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

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4 Responses to Dog ACL Brace Comparison

  1. Joan Crews says:

    Thank you so much for all this information. It is helping so much with our decision on what to do with out almost 9 year old English Shepherd that has an ACL tear. We really don’t want to put him through surgery, we are going to present all the information we have found (thanks to you for a lot of it) to our vet and hopefully she will agree with our thinking. We are really sold. I really appreciate all you have posted.

  2. Carol lee McCann says:

    I recently purchased the a-trac dynamic brace and I hate it. The company never answers the phone. I know now why they don’t guarantee their product it sucks. My rotty has had three knee surgeries, and I was really hoping this brace would help him recover from the third without injury. At this point I am afraid the brace is going to cause more damage than helping. I think it is too big but after several emails and phone calls I still don’t have an answer. Horrible company.

  3. Ritch says:

    Thank you very much for having this website. It is very informational. My three-year-old Rottweiler injured his ACL last year. We had The tplo surgery done. And this past week almost a year to the day he injured his other ACL. We chose not to do another tplo surgery but are willing to consider a brace. After reading all your research it’s quite clear which brace I’d choose and will be ordering one soon. Thanks

  4. Bobbie Glover says:

    My dog has ACL. I do not have the money to do surgery and I am so worried about him. You are saying your brace starts at $295.00 what is the most it can be for a lab bread, 100 lbs. would he wear this forever or what. would this keep him from getting worse and does your brace go up around the shoulder area also or is it just on the leg? please let me know asap
    thank you
    Bobbie

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