By: Terry Lackmeyer, My Pet’s Brace Customer Service Representative
Cranial cruciate ligament injuries (ACL/CCL) are one of the most common orthopedic injuries in dogs. For this injury, veterinarian and rehabilitation professionals recommend surgery, physical therapy, and/or a knee brace. As one of only a handful of companies in the world providing custom knee braces for ACL/CCL injuries, we receive inquires every day about our knee brace. Here we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
How does a knee brace help my dog’s ACL/CCL injury?
Our knee braces are specifically designed for ACL/CCL injuries to prevent the tibia from thrusting forward (drawer movement) and the hyperextension of the joint. The brace greatly reduces your dog’s pain and allows your pet to put more weight on the leg and limp less while the natural healing process of scar tissue formation occurs. Once good strong scar tissue has built up, your dog will be back to their normal activity level and they no longer need to wear the brace. Most dogs only need to wear the brace for nine months, during which time they’ll be able to have an almost normal lifestyle.
Is the brace comfortable for my dog to wear?
Your dog’s brace is custom-made from a cast of their leg and comfortable for them to wear all day. In fact, many clients tell us their dog can’t wait to get the brace on; they lie down and offer their leg for the brace. The brace is:
- Custom- forming to the exact contours of your dog’s leg to create the perfect fit
- Lightweight- most braces weigh only a few ounces
- Jointed- your dog can easily bend their leg to sit, lie down, go for walks, play, and even swim while wearing the brace
- Well padded- the entire inside of the brace is lined with foam and extra padding on the straps of the brace
Read our blog “How Do Dogs Adjust To Wearing A Brace?” to learn how dogs quickly acclimate to their new brace.
How do you put the brace on/take the brace off?
The brace is easy to put on and take off your dog’s leg with three to four Velcro straps that go around the back of the leg. You’ll soon be a seasoned pro and it will take less than 60 seconds to put the brace on in the morning or take it off at night.
Our brace design has no harness system that attaches to another leg and you do not have to thread your dog’s leg from the top to the bottom of the brace, like other companies.
How does the brace stay up on my dog’s leg?
The brace stays securely in place through the use of our innovative suspension sleeve which suspends the brace on your dog’s leg. The suspension sleeve Velcro’s to the inside of the brace and wraps around above your dog’s hock. Your dog’s natural anatomy helps suspend (hence the name suspension sleeve) the brace on your dog’s leg with the help of this sleeve.
Other braces use harness systems or they continue tightening the bottom strap of the brace to keep the brace from slipping down.
What is the brace made of?
All of our braces are made with the same high-quality materials that are used for human braces and are waterproof. The outside of the brace is a hard medical-grade plastic that is required to provide the necessary support for ACL injuries. The inside is lined with closed-cell antibacterial foam for padding and the screws and rivets are stainless steel. The entire brace is very easy to clean with mild soapy water.
What happens if my dog chews the brace or I need a replacement strap?
To many peoples’ surprise, it is rare for dogs to chew the brace. If they chew anything it is usually the suspension sleeve or one of the straps. Here’s where good customer service, which we pride ourselves on, comes into play. Before any brace leaves our clinic, we record the measurements of all the straps and make a copy of the suspension sleeve. That way if a replacement part is needed all you have to do is call us, let us know which item is needed, and we can mail it to you. Straps can easily be changed using a flat-head screwdriver. Replacement parts usually go out the same day requested – like I said, good customer service.
What happens if I have a question about my dog’s brace?
We are just a phone call away! Again, we want your dog to do well with its brace and if your dog isn’t happy, neither are we. If you call with a problem, a clinician is only a phone transfer away and they are always ready and willing to speak to customers. Many customers can’t come to the clinic because they live too far away or possibly in another country, but we still want those dogs happy too. Therefore we will ask for a video or photo to be emailed to us so that we can see exactly what is going on. We often do that for local patients as well as that may save them from having to come into the clinic.
How long have you been making braces?
My Pet’s Brace was co-founded in 2010 by Jim Alaimo. Jim Alaimo is a Board Certified Prosthetist Orthotist and practiced human orthotics and prosthetics for over 20 years. For the past eight years, he has evaluated, cast, and fit dogs with our braces at our Main Office in Morgantown, PA. His daily hands-on interaction with patients of all breeds and orthotic needs allows us to continuously improve the devices and gives us the practical expertise necessary to answer even your most detailed questions. We have fabricated over 5,800 braces for dogs living all over the world.
Why can’t I just buy a soft knee brace or braces made from measurements?
While soft braces have their uses for strains or minor injuries, they simply can’t provide the support or stability needed to support a seriously injured joint, such as a torn cranial cruciate ligament in the knee. Soft braces are usually made of neoprene fabric, the same fabric used in wetsuits. That means it’s pliable and bendable; it can be squished up with your fist. A seriously injured joint requires support from something that will not bend or give – a rigid material. Braces made from measurements alone are not able to accommodate for breed differences or the exact curves of your dog’s leg.
My Pet’s Brace Difference:
- Efficacy – above all, the brace works
- Comfortable for your dog to wear
- Easy application and removal of the brace
- Easy replacement of parts
- Readily available clinicians
- Excellent customer service
The bottom line is that we want to help your dog walk and play comfortably again for you to be satisfied with our product and service. Let’s be honest, when your dog is happy, you’re happy, and when you and your dog are happy we’re thrilled because for us it’s not just a job, it’s a dedication! If you have any other questions, please give us a call.