We have noticed a significant increase in the number of orthoses being custom made for pets, especially dogs. HandicappedPets.com shows very clearly how Tamarack™ joints are being used. Many of the orthoses shown on these pages – and the one at right – are “stifle” (knee) orthoses that are for stabilizing and managing a torn meniscus or a cruciate ligament.
(Photos courtesy of HandicappedPets.com)
In each of the last three years, HandicappedPets.com, a website that offers products, services, and support for elderly, disabled, and special needs pets, has seen a 200% annual increase in sales of orthotics, prosthetics, and support equipment for dogs. Mark Robinson, President of HandicappedPets.com told me, “People are treating their pets as part of the family and, as such, are providing them with the care and equipment they need to live happy, healthy lives. Orthotics, Prosthetics and dog wheelchairs are among the leaders in this growth.”
One of the pioneers in fabricating pet orthoses is OrthoPets, founded by Martin Kaufmann. OrthoPets is based in Denver, Colorado. Finally, Ben Blecha of Sky Prosthetics is doing a lot of work with custom made pet orthoses. http://www.skyprosthetics.com/ Ben recently spoke at
The 2009 Veterinary Symposium put on by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons has a session on pet orthoses. Given that knee surgery for dogs can be very expensive – approximately $3000; that dogs do not understand the concept of rehabilitation; and that dogs often injure the contralateral ligament after an initial injury – one can understand why orthoses may make sense. According to most practitioners, a typical custom, stifle orthosis can be fabricated for under $700.
Posted by John Lampe, President – Tamarack Habilitation Technologies