By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner

The Patient: 
Bella, a 90-pound 7-year-old Anatolian Shepard/ Afghan mix with nerve damage resulting in internal rotation at the stifle and hock with subluxation at the hock.

Case of Interest: Custom bracing enables us to design and fabricate devices made specifically to meet the needs of each pet.  After fitting Bella’s first hock brace, there continued to be significant laxity and internal rotation at the stifle. A second hock brace was created with a special upper cuff around her thigh to prevent the unwanted rotation.

Diagnostic History: In September of 2010, Bella had been hit by a car which caused severe injuries. Bella underwent several surgeries to repair the broken bones, but unfortunately, she had also sustained nerve damage. This nerve damage resulted in a subluxation of the right hock and severe knuckling on the right rear leg. After years of knuckling, sores and calluses had developed on the top of her toes as well as an abnormal walking gait and stance.

In September of 2017, she was referred to My Pet’s Brace by her veterinarian for a brace to aid in returning Bella to a more normalized conformation.

Treatment and Plan: Bella presented with severe laxity in the hock and stifle. This caused subluxation of the hock resulting in weight-bearing on the dorsal aspect of Bella’s right rear paw and severe varus at the hock. It was determined that a right rear hock brace would be fabricated to allow for weight-bearing to return to the proper surface of the paw. An accurate cast was taken of the leg from the most distal aspect of the paw to the stifle. A week later Bella returned to be fitted with her brace.

Bella was given no restrictions and could continue her daily habits, however, the brace was to be slowly introduced to her by having her wear it one hour the initial day and increasing one hour each day until she had it on from morning until night, only taking it off if she was sleeping or if she was crated or kenneled.

Follow-Ups: Bella was re-evaluated at three weeks. At this three-week check-up, it was determined that the brace controlled the subluxation and laxity in the hock, but did not account for internal rotation at the stifle which had become more apparent as the hock’s movement was restricted.

Another cast was taken with more flexion to control the internal rotation. A second brace was created. This brace combined a typical hock brace with an additional cuff around the thigh to control the unwanted rotation. This brace was fit approximately one week later. It was immediately apparent that she was walking with a normalized gate with little to no rotation at the stifle or hock. Bella was seen approximately three weeks and eight-month post-delivery. Bella continues to improve, muscle mass has increased and the sores have healed.