A Little Support from OrthoPets ~ Heather, Technician & Blog Editor

When I was 21 years old, I fell in love. He was soooooo handsome. He had the sweetest face, a deep, soulful voice, and huge floppy ears. 

His name was Roscoe.

Roscoe crossed over the Rainbow Bridge several years ago, but in the short time that he spent with me, he taught me some very important lessons in dog ownership. I knew going into his adoption that I was taking on an elderly, arthritic dog who had been through a great deal of abuse and neglect. I expected that he would need extra care in the final years of his life. What I didn't know was that just weeks after his adoption, he would tear his cranial cruciate ligament.

Much like an ACL tear in their human counterparts, tearing of the CCL causes serious instability in the joint that leads to swelling, severe pain, sudden rear leg lameness, and eventual osteoarthritis.

At 21 years old, I worked at a doggie daycare making close to minimum wage. I had no credit history to speak of, and my new addition was becoming very expensive very quickly. While I was ready to do whatever needed to be done (even if that meant putting myself in debt), his veterinarian did not heavily recommend surgical intervention initially due to his other conditions. Aside from surgery, his only option seemed to be constant rest and medication to reduce inflammation and pain. After a few weeks, it became clear that this was not going to be enough.

With no other options from that veterinarian and little veterinary knowledge myself, I set out to research what other owners had done in my shoes. After speaking to owners online and making a few calls to other area veterinarians, I discovered a company called OrthoPets that created custom orthotic and prosthetic devices for dogs and other animals. My veterinarian at the time had never heard of this company and was very skeptical, but they agreed to help me through the process of casting his leg, taking measurements, and sending away for his custom brace.

A little less than two weeks later, Roscoe was fitted with his new device. Almost instantly, his demeanor changed. He stood taller, walked more confidently, and seemed to be much less painful. While Roscoe did eventually become a good surgical candidate, I was so thankful that OrthoPets provided him with the support he needed until that time.

Shiloh Animal Hospital has fitted patients for braces through OrthoPets in the past, and we are happy to discuss this process and all other options with you should your pet need extra joint support.

Comments? Questions? Reply to this post below! We would love to have your input on any and all of our posts.


  1. Are dogs with hip and elbow dysplasia candidates for braces?

  2. Typically, no. We want those dogs to move the joints and they tend to be uncomfortable but not unstable. There are a lot of alternative options available for patients with both elbow and hip dysplasia, and we would be happy to schedule a consultation to discuss what would be best for your individual pet.

  3. Is the brace always temporary or could it be used long term to avoid surgery? Maybe for an older, less active dog?

  4. It is typically used long term. The ligaments that have ruptured don't heal so the brace is intended to mimic the support that is naturally provided by the ligaments.


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