Orthopedic support braces for dogs are used for a variety of conditions to increase your pet’s mobility and provide comfort during activity. Dogs need exercise in order to maintain physical and emotional well-being. If your dog is unable to get exercise, it may develop problems such as heart disease, obesity, bone disorders and emotional issues such as aggression or anxiety.
According to Vet Info, braces may be used for sprains or muscle weakness, arthritis, hip dysplasia, post-operative recovery, back leg fatigue, limping, joint weakness or joint pain and any type of mobility handicap. Braces should permit your dog to perform its normal activities, but should also be comfortable and offer protection from abrasions and irritations to the dog’s skin.
Knee braces are typically used following surgery for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair, luxating patella or medial collateral (MCL) lateral collateral (LCL) or posterior cruciat (PCL) ligaments. Knee braces provide support and stability, prevent the loss of muscle during the period of recovery, prevent re-injury and protect the area, according to Vet Sports Medicine. Knee braces may also be used in cases where surgery will not be pursued.
Ankle (hock) braces support the hock joint following surgeries such as Achilles tendon, hind paw nerve damage or toe injury and hock joint repair. Vet Sports Medicine indicates that it may also be used for long-term support in non-surgical conditions. According to Vet Info, a hock brace stabilizes the hind leg bone as well as the muscles and tendons of the leg and knee. It works similarly to a human's knee brace, allowing your dog to move without straining the joint. It also prevents your dog from reinjuring the area.
An elbow brace is used to support of the elbow joint area following surgery or for reducing pain from arthritis, degenerative joint disease or other similar conditions. It provides control of side-to-side movement while allowing normal extension and flexion. Vet Info indicates that all dog braces have straps to hold them securely to prevent shifting.
A hip brace supports the hip area and the lower back. Vet Info indicates that it may be made of neoprene, nylon or some similar fabric that is wrapped around the lower back, the hip and the upper leg and is attached to a harness. Hip braces are commonly used for dogs with hip dysplasia that is mild to moderate.
Vet Sports Medicine indicates that medial shoulder instability (MSI) is a common cause of lameness of a forelimb. A shoulder brace supports the shoulder, limiting extension, flexion and abduction, yet allowing the dog to bear its full weight. This type of brace may be used following surgery or as a non-surgical treatment.