Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dogs and Knee Braces for cruciate injuries, part II.

Last year, I posted about a brace I had for my dog called the Atrac from after much research. Our girl has a torn ACL, which is a devastating injury.

Before I go on, I must apologize to so many of you who made comments. I never saw the comment notices and so never posted an update thinking no one had been interested. I am just SO sorry about this. My apologies.

I have to admit that it has been a long bumpy road and sadly, it is not over. She did fairly well, but I noticed that she started having some back problems. She did not like the way the straps attached down her back because of course it would pull a bit, as it should have in order to keep the tension on the brace correct. She would then bend her body just a bit to let off the tension.

If we loosened it ourselves, the the brace would slide down. It was a catch-22. Finally, we felt she was walking pretty well so we took it off. My daughter is living with us and her two dogs live here, so we have 4 large dogs in the house. They would play and she would start limping again.

The problems arose when she started losing weight. While wearing the brace, she wouldn't walk properly and (as I mentioned about her back) but also she began getting very thin. It's just so sad because they cannot tell us what is wrong. :'( As a human nurse, I suspected she was actually sort of grieving, as patients do when they have a major life change such as loss of independence or the loss of a limb.

To add to this, she was starting to act like she was in pain. We figured it was the combination of her back and leg. It took trying several things, but I finally found a regimen that worked for her. She would take tramadol and carprofen in the morning, then tramadol at night and we saw a serious improvement in her walking.

Finally we felt that she had been wearing the brace for long enough. We removed it and though she still limped a bit but it didn't slow her down, she wasn't in pain, she was very happy and began gaining weight again.

Then the worst thing in the world happened. She tore her other ACL. I kid you not! I couldn't afford another bilateral brace. Fortunately, that injury seemed relatively minor. Because she was not able to bear weight for long on either leg, we put the brace back on, grateful there is a cuff on the opposite side of the main brace portion. That cuff made a difference.

So! That's where we are now. You can judge for yourself. I think if you have a dog that isn't as headstrong as ours is, you'll probably do fine. Our girl is a spunky pistol. She's the boss of the house (the alpha dog, even with her bilateral injuries) and though she is obedient, you cannot make her do something she doesn't want to. Thus, the brace didn't work as well as I would have preferred.

I'm nearly 99% certain that if I put it on any of our other dogs, they would have done fine. It's just this one who is a rebellion with stuff like that. Once she had a hot spot that was horrible. She kept licking at it, making it worse. I put on the "cone of shame" to stop her from doing it and she refused to go anyway or do anything. She just pouted.

I hope this answers some of your questions. As many have commented on my original post, it worked out really well for a lot of you, which is what I would expect.

Her walking is definitely improved, but not 100% normal. I am absolutely confident that's because of her, rather than the fault of the brace.

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