Dog Knee Support

Sometimes a brace is needed to support a dog knee after a traumatic injury or surgery. A common knee injury for dogs involves the rupturing of the cruciate ligaments, which cross through the middle of the knee joint and stabilize the joint.

Cruciate Ligaments in the Dog Knee

When ruptured, the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone), which join at the knee are able to slide over each other, producing terrible pain. The knee is unable to support any weight, much less function correctly, and therefore surgery is necessary. After surgery, the knee needs recuperation time to heal. A knee brace gives support during this time and prevents further slipping and injury.

Since a dog's knee is always bent by design, there is always stress on the cruciate ligaments. Certain breeds are susceptible to ruptured cruciate ligaments, such as Labrador retrievers, mastiffs and rottweillers. Genetic and/or health problems can also predispose a dog for ligament problems. Usually very active, energetic dogs, which run and dart while changing directions quickly and frequently, rupture their cruciate ligaments.

Brace Therapy

If the ligaments are not completely torn, there is a possibility that surgery is not needed. However, a knee support brace must be worn, followed by physical therapy to regain stability, strength and mobility in the knee.

The brace can also ensure that the ligaments are lined up so that they heal properly. The brace will also prevent further injury. Tissues other than the ligaments themselves could have been damaged and will need stability and support during the healing process. Wearing a brace will also decrease pain and inflammation to the injured area. A dog should remain as active as possible without injuring himself further, to prevent atrophy of the other muscles in the body. An injured dog needs to at least walk slowly for a brief period of time so that his body does not waste away through inactivity.

Less Expensive

If surgery is not necessary or unaffordable, a brace can help the ligaments to heal properly at a more affordable cost. However, daily exercise such as short walks it essential in preventing atrophy and increasing muscle strength. Since the knee brace gives support to the knee itself, it is capable of bearing weight in an anatomically correct position for stability. Daily massages are also important since they increase the blood flow to the injury site and stimulate healing by providing nutrients to the injury site.

Selecting a Dog Knee Support Brace

Consult with your veterinarian when selecting a dog knee brace. It is important that the brace is fitted correctly and provides the support and stability needed for proper healing. You should ensure that the brace is comfortable to wear and does not cut into the flesh as the leg moves. Make sure you're properly instructed as to how to use the brace and how to take care of it so that it lasts and maintains its proper form. A brace that is damaged in some way should not be used, since it no longer ensures proper support and movement. Using a damaged brace can actually do more harm than good.