Posts by: "Laura"

So it has been almost a year since we last posted on buddy’s recovery! A lot has happened in a year and we knew we needed to update everyone on how he is doing. When we last posted a year ago he was showing improvement and back playing. We did have a little set back about 6 months ago when we went out of town and forgot the brace at home. We had taken Buddy with us to our lake house and meant to bring the brace to keep on him anytime he was walking or playing. We have been using the brace for when Buddy will be very active and until that point he had not been without it. So we hoped that he would not play too hard but we were wrong! He was running on the beach and in the water and was playing with another dog and all of a sudden he came back limping. I was so aggravated that we had forgotten the brace one time and then he had to hurt himself. So we got back home and right away back into the brace Buddy went. We started just like in the beginning with the stiff rods and kept him in it 24/7 with just a little short break every 2 days. We were amazed to see that even the second time around within a few days he was back to bearing weight again and walking better. We kept up with the protocol and were patient. The second time it did take longer for the same progress as the first time but we saw improvement. After, 10 weeks of being in the brace he was almost back to where we had him again. We decided this time to keep him in it a little longer, so we added two more weeks for a total of 12 weeks. It has now been about 3 months since then and he is doing great again. We keep the brace for anytime he will be active and never again do we forget it when we take him somewhere or on a trip! I was so surprised and relieved that the brace not only helped us not once but twice and we are not going to push our luck with a third time. We also know that it has been a year and we still have not had his other leg become injured, which happens in so many cases with this injury. I believe strongly that this brace played a big role in that and I am so thankful for it. So for now Buddy and the family are happy again and we hopefully will not have any new excitement to tell you about.

Sincerely,
Stephen & Laura

Hello,

So i have not posted in a while and i though i would do one all about what exactly happens with a dog acl tear.  I will explain the first signs of a dog acl tear and then what actually is going on inside your dog, so you have a better understanding.  I know there is a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming, so this way you can get it all in one place and from someone with no agenda that has had 3 dogs worth of experience with this! I have done a lot of research over the years and developed a pretty good understanding of the injury and what occurs.  I hope this helps.

To start you have a happy dog running around playing with the other dogs and within a second it can all change.  This injury occurs often and quickly and with just a slight wrong move.  All of a sudden your dog is on 3 legs and in pain.  So what actually happened in your dogs leg with a acl tear?  The cranial cruciate ligament is the ligament that dogs usually tear. There are two ligaments within the knee joint that form a cross or x-shape, thus the name cruciate ligaments. The problem with these ligaments is that once they are torn, they do  not heal. When a dog tears their acl and they take a step, the tibia and femur shift on each other causing swelling and pain.

So how do you know if your dog has a cruciate ligament tear?   The main sign is lameness and not bearing full weight on the leg.  Sometimes, the dog may bear partial weight or only use the leg some of the time.  Often, when the dog is still bearing weight on the leg it can be a partial tear where the ligament is only torn part of the way.  this is not a guarantee because this injury can act in different ways for different dogs.   The other sign you often see is lameness or soreness after resting.  Most of the time the dog will use the leg for exercise but after laying down for a while, will have difficulty standing and show lameness when trying to walk around. As the torn ligament gets worse, the dog will usually show lameness more often and then progress to the point of holding the leg up. So now that you are pretty confident your dog has torn their acl, what do you do next?

The diagnosis of a dog acl tear is usually done by feeling the leg for abnormal motion of the tibia on the femur.  There are two tests that your vet can perform to tell if the ligament is actually torn. The first is called a cranial drawer test and the  second is the tibial compression test. These two tests are non-invasive and easy to perform.  These tests are able to show abnormal shifting of the femur and tibia which the cranial cruciate ligament should prevent from happening. When there is a complete tear in the ligament, both tests produce significant movement of the two bones. With a partial tear, the movement between the two bones may be very subtle and  just feeling the leg is not enough to tell for sure if the ligament is torn. Most of the time your veterinarian will want to perform x-rays to eliminate or diagnose other issues.  There may be arthritis or a possible fracture or break.  The x-rays alone do not diagnose an acl tear, they are used to see any other problems.

I am very familiar with the high expense of taking your dog to the veterinarian for these tests just to find out that surgery is your only option. Now, you are educated on the injury and what options are available to you and your dog.  You will be able to go to your veterinarian knowing what questions to ask and what tests are necessary to diagnose your dog.  You can make an informed decision that is best for you and your dog.  I have told you our experiences with surgery and with bracing and that for us the A-Trac Dynamic Brace was the answer. I hope this helps any of you out there that are looking for guidance when you are dealing with a dog acl tear.

