Getting a knee brace for dogs is one of the best ways that you can deal with and manage the effects of ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries in your canine. Knee braces can also assist in the healing and treatment of other leg bone and muscle injuries. If you suspect that your canine may need this type of assistance or if you know that your pet will be receiving surgery for an injury then you should take the time to learn about the different types of dog knee braces, what they can be used for, and where to get them. In this article we take a look at all of these things and give some additional tips on treating your dog's injuries.
What is the Canine CCL?
The Canine CCL, or ACL is a ligament located in the knee joints of dogs and it is one of the most commonly injured part of the dog's anatomy. The CCL's job is to stabilize the knee joint and when it becomes strained or inflamed it causes stifle joint or knee injuries in dogs. When the CCL is injured beyond the help of simple rest the most common method of treatment is a Tightrope cruciate ligament surgery. This procedure is the least invasive options available but it still requires careful recuperation time, often supported by a knee-support brace or another form of orthopedic braces for dogs.
What Type of Knee and Dog Leg Braces are Available and What are their Uses?
There are quite a few different types of canine knee and leg braces available and each is suited to slightly different issues. Picking the right one for your pet will depend on the specific issue with your canine's leg and the specific surgery (if any) that they undergo.
Stifle Elastic Knee Brace
This is the most common knee brace for most dog knee problems. The dog stifle brace is used after the Tightrope operation and other surgical repairs to facilitate in the regeneration of muscles when the dog would otherwise be unable to walk on the recovering leg. Light exercise during healing is extremely important for both the muscles. The stifle knee-joint brace is also used as an alternative to surgery in some cases. The stifle brace is typically the cheapest brace available.
Luxating Patella Right or Left Knee Brace
The luxating patella brace is designed to stabilize the patella typically on either right or left rear knee. This type of brace is designed to be a more long-term solution to preventing the reoccurrence of patella-based injuries. Eventually a dog can develop correct muscle strength through use of such a brace to be able to avoid injuries themselves, though this can take some time.
MCL-LCL/PCL Ligament Brace
This type of bracer is most commonly used after direct surgery to the stifle joint itself. The brace is designed in such a way to allow normal hock flex while supporting the ligaments and joint itself.
Hock and Ankle Braces
As opposed to mutt knee braces, the hock and ankle braces come in some variations depending on the specific damage to the ankle itself rather than the knee and it's ligaments. These braces are far more similar than knee braces but the main varieties are achilles-based braces and hind paw/toe braces. Dog hock holders and ankle braces are priced fairly similarly to knee braces.
Prosthetics are design to be a permanent solution to amputations. Canine amputations are performed when an injury threatens the life of an animal or when the injured limb is no longer useful and, in fact, a hindrance to the animal's movement. After an amputation a prosthetic can help restore almost full movement back to an animal, depending on the location of the amputation. Thigh height amputations can utilize a prosthetic provided enough soft tissue is left to support the prosthetic. Amputations below the knee or hock can utilize a prosthetic in most cases, restoring most movement to the animals. Prosthetics is the most expensive option, but considering their long-term usage they can be a viable solution for improving your animal's quality of life.
Where to Find a Dog Knee Brace for Sale
In most cases you can buy a brace or prosthetic from your veterinary or have them shipped by special order to your local vet clinic. However, you can save a fair bit of money in some cases by ordering them online. For many braces it is a good idea to buy new and have them sized correctly for your animal, however some basic injuries only need a commonly sized brace and can be purchased used for to save money. Prosthetics should almost always be bought new, since they need to be sized perfectly to avoid injury to your pet. An incorrectly sized prosthetic limb can cause muscle issues and even bone damage.
Additional Tips for Rehabilitating Your Canine
While your dog is fitted with a brace it is vitally important that you give them regular but light exercise. In the first few days after surgery this can simply mean holding and gently moving the injured limb a few times a day to help with muscle growth and to avoid clotting. As soon as possible, however, it is a good idea to get your dog to walk a little bit each day. You should try to avoid hard running during the initial month or two of recovery as the surgery will still be setting. Once your dog is comfortable (perhaps with a bit of a push) you should allow to do some light running to rebuild muscle strength. Lack of muscle regeneration after surgery is the number one cause of long-term failure and it can even cause the leg to become worse than prior to surgery. Remember to always consult your vet if you are unsure of how much stress the leg can take before pushing your animal too hard. If you can get your pet walking with assistance from a knee brace for dogs then you are on the road to recovery.