Buddy’s 6 week update using Woundwear’s dog ACL brace – Recovery is going well!
It has now been about 6 weeks since Buddy our West Highland Terrier injured his right ACL. As you saw in the first video he was limping and toe touching. Buddy, contrary to our thoughts regarding Westie’s being stubborn, he has been quite co-operative. We used a dog acl brace by woundwear. (who was very helpful!)
As instructed we took the brace off Buddy every two days to check for irritations as well as to give him time without the brace. When doing this you have to make absolutely sure that your dog doesn’t reinjure himself so either hold him or keep your dog leashed. Buddy did develop an irritation on the side of his lower leg. We immediately called our veterinarian and WoundWear’s technical support line. Both were very helpful. The veterinarian gave us an antibiotic ointment to apply and Woundwear’s technical support suggested some adhesive padding that we could apply to the inside of the brace to keep the pressure off the irritated area. The wound healed up well after about a week and never returned. I understand that this occurs very infrequently and our other dog never developed any irritations. I understand after speaking with Woundwear that when irritations occur they are most often from the brace either being to loose causing extra movement and rubbing or two tight causing additional pressure. After a number of applications it is easy to know how to adjust the brace straps.
Application of the brace took us several times to get familiar with. We required referring back to the instructions and even calling Woundwear once before we became comfortable with it. Putting it on now seems like 2nd nature.
The one thing we forgot to do during the first week or so was to clip Buddy’s fur especially the long fur on the back of his legs. The fur at the back of the legs should be clipped down to one half inch. Once we did this it made the brace application much easier and actually fit better. After we clipped his fur, not as much fur gets stuck in the brace straps. Also when his fur was longer it tended to bunch up under the brace and make it fit unevenly. I think the better fit actually prevented the irritation from coming back.
During the first week of brace wear Buddy did not walk completely normal. He still appeared to be toe touching. As instructed we continued to use positive reinforcement with treats any time we used the brace and Buddy actually began to like the brace and appeared more excited to go for walks than he did in the beginning. We used the stiffer rods initially to decrease his pain. After 3 days we felt he was not having much discomfort and switched to the more flexible full motion rods. This time period can vary from dog to dog.
By the third week Buddy was walking totally normal and you could tell he was much friskier and wanted to run. Of course we did not let him. Based on our research it takes at least 2 to 3 months to form enough scar tissue to heal.
I think being vigilant and consistent in the use of the brace and following the instructions for wear is extremely important. Letting up on treatment to early can cause the knee to be reinjured or not heal completely.
Buddy is now about six and a half weeks into wearing the brace and he is doing well as you can see in this video. He is quite happy not having to miss his walks or be confined to a crate for 8 weeks.
We have put down mats on our tile floor at the suggestion of technical support and it does allow Buddy to get up easier without slipping. Every little things counts.
We will continue to update Buddy’s progress and include more videos. At this point I am very optimistic as to his progress.
Laura and Stephen