Why Dog Knee Braces Are Important For Pre and Post Op Care

It is estimated that there are 89.7 million dogs in the united states today, of those over 2 million will suffer from a CCL tear, and of those 600,000 will have a TPLO surgery to repair their cranial cruciate ligament.  Veterinarians offer TPLO surgery to repair this common dog injury without a lot of discussion about pre and post op care.  Commonly the only pre-op care a dog will receive is pain meds to get them by until they can have surgery.  With a relatively small number of veterinary orthopedic surgeons in the nation it may take months to get your beloved fur baby into surgery.  In the meantime pet parents are feeding their animals pain pills that only mask the pain and may actually make the injury worse as the pain is an indicator for an animal not to over do it.  Without that marker they may go back to regular activity and not rest the area the way it needs to be rested thus resulting in further injury.  On the other side is post-op care which has also typically been taught to give pain meds and encourage rest.  Unfortunately it can be difficult to force your dog to rest the area and not cause post surgical complications.  It is estimated that 14-34% of dogs that have a TPLO surgery will develop a complication and 10% will require a second surgery from this complication.

Using a custom dog knee brace for both pre-op and post-op can help decrease the risk of complication by providing support as well as reminding the animal not to out run their injury.  The knee brace otherwise known as the stifle brace restricts the drawer motion which is the cause of most CCL injuries in the first place, and by restricting this movement your pet will be able to move and walk with full range of motion except the drawer motion allowing the ligament to rest and heal.  By allowing your pet to wear this device it will be a physical and mental reminder to them to take it easy and keep them from over doing it.  Animal rehabilitation is also an emerging option for post-op care.  This can be a combined with a stifle brace and ensure the best outcome for your pet.  Together with an animal rehabber, and a custom knee brace your dog can heal from a TPLO surgery with less downtime and complications.  


Just like humans a dog that receives both knee braces and physical therapy will recover faster and decrease further downtime and injury from a ligament repair surgery such as the TPLO.  It is also important to mention that 30-50% of dogs that have one CCL rupture will likely rupture their other leg within 2 years, as the condition that causes the CCL to rupture is usually present in both knees.  CCL tear is the most common naturally occurring orthopedic injury in dogs usually caused by repetitive stress, lack of exercise, being overweight, and over exerting themselves.  By bracing the non-injured leg to prevent the drawer motion the dogs chance of tearing the other CCL is greatly reduced.  

If you wish to discuss a custom brace for your animal please call Specialized Pet Solutions at 509-934-0067 or email us at specializedpetsolutions@yahoo.com