Whether your dog is recovering from an injury or suffering from decreased mobility due to arthritis or general aging, orthopedic braces may provide him with additional support. This support allows him to get back to daily activities. Some support braces work by immobilizing a bone, joint or ligament, while others provide movement assistance with or without help from you. Talk to your veterinarian regarding the best support aids for your dog.
Support braces vary in specific design, but they're all made to support the rear legs. Braces such as the ACL brace or the luxating patella brace stabilize the knee. These may be necessary after an injury such as an anterior cruciate ligament tear, whether as a way to avoid surgical intervention or as a form of support following surgery. Braces are available for injuries to ankles, paws and toes. A hock brace is commonly used for Achilles tendon injuries.
When you think of carpal injuries, you may think of carpal tunnel and repetitive typing or writing injuries -- but unless your dog is unique, this cause is unlikely. However, carpal hyperextension is a common injury often seen in active or sporting dogs; traumatic injury can occur when a dog jumps down from an elevated location. Carpal braces slip over and help to support the carpal joint with the use of metal support rods. For smaller breeds, the brace has a strap that slips over the shoulder to prevent slipping.
Whether your dog suffers from hip dysplasia, shoulder injuries or surgery, degenerative disc disease or hind-leg lameness, various support braces and harnesses can support the injured areas while allowing a handler to provide assistance as needed. For example, a shoulder stabilization vest supports the shoulder joints after a dislocation, while a harness allows you to assist your dog when he's getting up or to provide stability when he has a weak or unstable gait.
Spinal conditions such as degenerative myelopathy or degenerative disc disease can cause rear limb paralysis in dogs. While dogs are able to adjust to the loss of limb function, their ability to be active is usually diinished. To get these dogs moving again, orthopedic support involves wheels. These dog wheelchairs support all of a dog’s rear body weight while providing freedom of movement.
- HandicappedPets.com: K9 Orthotics and Prosthetics
- VetInfo: Alleviating Orthopedic Problems With Dog Braces
- Canadian Animal Rehab Services: Braces
- Michigan Veterinary Specialists: Carpal Hyperextension Injury
- Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group: Orthopedic Devices
- The Whole Dog Journal: Canine Orthopedic Equipment Designed for Increase Mobility and Extra Support
- PetMD: Paralysis in Dogs
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