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How to desensitize a new puppy to allow toe nails/feet/legs touched

Hey guys, this is Nikki, Lead Veterinary technician with Posh Dog Knee Braces.  Today let’s talk about puppies!  Who doesn’t love puppies, right?  All those little sharp teeth chewing on everything😊  Well, this is the best time to get your new baby used to people and being handled. 

First, never force your puppy to do something, or yell and be cross.  The literally have a 30 second memory, so they just know mom or dad is yelling, and no idea what they did wrong.  Never every hit your puppy, especially in the first few months of growing.  Puppies have 3 very important learning times right around 8, 10, 15 weeks where they are the most sensitive and receptive to negative behavior from us.  This is when we need to be really gently, soothing voice, and friendly with them, even if they just chewed up your favorite pair of shoes!

Start with a treat, or a few treats, that your puppy likes.  Puppies want to please us, and are very food driven!  Even peanut butter smeared on the wall for them to lick is great.  Offer them a treat in one hand, and with the other hand gently touch their ears, massaging the tips, and work down to their toes.  Spend at least 5 minutes a day giving them treats in replacement of you touching them on toes/feet/legs/ and ears.  Especially if you have a floppy eared dog like I do, as they can be prone to ear infections.

This will really be helpful for you in the future.  They will trust you and others to touch them, or for the veterinarian to complete their exam.  I personally love puppy training classes, as they socialize your dog to other people, dogs, and get them even more bonded to your family in a safe environment.  Little dogs tend to be nervous as it is, and can be nippy with toe nail trims.  This can all be avoided if you take the time as a puppy to get them used to touch and other people. 

Once your puppy is used to you touching their feet without flinching them back, start bringing out the toe nail clippers.  Just let puppy sniff, and give them a treat.  Then maybe try to do one nail, and treat right away.  Do not force your dog to do all their toe nails at once, especially if they are afraid.  This is a great way to make a toe nail fear biter, and cost you a lot in grooming fees.

Desensitization can be helpful now, because if your puppy grows up and unfortunately gets a CCL tear someday, putting something on their leg like our brace will be no problem, because you have set them up to succeed!

Feel free to email me at poshintake1@gmail.com with any questions, or visit us at poshdogkneebrace.com


What breeds are more likely to have a CCL tear?

Genetics do factor in sometimes on whether our dogs will have a CCL tear or not.  Such as, I don’t see tears as much in sporting breeds like springer spaniels or setters, but do in rotties and newfies.  Not saying I have never had a sporting breed like springer or setter come in with an acute injury, but I don’t feel their genetically prone to the issue like other breeds are.

The following breeds have much higher chances of CCL injuries, including bilateral injuries.  Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, akitas, St. Bernard’s, rottweilers, Chesapeake bay retrievers, American Staffordshire terrier, and laborador retrievers.  Also Golden retrievers seem to also be affected more often that smaller breeds.

Toy breeds tend to have luxating patella issues, where the kneecap moves back and forth, thus causing concurrent CCL tears secondary to the LP issue.  We do see a fair share of chihuahuas, maltese, shihtzu’s, and Pomeranians as well.

So what if your dog is on the list?  What can we do?  Well, there are a few things you can do.  First off, don’t spay and neuter before they have reached maturity (~14 months), feed a breed appropriate diet with no bye products.  Diet correlates to muscle and ligament growth so much, which is why it is so important to start your puppy out the right way, on a good diet.  Preventing your dog from jumping in the air to play fetch, or turn corners too sharply.  Instead, roll the ball on the ground for them to run after.  Getting them on a good bone supplement may help, we need to feed those growing ligaments all the goodies we can, and sometimes they need more than their food will provide. 

Bones with marrow are great, bone broth is great, shark cartilage is good.  There are many things you can give that are good for your pup.  Taking your dog on regular leashed walks, and exercising them properly will also help.  Especially with our more lazy breeds, you know who you are!  😊

Dogs with more bowing in the knee tend to also get tears more frequently, such as rottweilers and any staffy breeds.  Again, try to keep these pups from jumping or rough play, as that can put stress on the joints. 

Let us know if you have any questions, poshdogkneebrace.com, or email me at poshintake1@admin.


To Shave or Not to Shave

Today I want to talk about hair length, and if it is necessary to shave your dog for our our brace.  For the measurement call, we need to be able to see all the bumps in the knee.  The hair needs to be less than 1” in length.

If you have a curly haired dog, you can try wetting down the hair in order to find the bumps.  You will also need to make sure you can see those bumps and landmarks clearly for when you are fitting the brace.

If your dog has shorter hair on front of the leg, and feathering behind the thigh, you are probably ok.  For dogs that have very long hair, like newfies or Great Pyraneese, they will need legs trimmed down to the ankle, otherwise we can’t see landmarks to help you measure.  Let us know if you have any other questions!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


How to train our dog to like the brace

Today let’s talk about how to get your dog to use or walk with the brace.  First, I want you to use just the hock wrap, to let your pup get used to having something on his ankle.  Do this for 30 minutes on and off the first couple of days.

