Last Tuesday we received the new brace from Orthopets to help Foyle stabilize his stifle during harder activity so it doesn't tear any more. Now that we know he has kidney disease he won't be able to have the TPLO surgery for quite a while because we don't want to risk damaging his kidneys even more. Here's a picture of him after only wearing if for a few minutes, once he got used to a slightly different gate he went out to the backyard and ran around like a crazy dog.
Orthopets was started in 2003 by Martin and Amy Kaufmann who brought together their knowledge of orthotics and prosthetics to the animal world. They design and build custom orthotic braces, and prosthetics, for the stifle, the hock and paw, below hock level prosthetics, elbow, carpus and paw, fore-limb prosthetic, and unique adaptive braces for multiple limb loss. It's truly amazing that they can give injured dogs their freedom and mobility back, and dogs are able to enjoy a quality of life that would have been dismissed otherwise. The prosthetic devices are remarkable and designed as well as they would be for a human.
We took Foyle into VSA to have him measured and a "cast" made of his leg which was an interesting adventure in itself since no one there had done it before. That process only took about.....5 hours. But here's how it goes; they wrap the leg in Saran Wrap, then using the casting tape that comes in the kit they mail to you the vet makes a "cast" of the leg which they then cut off once it is set. Next comes the fun part of writing your dogs name in big black letters on the cast, and once you are done decorating it you send it back to Orthopets. They make a mold with the cast which they use to carve the design of the brace out of and along with the measurements that you also send, they fabricate the brace. 7 days later it arrived in the mail! It's a bit tricky to remember where all the straps go but so far I haven't seen any rubbing so I think it is fitting him very well! We did do quite a bit of trimming on his back legs so the hair wouldn't get caught in the velcro but that's the only negative that we've run into with the brace so far.
We need one more brace to be made for his left leg and then he should be able to be more active and do some playing with his little friends. The big guns are still a little to big for him to tackle, even with the brace on! We still want to build muscle around the tendons and cartilage so he won't be wearing them constantly, but at least we have them now for backup! More action shots will be coming in the future.