How Can a Knee Brace Help My Dog?
The knee or stifle joint of a dog is where the tibia meets the femur and is supported by four ligaments, the cranial cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate, the lateral (outside) and the medial (inside) collateral ligaments. Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) injuries are some of the most common injuries your pup can have. The CCL is the most similar to the ACL in humans.
A knee brace is made to support the CCL to help heal the injury or prevent further damage. The knee joint is subjected to excessive motion on a regular basis, a knee support can help control the forward slide of the tibia on the femur, which is the key function of the cranial cruciate ligament. Supporting and stabilizing the knee joint with a brace can help your dog continue their normal daily walks and play without causing harm to the CCL.
- Rupture of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL)
- Patella Luxation
- Degeneration of the CCL
- Dislocated Knee Cap
When Should I Consider Using a Knee Brace on My Dog?
If you start to notice your dog having symptoms of a knee injury supporting the joint is a great way to help your pup until you can get to the Vet to have an exam.
Symptoms of knee injuries include:
- Limping in the hind legs.
- Joint stiffness that is most noticeable when resting after physical activity.
- Difficulty jumping or getting up from the floor.
- Sitting with one leg stuck out to the side.
- Clicking sound when your dog walks.
Giving your dog's stifle joint extra support while it is injured can help prevent a more severe injury when healing. Your dog might have a CCL tear that can be prevented from a full rupture by the use of a knee brace!
It is important to restrict your dog's movement immediately if you suspect a knee injury. Crate rest is always the safest option to prevent more harm. While you restrict you dog's activities it may be helpful to get a body support harness to help you lift your dog as they heal! The added support of a rear harness reduces the amount of pressure on a dog's injured joint. Getting a dog back on their feet is critical to rehabilitate from a cruciate tear or knee injury. An assistive device like a harness or dog wheelchair can improve independent mobility while taking weight off the joint.
When your dog is cleared for activity by your vet, using a knee brace when doing daily walks and play time can help prevent re-injury. Low impact activities that don't put too much pressure on the joint are great for rehab such as swimming or in a more clinical setting, hydrotherapy.