There are approximately 77 million dogs in the US, and they can suffer knee injuries just like humans. Some of the injuries are simple sprains, but others can be much more serious, like a tendon or a tear to the Canine Cruciate Ligament or CCL. It is estimated that 1.2 million dogs have surgery on their CCL per year in the US, which is about five times the number of human operations, although humans outnumber dogs five to one. But if your dog has a knee injury, you may be able to fit him with a dog knee brace instead of choosing expensive surgery.
Why Get a Dog Knee Brace?
A dog knee brace is a special orthopedic device that is placed on the dog’s knee to guide the knee in healthy anatomical movements and to reduce motions that can damage the knee further. If your dog has an injured CCL, the knee brace will reduce the backward slide of the femur on his tibia and reduce the chances the ligament will stretch. This is sometimes refered to as a “drawer movement”.
The brace will let the knee flex or bend somewhat but it will reduce this motion to promote healing.
While many dogs are surgical candidates to fix their CCL, there are cases where the surgery will not work. Bracing can be the best solution when a dog is older. Some dogs have injuries to both legs and surgery on both would be extremely expensive and recovery challenging. Others simply cannot tolerate anesthesia because of age, weight, or other medical conditions.
In other cases, dogs may be too young for surgery because the growth plates in their bones have not matured yet. Bracing also is a good idea before or after surgery to protect the site for a large or very active dog. Some say that the dog knee brace will speed the rehabilitation process.
And of course, some people simply cannot afford thousands of dollars in surgical bills for their pet. In these cases, a dog knee brace truly can make a huge difference and make the dog’s life much better.
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Here are some other times where you may want to consider a dog knee brace:
- Strain or sprain in the knee joint
- Dog is limping on the back leg, is unstable or shows fatigue
- Knee stabilization in older dogs
- Brace can be worn all day and taken off at night
- For an active dog who needs regular knee support
Speak to your vet today and see if a dog knee brace is a good choice for your pet.