Does your dog need a knee brace?
If you aren’t a veterinarian, chances are it’s hard for dogs to tell. Dogs can utilize the benefits of a knee brace for several different reasons. They can be used as part of conservative management for certain knee injuries, to support the joint and improve mobility, or as a non-surgical alternative to ACL and other kinds of surgery.
As dogs get older, their ligaments and joints wear down. Supportive, well-fitted knee braces can be great for older pups who still want to run and romp around without feeling the effects of their play later.
Knee Braces are Helpful
Knee braces, just like for humans, can be used as a solid method of joint support for older dogs without injuries, too. As dogs get older, their ligaments and joints wear down. Braces can be great for older pups who still want to run and romp around without feeling the effects of their play later. Whether your dog is recovering from injury, just getting older, or something else, knee braces are fantastic ways to keep them healthier and active for longer.
The following are common reasons why your dog may need a knee brace:
Dogs with injuries to their knee ligaments or meniscus, such as a torn ACL, may benefit from a knee brace. The brace can help stabilize the joint and prevent further injury while allowing the dog to remain active. Think about a brace as an added form of support for the ligament. Humans use a brace for the same thing.
Dogs with arthritis in their knee joint can regain a bit of mobility and quality of life with a knee brace. A well-fitted brace will support the joint by helping to absorb some of the weight. By keeping the weight off of the joints, a dog with arthritis will have more ability to move comfortably. allowed to move more comfortably.
Degenerative Joint Disease
Dogs with degenerative joint disease (also known as Osteoporosis) can benefit from a knee brace, too. Knee braces are incredibly helpful for dogs with DJD because they need the extra support. The most common signs of DJD in dogs include stiffness, limping, difficulty rising or lying down, decreased activity, and reluctance to exercise or play.
The help of a knee brace gives dogs with DJD an improved quality of life. DJD is chronic, meaning it can’t be cured — only treated. The brace can also help prevent further degeneration of the joint and keep your pup active for longer.
Dogs that have undergone knee surgery or an ACL surgery can benefit deeply from a knee brace— especially during their recovery period. A knee brace will support the joint and provide stability as your dog begins to regain strength and mobility. The brace can also help to prevent the joint from moving in ways that could re-injure the ACL, or cause further damage.
Utilizing a knee brace post-surgery also helps your dog to feel more comfortable and confident during exercise — or movement, at all.
Walking, running, or simple mobility can be challenging during this phase. A knee brace will help reduce pain and swelling in the joint. The brace can also help distribute weight more evenly across the joint, which can reduce stress on the healing ACL. Check out
In some cases, a knee brace may be used as a non-surgical alternative to knee surgery. A well-fitted brace will stabilize the joint and improve the dog’s mobility — allowing them to remain active without undergoing surgery. They also provide pain relief because they support the joint.
Dogs with torn ACLs struggle with stability and balance as well. Knee braces help to stabilize the joint and prevent further damage to the torn ACL. This can be particularly helpful in cases where surgery cannot be performed immediately.
And finally, in some cases, your veterinarian may recommend the use of a knee brace prior to ACL surgery to help condition the dog’s leg and improve muscle strength. This can help make the surgery and recovery process easier for your dog as well.
Talk to Your Vet
Knee braces aren’t a fix-all, although we wish they were. While wildly cost-effective in comparison to other forms of rehabilitation, it’s important to note that knee braces are not appropriate for all dogs or all knee injuries. Without proper education and information, it can be easy to prolong an injury by using a knee brace instead of taking a more intrusive route of care. It really just depends on your dog and the injury he or she is dealing with.
Knee braces should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian or veterinary specialist. Talk to your veterinarian to discuss your options and if a knee brace is the right move for you and your pup. Knee braces are often a part of a rehabilitative regimen, not the single solution to the issue your dog is enduring.