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Do Knee Braces Help Dogs?

Derrick Campana

Your dog is more like a member of the family than a pet. Just because he or she is an animal doesn't make them any less important in your eyes! If your child was hurting, you'd get them the medical care they need to feel better. You want to do the same for your dog! If your dog is showing signs of trouble walking, like limping and pain, you may be wondering if dog knee braces could help.

The short answer is yes, they can! You want to know more than this, though. We'll give you a much longer answer too! Long ago, dog braces were made by people who loved dogs but simply didn't know much about the science behind a dog's anatomy.

Things have changed!

Today, you can order a brace online that is made by actual orthotists, people trained in brace making. These professionals have researched mechanics and materials that work for dogs like yours.

First, know that your dog doesn't actually have a "knee" per say. Dogs have a slightly different anatomy than humans. Your dog has a "stifle" instead. A stifle brace typically treats a partial CCL tear. Stifle braces are used to stabilize the knee, prevent tibial drawer, alleviate pain and aid in scar tissue development. These knee braces or stifle braces can be used to:

#1. Prevent surgery

#2. Aid in post-operative healing

#3. Support the contralateral limb post-operatively  

#4. Stabilize the knee for non-surgical candidates or clients who can not afford surgery

In the end, we want to help all the dogs. A study done at Colorado State Veterinary School showed 85% of owners are satisfied with the results of bracing. More owners were satisfied with surgery, but that doesn't mean surgery is always better. Some dogs cannot have surgery, either because of a financial limitation or because the pet is too old to successfully recover from one. This has led caring pet parents to look for other options to help their dogs. Surgeons know that surgery works in the best case scenario, but not all. This is why you may need to look at other options, like bracing. 

University of Louisville did a study simulating a dog's leg and a torn CCL. Their study showed the brace did as well as any surgery limiting the "bad motion" that leads to pain and further damage. The study also showed that the more rigid the joints, the better the brace did at limiting this bad motion.

Stifle braces (knee braces) are the most common type of brace made at Bionic Pets. When you order a dog knee brace from us, the casting kit is included! All you need to do is answer a few questions on our online form, like your dog's breed and weight. What color do you want the brace to be? What is your vet's name and address? With a few simple pieces of information, we'll get to work!