According to statistics, about a hundred NBA players since 1970 suffered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a knee injury caused by a sudden break, a change in direction, or jumping. As a result, these athletes had to undergo a gruesome rehabilitation process that will halt their careers for at least six months.
Interestingly, this type of injury does not only burden humans, but it is also one of the most common knee injuries among dogs. Instead of ACL, however, the same anatomical structure is known as cranial cruciate ligament or CCL in hounds. This injury does not happen as abruptly as with NBA players. Instead, the dog’s injury starts small and worsens over time.
If your dog has been diagnosed with an ACL tear after undergoing a cranial drawer test, it is best to rely on a dog knee brace to address the problem rather than let your pet go through a risky surgical procedure. To help you learn more about dog knee braces, here are essential things you should know:
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Why Should You Opt for a Knee Brace Over Surgery?
Veterinarians often suggest surgery to correct a CCL tear, but this option has several downsides compared to getting your dog a knee brace. The cons of a surgical procedure include the risk of anaphylactic shock or death because of adverse reactions to general anesthesia, infections after the operation, and other complications.
One severe side-effect of Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery that is commonly carried out among dogs with an ACL tear is osteosarcoma, a type of cancer in the bone. One case published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed the corrosion of a metal implant inserted during a TPLO surgery that resulted in cancer and eventual amputation of an 11-year-old female German shepherd.
When you opt for a knee brace, your dog does not have to face the risks above. Knee braces are non-invasive, which means you can be assured that no metals or other foreign object would be inserted inside your dog’s leg that can cause severe problems later. Apart from being a safer option, a knee brace is also a more cost-effective solution than surgical procedures.
How Does a Knee Brace Work?
Similar to leg braces used in humans, a knee brace for dogs works by stabilizing and supporting the knee joint. This device prevents the hyperextension of the joint and the thrusting forward movement of the tibia or the shinbone.
Given that the contraption limits the movement of the injured part, the knee brace can significantly reduce pain, which in turn can make your dog limp less and move more as natural healing occurs. While wearing the contraption, scar tissue will form until your dog can support its weight and mobility even without a knee brace.
Are Knee Braces Uncomfortable for Dogs?
Without a doubt, your dog will be uncomfortable if you opt for a “one-size-fits-all” knee brace since no such thing exists. Keep in mind that your dog needs this contraption to support its knee injury, which means the device should fit perfectly. Instead of mass-produced knee braces, it is best to choose one that is custom-made to ensure your dog’s comfort and fast recovery.
Given the discussion points above, it is evident that a dog knee brace is a safe and effective option to help your beloved pet recover from an ACL injury. It is important to note, however, that not all knee braces are created equal. It is best to do your research so that you can find a reputable veterinary equipment supplier that provides high-quality contraptions.