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Case Study: Leo – Australian Cattle Dog With A Carpal Contracture

By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner

The patient: Leo, a three-year-old, 41-pound Australian Cattle Dog with a carpal contracture

Case of Interest: Leo’s carpus needed long-term support.  Six years and three braces later, Leo continues to wear his brace every day and is an active, happy dog.

Diagnostic History: Leo was adopted from the Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association when he was one and a half years old.  Because Leo could not bear weight on his right front paw, his family had him evaluated by a neurologist, an orthopedic surgeon and a rehabilitation team.  Leo was diagnosed with radial nerve damage in his right shoulder.

The injury, most likely from blunt force trauma, resulted in a carpal contracture.  After undergoing physical therapy, Leo’s family decided to pursue a custom brace.

The patient presented to My Pet’s Brace in November of 2014 with a carpal contracture, walking on the dorsal aspect of his carpal.

After an evaluation at our clinic, it was concluded that Leo would benefit from a carpal brace to prevent further contractures and to protect the paw from knuckling and abrasions that could become infected.  Initially, a jointed carpal brace was fabricated using medical-grade plastic and an adjustable metal joint. 

Follow-Ups: Leo was reexamined at six months and seven months after delivery of the carpal brace.  By his first recheck, Leo was wearing the brace full-time and was bearing increased weight on the braced leg. 

Due to his athleticism and responsiveness to commands, Leo began taking agility classes while wearing his brace.  Leo loved the challenge of the obstacles and climbing elements.  

A new non-jointed carpal brace was fabricated eight months post-delivery of the original brace.  Physical therapy did not improve the contracture and Leo was not extending at the carpal, making the joint unnecessary.  Leo wore the brace so much that the family ordered a spare non-jointed carpal brace one year post-delivery of the second brace.

Leo continues to wear his brace every day for support and protection.  His family said, “The brace has made his life so very much easier. You can tell when he needs it put on, he looks at you and offers up his leg. Without the brace he tires out easier and is a bit more sedentary, but with the brace he just soars. It’s been life altering for all of us.”

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