 

Kind Regards,

Laura & Stephen

 

Hey Everyone,

I was so excited that i had to get on here and share it with all of you!  Today i took Buddy to his favorite dog park that we used to always go to.  I have not taken him since before the injury, so it has been quite a while.  It is a big park in the forest preserve and has lots of open space to play and socialize with other dogs.  I was a little worried that it would be too much for him but decided he was doing well and it was time. I had his brace on him so he had the extra support.  It was great to see him so happy again.  I kept an eye out and did not let him do too much running but we went on a long walk around and he did do some playing with the other dogs.  He almost looked like his old self again and was not limping much at all.  I got so many questions from people at the park regarding the brace on Buddy.  I told them all about it and our experience and a few people even said that there dog had a tear before and they did not know about this at all.  So not only am i helping people on this blog but even just going out around other dog lover’s with the brace on is getting the word out.  I am so thankful that i found Woundwear and this brace!

 

Kind Regards,

Laura

Brace Comparison Chart

FEATURES A-TraC Dynamic Brace Mutt Knee Brace Orthopets Knee Brace
Soft Brace Yes Yes No
Hard Brace No No Yes
Cost one sided brace Starting at $295 $199 $800 plus
Expected Delivery Maximum 4 Bus. Days 10 -14 Bus days* 2 to 3 weeks
Casting Required by Vet No No Yes
Sedation of the dog No No Yes most cases
Requires Hock or Ankle to keep brace up No No Yes
Uses a fixed hinge No Nothing Yes
Uses Range of Motion Rods YES Nothing No
Is a True Medical Device (Biomechanically Correct) Yes “It is NOT a medical device.” Yes
Allows for Full Range of Motion at knee Yes No Yes
Knocking of hard brace can startle and damage furniture No No Yes
First Cruciate Brace for Dogs in US Yes No No
Sold most braces (Over 7 years) Yes No No
Dogs tolerability and weight bearing after use of the brace 90% Not listed Not listed
Dogs not requiring surgery after use of the brace 75% to 80% Not listed Not listed
Developed by a human surgeon with Biomechanics as background Yes No Training Technician

 

 

Those of you who have read our previous posts know that we are becoming quite educated on ACL or Cruciate Tears in dogs. Over the years I have had not only one but three dogs that have torn their ACL.  We have had the unfortunate but at the same time very educational opportunity to try out two very different options in treatment for this injury.  As we told you before, with our first dog Dino, we opted for surgery because it was suggested by our veterinarian at that time. We did not think that there could be any other options.  The second time with Max we thought that since braces are used for human ACL injuries there might be something similar for dogs. With Max we were smarter and took our time to research the internet for other options and selected the A-Trac Dynamic Brace. Max healed remarkably well and runs and plays just like before the injury. When Buddy our Westie ended up with this injury we continued our internet research to make sure of what was available at that time for conservative treatment.

This is our attempt at sharing all of the experiences and knowledge we have gained going through all of this.   With the internet making any information readily available it was easy for us to just get on the computer and start googleing away.  We started typing in any words related to this injury and found even more than we found the first time we looked.  We expanded our research and came across not only lots of information on the subject but three specific companies that make a brace for ACL injuries.  We chose to compare and discuss these three because they had the greatest presence on my internet searches and provided the most information. We not only did extensive research online on the injury as well as the braces but also called up all three companies and asked many questions and got a lot of information.. We are doing this comparison for all of you out there with dogs that have ACL injuries who do not want surgery and are confused on which brace to choose.   We understand that in certain circumstances surgery might be necessary. After our less than poor experience with Dino (First dog with ACL injury) and his TPLO  surgery, we are now firm believers that the conservative approach should be tried if at all possible.  We have done a spreadsheet chart to make it easy and quick to view the braces from these three companies and the differences between them.  Obviously, nothing is 100% but this will give you an idea of your options and how to choose. These are our personal observations and certainly you should do you own research.  As I talked about in my previous post, we went with the A-Trac Dynamic Brace for my Lab Max and had amazing results. We now have Buddy in the A-Trac Dynamic brace and so far are very pleased with his progress.  When Buddy our Westie injured himself we wanted to review our choices, so we expanded our research on Braces with certain goals in mind. You should choose your own goals.

Our goals were:

  1. How effective was the product?
  2. How fast I could get the product?
  3. Cost of the product.
  4. Comfort of the product.

We would like to share our findings and evaluations. For those of you that don’t like charts we have included our written explanation of our basic findings. Keep in mind that your goals might be different from ours, so hopefully this information will make it easier for you to make an informed decision.

