By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner
The Patient: Philomena, a 15-pound 1-year-old Pug with a spinal injury and a brachial plexus nerve injury resulting in a paw contracture and partial paralysis of her front left leg.
Case of Interest: The most successful clinical outcome for a pet with a custom brace is the result of a team effort between the pet family, veterinarian, rehab specialist, and the My Pet’s Brace practitioners. With everyone working together, Philomena’s condition continues to improve to this day. Philomena originally visited our Morgantown, PA facility for a carpal brace at the referral of her physical therapist. As her range of motion improved, a second carpal brace was fabricated. Philomena required the third brace but had moved away from our main facility. Luckily, she was within driving distance of our new patient care clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee where she was cast and fit with her third carpal brace.
Diagnostic History: In February of 2017, Philomena jumped from a couch and landed heavily on the floor. The impact resulted in a brachial plexus nerve injury which caused partial paralysis of her left side and contracture of the left front paw. The contracture of the paw caused her to drag her leg and walk on the top of her paw, resulting in abrasions. She attended hydro and physical therapy sessions and was regaining function on her left side. Her physical therapist referred Philomena to My Pet’s Brace for a brace to protect the left paw and carpal joint from further damage due to her brachial plexus injury.
Philomena presented to our facility in July of 2017 with a contracted left paw. She had good mobility in the remaining limbs and was alert and eager to move. It was determined that a non-jointed carpal brace would be beneficial for Philomena’s brachial plexus injury. The brace would protect the top of the paw from abrasions and would halt any further collapse of the carpal joint due to the brachial plexus injury. A cast was taken of her front left leg from the elbow down at an angle that was comfortable for Philomena. A custom brace was then created using the cast. The brace was made using medical-grade plastic and straps with pads to hold the brace securely on her leg. The brace was also equipped with a rubberized sole to aid in walking and movement. Philomena returned a week later to be fitted with the brace. Appropriate adjustments were made to ensure an accurate and comfortable fit.
Follow-Ups: Philomena returned in November of 2017 to be re-cast for a second brace. Through therapy, she was achieving greater flexibility in her paw and she needed a new brace with a more accurate angle. She returned a week later to be fit with her new brace.
Due to her progress with physical therapy, in June of 2018, it was determined that a third brace would be best for her continued improvement. Philomena and her family had relocated to Georgia during this time. Happily, our Knoxville, Tennessee location was convenient for them to visit for appointments. The practitioners at our Morgantown and Knoxville facilities discussed Philomena’s case and shared notes before the casting and fabrication of her third brace.
Philomena continues to go to physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture. We look forward to seeing her progress as her condition continues to improve with the help of her brace and her entire team.