Phone: (610) 286-0018    Fax: (610) 286-0021

Year End Reflections

By: Terry Lackmeyer, My Pet’s Brace Customer Service Representative

As the year comes to a close and we pause to reflect, I’d like to give you a glimpse into the feelings and thoughts of the people who keep the wheels turning, or shall I say “keep the dogs walking” at My Pet’s Brace.

Staff Photo at My Pet’s Brace

Each one of us realizes we have the privilege of working in a very niche industry. With so few companies making devices for animals, we are aware of the huge responsibility that rests on our shoulders to help these animals. Each dog that comes to us is a new challenge because every dog is different. Dogs may share the same injury, but their anatomy is different, their personality is different, their environment is different, and their owner is different. Each dog is unique, and we strive to treat them as such.

Some dogs come to us with unbridled enthusiasm – happy to face new people and places. Those are the easy ones. Others are very frightened and require extra time and a very gentle touch. Some, although few, are aggressive and require not only extra time, but also caution. Others we only know by leg and a phone call (casts shipped to us from all over the world).  We gladly take whatever time is needed to see that each dog has a positive experience with us and their brace.

Corrinne, a My Pet’s Brace Clinician, taking measurements for a stifle brace

We have had the opportunity to help over 1,500 dogs with custom leg braces and prosthetics this year alone.  As you can see, some cases have been truly unique. 

Nya came to us following a serious accident where both front legs were severely injured. She had the wonderful fortune of being treated by a veterinarian that completed a complicated surgery where she reattached the pads of the amputated paw to the bottom of the front leg and surgically saved the other front leg with an external fixator. Following the removal of the fixator, Nya came to us for a carpal brace for that leg and is now living a very happy life.

Ginny came to us with an unusual disease that caused severe muscle deterioration and mal alignment of her back legs, necessitating a stifle brace to keep her mobile.

When these special cases appear, all of us come to watch and cheer as the animals take their first steps toward a better life.

All our employees are intense animal lovers and come to work each day ready to serve those creatures that need our help. Many bring exceptional knowledge, beyond the basic love and medical expertise required to help the animals that pass through our doors.

Val, a My Pet’s Brace Clinician, taking a cast of a dog’s leg

One employee was involved with the training of search and rescue dogs with the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, another spent years working in a boarding kennel and evaluating dogs for group interactions so that all dogs involved could interact peacefully without confrontation. Another employee trained dogs in obedience and agility, spent more than a decade as a groomer, and donated countless hours fostering dogs for rescue, while yet another employee grew up on a farm raising and showing livestock in 4-H competitions. We also have three vet techs with decades worth of care and expertise.

How many people get to say they love what they do? Fortunately, we do. As the year ends, we realize our ability to help injured animals is what keeps us going and striving to constantly improve our product.  It’s knowing that every day we can make a difference not only for the animal, but also the owner.

It’s what makes our customer service exceptional – knowing that the faster we respond to our customers, the faster their pet is going to feel better. It’s knowing that when distraught owners call, we feel their anxiety and concern. It’s knowing that when owners call and tell us their pet has passed away, we understand the pain and intense loss they experience.

As animal lovers, our job is bittersweet – we are sorry that we see injured animals every day, yet we are thrilled to be able to provide a product and service that makes their lives better. To all our referring veterinarians and past and future clients, we say thank you for entrusting your pets to us. From all the employees here at My Pet’s Brace, we wish you and all the pets in your life a happy, safe, and injury-free New Year!

Case Study: Hector – A Rescue Dog From Kuwait With Nerve Damage And An Ulcer On His Elbow

By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner

The Patient: Hector, a 2-year-old desert dog mix with severe carpal hyperextension and an ulcer on his olecranon (elbow).

Case of Interest: A local rescue organization with international ties learned of and adopted Hector from Kuwait.  Hector was severely collapsed on both of his front legs and walked on his elbows.  In Kuwait, he underwent surgery to repair a fractured radius and ulna in his right front leg.  He also sustained nerve damage in his left front leg and had an open ulcer on his olecranon.  When he was brought to the States, his left front leg was in a cast for several months to support the carpus and reduce the pressure on the ulcer on his elbow.  For a long-term solution, My Pet’s Brace recommended a brace to bring Hector into a more functional standing and walking position as well as to protect his olecranon and allow the open ulcer to heal.

