Stifle Braces in Dogs: Freedom Without the Top Strap

Australian Shepard wearing a Hero Brace stifle brace without a top strap

As devoted pet parents, we witness the sheer exuberance our dogs bring to life. But when injury strikes, it’s our duty to find solutions that restore their mobility and joy. Enter the canine stifle brace, a remarkable aid for dogs suffering from CCL (cranial cruciate ligament) tears.

Canine CCL Tears

Canine CCL tears can severely impact a dog’s stifle joint (akin to our human knee). These tears result from factors like obesity, strenuous activity, genetics, and aging. Certain breeds, including Labrador Retrievers, Staffordshire Terriers, and Saint Bernards are more susceptible. Symptoms vary from limping to complete lameness. If your furry friend shows signs of ligament
damage, consult your veterinarian. They’ll perform a physical evaluation and X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

Surgery and Beyond

While surgery is recommended and considered the standard of care, it’s not always feasible due to health issues or cost. That’s where non-invasive treatments come into play:

Joint Supplements: Fish oil, turmeric, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate aid in comfort.
• Diet and Exercise Modifications: Proper nutrition and controlled activity help maintain a healthy weight.
• Integrative Therapies: Acupuncture, Laser therapy, Extracorporeal Shockwave, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field, Animal Chiropractic, and Physical Rehab support recovery.
• Pain Management: Medications alleviate discomfort.
Custom Bracing: Supports the stifle and applies corrective forces to help prevent excessive movement.

The No Top Strap Solution

Hero Braces revolutionized canine stifle support. Unlike traditional braces, they skip the top strap, offering unparalleled comfort and freedom. Here’s how they work:
• Stabilization: Hero Braces focuses on increased stability for rear legs and knees.

• Custom Fabrication: Each brace is tailor-made to fit your dog’s unique body structure, ensuring optimal support.

Why Hero Braces?

• Durability: Hero Braces withstand rough play. No worries about stretching or tearing fabric.
• Sleek Design: Lightweight and sleek, they won’t hinder your dog with extra weight.
• Custom Fit: With over 200 dog breeds, customization matters. Hero Braces nails it.

The Science Behind the Top Strap Removal

Hero Braces initially explored the force-couple concept, akin to approaches used in human medicine for addressing cruciate tears. However, canine biomechanics posed unique challenges. The origin and insertion of hamstring muscles in dogs differ from humans, affecting brace fit. Canine thighs change shape significantly during hip and stifle (knee) movement, causing fitting issues. The top strap often loosened during walking due to changing thigh size. To address this, Hero Braces
consulted biomechanists at the University of Nebraska. They found that maintaining tension without design changes was mathematically impossible. By removing the strap, Hero Braces reduced fitting issues while still mitigating tibial thrust and cranial drawer. Our clinical experience showed that pets continue to do well without the top strap. For a deeper dive, watch out for Drs. Millis and Levine’s upcoming textbook on Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy.

Remember, a stifle brace isn’t just a device; it’s hope for your beloved companion. Whether your pup is a playful Labrador or a dignified St. Bernard, consider this simple solution to restore their zest for life.

I hope this blog sheds light on the innovative design of no-top strap stifle braces. If you have any questions, visit Hero Braces.

Hero Braces, Veterinary Equipment, Benkelman, NE