It is critical to begin treatment as soon as possible because of the arthritis that starts to develop immediately following an ACL injury. Also your dog will shift all or a greater amount of weight to his good leg which causes ACL injuries in the opposite leg in 40 to 60% of dogs. The longer he shifts his weight the greater the chance of the good leg getting injured.   So it is a good idea to get your dog into a brace quickly. There are hard braces and soft braces.  The Orthopets Brace is a hard brace. Like other hard braces casting is required for this brace. Casting your dog unfortunately is an additional cost above and beyond the cost of the original diagnosis and x-rays. Sedation is usually required to cast a dog for a Hard Brace which is again an additional cost and can have medical complications for dogs who are older or have health problems. In addition, casting makes their legs muscles relax which then can result in an incorrect measurement. Both the Mutt Knee Brace and A-Trac Dynamic braces are soft braces which use a Harness and Cuff on the opposite thigh to maintain position of the brace.  Hard Braces depend on the Hock or Ankle to hold up the brace which can cause irritation.  A soft brace requires a few more parts to keep it up but works even as the hock or ankle moves up and down with walking, Hard Braces use fixed and or rigid hinges. When the Hard Braces moves up and down with walking the fixed hinge actually can cause more stress on the knee joint because the hinge no longer aligns with the Stifle or Knee joint.  The A-Trac Dynamic Brace is the only brace of the three that has flexible rods that not only maintain stability at the Stifle Joint (Knee Joint) but also can flex over a distance from 1.5 to 4″ depending on the size of the brace. This allows the A-TraC dog acl Brace to move slightly up and down the leg without putting additional stress on the Knee joint.  The A-Trac rods come in two stiffness’s. The stiff rods reduce pain by limiting motion and the flexible rods allow for full knee joint range of motion with very mild resistance, allowing for improved physical therapy which strengthens the thigh muscles which tend to atrophy (shrink) with this disorder.

Hard Braces when they contact an object or the ground can not only damage property but also they can startle the dog making it less tolerable for them to wear.

The Mutt knee Brace actually by their own admission cannot even be considered a true brace. It is only a bandage, and as they state “It is NOT a medical device”. Also, it was developed by a woman who has no formal medical training. These two factors prevented me from even considering this brace as an option although it is cheaper than the A-Trac brace and the Orthopets brace.

Unless you have an unusually shaped dog the A-TraC Brace comes in 10 sizes and is adjustable to fit within each size. The advantage of this is that it can be obtained very quickly. If you choose, nest day shipping is an option. Ground shipping gets it there in four days anywhere in the continental US. The other braces take from 2 to 4 weeks to get depending on veterinary appointments for casting or the companies turn around time.

Ease of application would probably favor the one piece hard brace, but we did not find this to be as important as the other factors.

None of the companies except Woundwear who makes the A-trac brace keeps statistics on success and failures. Woundwear does surveys of vets and people on a random basis to determine its effectiveness. They also have the largest number sold and were the first manufacturers of ACL braces for dogs beginning way back in 2005, so I feel they had more experience. Also the A-trac brace was designed by a human surgeon with extensive experience in bracing. There were also hundreds of testimonials and before and after videos. We can now add our videos to this list!

 

In addition to our original successful experience with the A-Trac brace and Max, we re-evaluated again with Buddy. Only with the A-trac brace were all four of our personal criteria met.. Of course, your criteria may differ from ours and that is why we are listing all the information, so you can choose what is most important to you.

 

Best Regards, J

Laura and Stephen

Woundwear A-Trac Brace recovery for Buddy 6 weeks – dog acl tear

Here is buddy’s progress! We are using the Woundwear A-trac brace and it work well!
As you can see Buddy is able to put weight on his leg. He is getting is spukyness back!. We are happy so far with the brace and Buddy’s recovery. We felt comfortable talking with the technical staff about the Woundwear A-trac brace. They were very helpful and insured we had everything we needed before ordering.

I am not even sure where to start with all of this, other then at the beginning.  This time around we felt so much more knowledgeable and confident dealing with the injury and the brace.  Although, you never know how it will go when you are dealing with a different dog and a totally different personality. 🙂  The last time it was with our lab and they tend to be pleasers.  He let us do whatever we wanted and did not put up much of a fuss.  This time is was with our westie, which as many who have owned them know, are not so easy!  They are extremely stubborn and do whatever they want.  So when we received the brace we already had prepared for a more difficult process.  Luckily, we were familiar with the brace this time around and understood how to put it on and fit it correctly.  So with Steve and i together we got the brace on Buddy and crossed our fingers that it would be as much of a miracle as in the past.

 

Laura

 

Here is a video we took of Buddy limping. Our vet has told us Buddy needs extracapsular repair to fix his acl tear. We are going with a brace to fix Buddy’s leg. We have read that we must be cautious during extracapsular repair because it can fail easily. We are confident we can get Buddy all fixed up using a brace with our experience from Dino and Max! We will keep you all posted!

Laura

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