Diagnostic History: Hector was seen at the My Pet’s Brace facility for the casting of his leg in March 2019 for a carpal brace.  The brace would replace the splint he was in for many months, stabilize his hyperextension and aid in the healing of the ulcer on his elbow. The brace was fitted to Hector and adjustments were made to ensure a proper and comfortable fit.

The carpal brace for Hector was made with an additional foam wedge affixed to the top outside of the brace.  The brace supports Hector’s leg in a more functional position and the added wedge lifts his leg off the ground when he lays down which allows air circulation and furthered the healing for the ulcer.

Hector was informed to begin wearing the brace for two hours the first day and increase an hour each day until he wore it during his active waking hours.  Hector’s activity and exercise were limited in the beginning of the break-in period until he became comfortable and the ulcer on his elbow healed.

Follow-Ups: Hector was seen two weeks, one and half months, and four and a half months post-delivery. During each of these appointments Hector’s skin was assessed and his overall comfort with the brace was examined. Adjustments and general upkeep were made accordingly.  As of his last appointment in August 2019, the ulcer on Hector’s elbow is fully healed and he is getting stronger every day.  Hector was also adopted by his forever family and is happily living life in his new home.

Case Study: Philomena – a Pug with a Brachial Plexus Injury

By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner

The Patient: Philomena, a 15 pound 1-year-old Pug with a spinal injury and a brachial plexus nerve injury resulting in a paw contracture and partial paralysis of her front left leg.

Case of Interest: The most successful clinical outcome for a pet with a custom brace is the result of a team effort between the pet family, veterinarian, rehab specialist and the My Pet’s Brace practitioners.  With everyone working together, Philomena’s condition continues to improve to this day.  Philomena originally visited our Morgantown, PA facility for a carpal brace at the referral of her physical therapist.  As her range of motion improved, a second carpal brace was fabricated.  Philomena was in need of a third brace, but had moved away from our main facility.  Luckily, she was within driving distance of our new patient care clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee where she was cast and fit with her third carpal brace.

Diagnostic History: In February of 2017, Philomena jumped from a couch and landed heavily on the floor. The impact resulted in a brachial plexus nerve injury which caused partial paralysis of her left side and contracture of the left front paw. The contracture of the paw caused her to drag her leg and walk on the top of her paw, resulting in abrasions. She attended hydro and physical therapy sessions and was regaining function in her left side. Her physical therapist referred Philomena to My Pet’s Brace for a brace to protect the left paw and carpal joint.

Philomena presented to our facility in July of 2017 with a contracted left paw. She had good mobility in the remaining limbs and was alert and eager to move. It was determined that a non-jointed carpal brace would be beneficial for Philomena. The brace would protect the top of the paw from abrasions and would halt any further collapse of the carpal joint. A cast was taken of her front left leg from the elbow down at an angle that was comfortable for Philomena. A custom brace was then created using the cast. The brace was made using medical grade plastic and straps with pads to hold the brace securely on her leg. The brace was also equipped with a rubberized sole to aid in walking and movement. Philomena returned a week later to be fit with the brace. Appropriate adjustments were made to ensure an accurate and comfortable fit.

Follow-Ups: Philomena returned in November of 2017 to be re-cast for a second brace.  Through therapy she was achieving greater flexibility in her paw and she needed a new brace with a more accurate angle. She returned a week later to be fit with her new brace.

Due to her progress with physical therapy, in June of 2018 it was determined that a third brace would be best for her continued improvement. Philomena and her family had relocated to Georgia during this time.  Happily, our Knoxville, Tennessee location was convenient for them to visit for appointments.  The practitioners at our Morgantown and Knoxville facilities discussed Philomena’s case and shared notes prior to the casting and fabrication of her third brace.

Philomena continues to go to physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture.  We look forward to seeing her progress as her condition continues to improve with the help of her brace and her entire team.

Follow Philomena on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube @PhilomenathePug!
Video courtesy of Philomena’s humans.