the brace which I viewed twice because I wanted it to be right. I also admit that I have a very hyper dog and to get any of this done I had to feed her to get her to stand still long enough to accomplish any of this. After the 3 adjustment and it wasn't right they asked for more pictures (which I did) and I was told that it was sitting to low and I need to move it up I explained that it slid down again in a matter of minutes after I put it on. This has been going on for 3 months and we are no better offf when we started and I told them I was done with this. Its a shame that some parts of it could not be recycled to help someone else save some money because now it will sit it the back closet and collect dust.

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    1. So sorry about your experience. You're the first person I know who had problems with them.

      How is the knee doing, btw?

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  6. It is ok we are taking it day by day. A friend is removing my back deck steps in the spring and putting in a ramp so that she can have access to her back yard in the mean time I take her out the front (only one step) Overall around the house she gets around fine you can see the leg tremble and give a little sometimes when she walks. She is in no pain that I can tell and is crated and is given a mild sedative during the week when I am at work. The biggest issue is that even at the age of 10 she is so hyper and we used to go to the park all the time to work off some of that energy but I feel that right now (besides the weather) I just don't think that is a good idea. I am afraid it might make the situation worse. I have talked to a several people whose dogs did not have the surgery and were worse off then she is and the dog has healed without a brace. Also there were others that think surgery is the best route and have been pleased but I don't think that it would be right for my girl.

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    1. I too am one of those who feel that surgery is the best sure fire way to get this fixed for good. Though conservative management does work for some. With highly active dogs, though, you might be looking at setback at some point.

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    2. Surgery is the last resort. My dog had a complete acl or ccl tear. The vet tried to lure me into an unnecessary expensive surgery, but I researched to find many had great results with a brace. We got a custom posh brace and it was much improved over the other custom braces we looked at and my dog healed in a few months. Skip the unnecessary surgery as dog knee braces do work. My vet lied to me and never told me how well braces work. My dog has not worn the brace for several years and is out walking and running normally.

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    3. Vets don't lie, though they might be biased towards TPLO. Even when it comes to surgery, TPLO isn't the only option out there. Braces can work. But out of four of my friends who used it, only one of them didn't have to do surgery at the end.

      Such a choice depends on a number of factors and needs to be done invididually.

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  7. I guess it is always a posibility either that or I have heard of injuring the other leg is a possibility as well. We are going to continue to work with it and see what happens thank you for your time.

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    1. Yes, there is a very good chance of the other knee giving out sooner or later too, particularly with the additional load the other leg needs to carry.

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  8. We are faced with a double ACL injury....2nd one just weeks after the 1st...very odd. We do not want to go the surgery route especially that both would require it but wonder how putting two braces on would work as we've found no examples of someone who has had to do this. Maybe a doggie wheelchair? Our poor Charlie is merely 2 1/2 years old. We were told he would not heal from this but both my Husband and I believe anything is possible.

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    1. Deb, frankly, I believe that surgery is Charlie's best option. PARTICULARLY since both knees are bad. Surgery is often fully curative, while getting a wheelchair is just an attempt to manage the problem.

      Two braces probably could work but if it was my dog, I'd do the surgeries.

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  9. We have a stifle device from OrthoPets Canada after our Golden Retriever Nyx partially ruptured her right knee. 3 years ago, she had cruciate surgery on her left knee.

    We are EXTREMELY happy with the outcome. The brace holds Nyx's knee firmly which allows her to do everything she loves to do; run and swim. She currently is training with me for a 1/2 Marathon, she ran 16 km with me last week with no problems. My vet at Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital was amazing, she was extremely helpful in doing the cast and working with OrthoPets to get the brace. OrthoPets has been very easy to deal with and extremely helpful.

    Now that we have done both the surgery and the brace, if I would have known about the brace for her first knee we would have chosen the brace over surgery.

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    1. Thank you, Tammie, for sharing your experience. I'm very happy that you had such great results with the brace. We were seriously considering the OrthoPets brace as well and I did talk to them and had many questions and was very impressed.

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