Do Orthopedic Knee Braces Help Dogs?
Imagine that your dog is limping on a rear leg, engages in sloppy sits with one leg out to the side, or even holds the leg up in pain when he tries to run.
You might have taken your dog to the vet and found out that he has hurt his cranial cruciate ligament or CCL. This is the dog equivalent of humans’ anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). A tear in the CCL is the top orthopedic injury in canines. That is why orthopedic braces for dogs can be a good idea.
Surgery Used To Be The Only Option
In the past, the pet owner had to have surgery on the dog’s CCL. Without the operation, the leg would be unstable and could cause pain, osteoarthritis, dysfunction, and muscle atrophy. Also, the odds of hurting the CCL on the other side increases because of the higher load on that leg as the dog compensates.
But now orthopedic braces for dogs re available. These devices, along with therapy, can treat many orthopedic problems in dogs with much success, and surgery may not be needed.
Is Your Dog a Good Candidate for an Orthopedic Brace?
Some of the reasons a dog can be a candidate for this device include:
- Older dogs: Can be a good option because older dogs do not recover as well from major surgery.
- Dogs that cannot handle anesthesia: Some dogs cannot take general anesthesia because of other medical conditions, so surgery is out.
- When surgery is too expensive: Braces are usually much less expensive than surgery.
- When a temporary brace is needed: Some dogs are too young to have surgery, while others have bilateral injuries and the brace is only needed for a short time.
What Are the Benefits of an Orthopedic Brace?
Orthopedic knee braces for dogs offer many of the same benefits as for humans:
- Improves joint position sense and improves gait.
- Allows the injured leg to relax, which promotes healing.
- Lowers fatigue in the injured leg.
- Offers mechanical protection against impact.
- Slows the movement of the leg down to let muscles control and relax.
Dogs that wear orthopedic knee braces also can have lower pain and swelling, better confidence in using the leg, and less feelings of instability as they walk.
So, if your dog has an injured knee, remember that a knee brace is a possible good option to surgery.