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Pet orthotics

Pet orthotics refers to the use of orthotics for pets. Orthotics is an allied health care field concerned with the design, development, fitting and manufacture of orthoses. Orthoses, sometimes called braces or splints, are devices that support or correct musculoskeletal deformities and/or abnormalities of the body.

Animals that might benefit from the use of an orthosis commonly have an injury to a lower limb or paw, such as a fracture, torn meniscus, ruptured Achilles tendon, or injured cruciate ligament (ACL or CCL). They may also have an orthopedic condition due to arthritis, spinal cord injury, or a congenital abnormality. Animals that have used orthoses and even prostheses (artificial limbs) include dogs, cats, horses, llamas, and an orangutan. Each animal's situation is unique and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.[1]

Orthoses can decrease pain and increase stability in an unstable joint, as well as prevent potential progression or development of a deformity or contracture. An orthosis will prevent, control or even assist the motion of a joint, depending upon how it is made. An orthosis can be made for short-term use during a post-operative healing period, for example, or for long-term, chronic use.[2] They can provide a good quality of life for an animal that might otherwise have to be euthanized. [3]

With a few exceptions, orthoses for animals are custom made from a cast. They are typically formed from lightweight plastic or carbon fiber material with a comfort liner inside and velcro to hold them in place. They may have solid joints or hinged joints. A knee (stifle) or foot orthosis for a large dog will cost in the range of US$400 - $600 (2009).[4]

See also

  • Meadow (calf)


  1. "The Ability of Mobility", Pet Country Magazine http://petcountrymag.com/index.php?id=articles&article=27
  2. Sherman O. Canapp Jr., DVM, et al. "Current Applications in Canine Orthopedic Devices: Prosthetics, Orthotics, Braces, and support systems" ACVS Small Animal Proceedings Symposium 2008, pp463-465 at http://vetsportsmedicine.com/resourceCenter/documents/Orthopedicdeviceswebsite.doc
  3. Dr. Jim Humphries PodCast at http://www.podcastgo.com/Channel.aspx?nid=795b2078-fcf4-419e-b52d-973c0546f770&iid=fafb4ffe-ee0e-47c7-b0c5-8cfaece5a38d&eid=5cccea48-cd0a-4227-92f8-96c8b5382813
  4. http://handicappedpets.com/www/index.php/help-pets-walk/dog-braces.html


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