New design offered by OrthoVet

OrthoVet Hinged Dog Leg Splint or brace

 

  OrthoVet is now offering a hinged or articulated  splint or brace option to our product line.  This option is ideal when the dogs leg needs support but also will allow motion at a specific joint space.  We can fabricate the hinged splints for both front and rear legs. 

 

 

Hinged splint for front limb.
Hinged splint for front limb.

            Some examples of injuries where a hinged splint is advantageous are, Arthritic conditions at the carpal joint or hock joint,  Tendon and Ligament strains, and nerve damage cases.   We always recommend Veterinary consultation in determining what style of splint or brace is best.

For more information regarding the hinged splint,  please contact us toll free at 866-207-9205 or contactus@orthovet.com.

What is Degenerative Myelopathy?

Affected brain

 

What is Degenerative Myelopathy?

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease typically is seen between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination  in the hind legs . The dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind leg and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk.   Another key feature of DM is that it is not a painful disease.

What causes Degenerative Myelopathy?

Degenerative myelopathy begins with the spinal cord in the (chest) region. The spinal cord begins to have weak or damaged fibers that transmit information to and from the brain.  The disease will strip away the insulation around the fibers and cause complete loss of actual fibers. This interferes with the communication between the brain and limbs and cause paralysis.

How do we treat degenerative myelopathy?

There are no treatments that have been clearly shown to stop or slow progression of DM. Although there are a number of approaches that have been tried or recommended on the internet, no scientific evidence exists that they work.  The quality of life of an affected dog can be improved by measures such as good nursing care, physical rehabilitation, pressure sore prevention, monitoring for urinary infections, and ways to increase mobility through use of splints, harnesses and carts.

OrthoVet offers a complete line of lower limb splints.  The OrthoVet Bootie Splint for the rear limb has been used to help assist in Degenerative Myelopathy cases.

The Senior Dog

The Senior Dog:

Like people, dogs are individual in the way they age. Certain breeds, mixed breeds, and, in general, smaller dogs tend to live longer. A small dog of less than 20 pounds might not seem to show any signs of age until she is 12 or so. A 50-pound dog won’t seem old until about 10. Larger dogs begin to show their age at 8 or 9.

With the right care, it’s not uncommon for dogs to live to 14 or 15 these days. Using established guidelines to determine when your dog might qualify as a senior will help you to understand changes in behavior or to anticipate a change in health status. On the basis of your knowledge, you will be better able to identify and approach health problems at an early stage, when they may be more easily treated. Following is a table to give you an idea of the relationship between a dog’s age and a human’s. Note that the weight of the dog is related to his age in human years:

A Dog’s Age in Human Years

Age

Up to 20 lbs

21-50 lbs

51-90 lbs

Over 90 lbs

5

36

37

40

42

6

40

42

45

49

7

44

47

50

56

8

48

51

55

64

9

52

56

61

71

10

56

60

66

78

11

60

65

72

86

12

64

69

77

93

13

68

74

82

101

14

72

78

88

108

15

76

83

93

115

16

80

87

99

123

17

84

92

104

Red numbers =
senior
Blue numbers =
geriatric

18

88

96

109

19

92

101

115

20

96

105

120

Chart developed by Dr. Fred L. Metzger, DVM, State College, PA. Courtesy of Pfizer Animal Health.

 

Exercise for Older Dogs


Exercise is as essential to dogs as it is to humans. It is profoundly tied to a dog’s physical, mental, and emotional health. A sedentary dog is a bored dog, often an overweight dog, and, in general, a less-than-optimally-healthy dog. In older dogs, obesity is the most common condition that vets see, and lack of exercise is a critical component of it.

As dogs age, they still need their exercise to benefit their heart, lungs, circulation, digestive system, and joints — as well as to fight obesity. Compared with younger dogs, however, older dogs need to adjust the type and duration of the exercise they do.

Every dog is different in the way he or she ages and the exercise he or she can handle. You really need to be very observant in assessing your particular dog’s abilities, natural inclinations, and current state of health. Keep alert to your dog’s being excessively out of breath, or to a drooping head and tail. If your dog coughs or does not get her breath back after five minutes of rest following exercise, have the vet check her heart. In fact, if your dog is over 7 and has not had a check-up including a geriatric screening for more than six months and she has not been exercising regularly, get the check-up before beginning an exercise program.

Keep in mind that in general smaller dogs — even younger ones — aren’t meant for distance running (therefore, it’s not a good idea to take a small dog jogging with you). And, if your dog is a larger dog, even if she enjoys running, she may be prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis, which probably means no running after a certain age.

Other basics to keep in mind: It’s best to exercise your dog before he eats and to wait about half an hour after the exercise session before giving a meal. Keep your dog out of the sun, and, on a hot day, it’s probably best not to exercise outdoors at all. Very cold, wet days are also times when indoor exercise is more appropriate.

If your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, check with your vet for recommendations on an exercise program. Usually walking and swimming are the best activities. For walking, use a leash so that you can control the duration and strenuousness of the exercise.

Two shorter walks will be less stressful on aging joints than one long walk. The walks can be quite brisk, provided the vet has given approval. A brisk walk should have four components:

  • a warm-up of about 5 minutes, gradually increasing the pace
  • brisk walking of about 20 minutes
  • a cool-down of about 5 minutes, during which you gradually decrease the pace
  • a drink of water.

If you play fetch with your older dog, throw the ball or toy a little closer than you did when your dog was younger, and repeat the toss fewer times. After a point, it is probably advisable to stop playing fetch and to concentrate on walking or swimming.

When swimming, remember that an older dog will tend to become chilled much more quickly than a young dog. Take big towels along, and use them to dry off your dog as soon as he gets out of the water — and preferably before he begins shivering.

At-home exercise is also a good alternative for older dogs. Use a carpeted area for the session, and one of your dog’s favorite toys. You can play a modified game of “fetch” in a relatively small area. You might also want to play a game that involves your dog doing “roll-overs” or lying on her back to “kick the air.” “Wrestling” and “keep away” are two other good games to play with your dog. The idea is to keep her active and moving in a physically non-stressful way. Use your imagination to invent other at-home games.

Splints and braces for dogs can also aid in the exercise program.    OrthoVet offers a full line of splinting and bracing for the Senior Pet.  These supportive devices can add comfort and support to weak or unstable joint spaces, allowing the dog to be back “on the move”!  Contact OrthoVet directly at www.orthovet.com or give us a call toll free, 866-207-9205.