By: Terry Lackmeyer, My Pet’s Brace Customer Service Representative
Many people are concerned about having the cast made of their dog’s leg. Believe it or not, the casting process is simple. It is non-invasive, doesn’t hurt the dog, and is finished in under five minutes. So how does the magic work?
We or your local veterinarian professional make the cast while your dog is in a natural standing position. If the injury is such that the dog cannot put any weight on the leg, the cast can be done with the dog lying down. To keep the dog comfortable, someone will support the dog’s weight during the casting process. At our facilities, you the owner, is with your dog the entire time offering help and a calming voice.
First a cotton stockinette is placed over the affected leg. This is a light-weight fabric, heavier than a nylon stocking but lighter than a regular sock, which goes over the dog’s leg to prevent the casting material from sticking to the hair. For those hairy dogs, we gather that excess hair and compress it into the stockinette eliminating the need to shave the leg. That makes everyone very happy!
Next, a piece of surgical tubing is placed vertically on the lateral or outside along the length of the dog’s leg.
The fiberglass casting tape is soaked in tepid water for about 10 seconds. This activates the ingredients in the tape. The casting tape is wrapped fairly snuggly around the leg and over the tubing overlapping the fiberglass in two to three layers. For hock and carpal braces, the entire foot in included in the casting process. The casting material is then massaged well to facilitate a good impression of the dog’s leg and the location of the surgical tubing is marked with a marker.
Once the casting tape starts to setup, which only takes about a minute or two, the practitioner cuts along the marked surgical tubing with a utility knife. With the cast cut open, the clinician uses scissors to cut the stockinette. The cast is then slipped from the dog’s leg, stapled together, and allowed to harden. Voila – we now have a cast of your dog’s leg.
We have videos on our website that show in more detail how a cast is taken for each type of custom brace we make. You and veterinarians can watch the videos to understand and learn the casting process.
The cast will be filled with plaster and an exact replica will be made of your dog’s leg. Using that plaster replica, we create the custom-fitted brace so that we can get your dog on the road to recovery. Whether we are making a stifle, carpal, hock, or elbow brace, a well-made cast is the basis for a comfortable, functional brace that will help your pet live a happier life.