Next, I like to freeze peanut butter in a dish, and distract my dog while fitting the brace on. 

**Important** Once you have a brace on, go directly outside and walk.  Then, remove the brace when you come in.  Distraction and treats work great while getting your dog used to wearing the brace.

Soon, your dog will link the brace to getting to go out for a W-A-L-K, something really fun.

Then, you can increase the wearing times as stated on our physical therapy handouts.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


Activity Level With a CCL Tear

Today I would like to talk about recommended activity levels with a brace or CCL tear.  It is still important to remember that this is not a race.  Recovery from a CCL takes time, which is why we use a gradual increase in activities.

Initially, we start with walks and light physical therapy and massage.  Gradually, we can increase activities, such as adding hills or inclines to the walk, sit stands, more muscle building activities.

It is not recommended to let your dog run off leash while in recovery.  This can lead to injury of the other leg potentially.  Braced walks are meant to be nice and slow, not a jog.  The goal is to have your dog placing full weight down on his leg.  If you walk or run too fast, they will skip and not place full weight on the leg.

We will get to a point where your pup can play off leash, but ask first, and take things slow.  Feel free to email or send in a contact request with any questions, we are happy to help!

Give Your Dog a Big Hug From Us!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


Bilaterals

Today I would like to discuss bilateral injuries with you.  First off, once a patient has a CCL injury, there is a 50% chance or greater of the second knee having a tear. 

This goes up with surgery, due to the overcompensating and atrophy that develops with post-op patients, and can decrease with bracing.

Lots of things can factor in as to why a patient is now bilateral.  Genetics may predispose our pups, such as bully breeds, as well as early spay/neuter, diet, etc.

Just because a patient is bilateral, does not mean you must do surgery, or euthanize!  We can help bilateral patients recover using a posh dog knee brace, and they do just as well as having a single brace.

So, weather your dog had surgery, and now the second knee has gone out, or both were close together, a knee brace would still be the best and most conservative option.  Please let me know if you have any questions, and give your dog a Big Hug for us!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


What to bring with you to your vet appointment— How to avoid a misdiagnosis

Hey guys, today let’s talk about what to bring to your vet visit, whether it is the first time bringing your dog in for an injury, or for a second opinion.  I suggest that you first think back to when the injury happened.  Write down notes about the injury, things that can help your veterinarian correctly diagnose the injury.  I don’t know how many times, myself or one of my technicians, has had a patient come to us that purchased a knee brace, and after a few questions we find it is not the dog’s knee that was the issue.

So, it is very important to tell your vet the details.  Did your dog slip on the floor?  Did they do the splits when they fell?  If they slipped on ice, again, did they possibly fall with both back legs or one bent behind them?  These are very important to tell your vet, so that he or she can correctly assess the injury.  Here is a scenario that we just had occur.  The patient had actually slipped, and done the splits.  The dog began holding up a hind leg, and would not weight bear.  Owner took the dog to the vet, did x-rays, and could not see anything wrong on x-rays.  They thought there may have been a positive drawer test (see that blog if you are unsure what a drawer test is), and diagnosed the dog with a CCL/ACL tear.  The owner did not know to tell their vet that the dog had in fact done the splits, which actually had caused a groin sprain and made the hip sore.  Note:  This can happen, and will show the same signs as a dog that has a CCL tear. 

We recommended they go back to the vet immediately, once we realized what happened, and they were correctly diagnosed with a groin sprain, and the patient recovered after several week of rest.  Had we braced this patient, the brace would have put pressure on the groin area, causing further distress.

It is also important to note if your dog is using the ankle properly.  Ankle injuries and knee injuries can also look the same to an owner.  Does your dog normally walk low on the hocks?  Does he occasionally knuckle, or drag their toes on the floor?  These can indicate neurological issues, and should be told to your Veterinarian, as you may need a hock brace, as well as a knee brace, or just an ankle brace depending on the injury. 

With Covid changing how many clinics do exams, resulting in patients being taken into the clinic without their owners, it is even more important to take notes, and give those to your veterinarian.  Most dogs, when in clinic, mask pain and do not show the vet the same signs as at home with owners.  Just like my car is perfect for the mechanic, but with me acts up😊

So, note taking is important, and it is all in the small details.  Please help your veterinarian out, as it has been a difficult time for all of us, and having all of the information will make things much smoother for you and your fur baby.  And as always, feel free to check out our site, poshdogkneebrace.com, or send me an email at poshintake1@gmail.com


Signs that your dog has a CCL tear

Today I want to discuss signs that your dog has a CCL tear, and if he or she needs a brace.  First, obviously your poor dog is exhibiting signs of hind limb lameness.  Now this can happen two ways.  First, you hear a yelp, or see the injury, and have sudden onset lameness.  This is about 50% of dogs, and is called an acute injury.  Your pup will not use his or her leg, and is toe touching.

Second, you notice your dog limping on the hind leg after exercise, and after rest seems better.  This goes on for a few weeks until you have a veterinarian diagnose the injury as a CCL full or partial tear.  Some of these patients go a year or longer before getting to full limping.  This is a chronic case, and usually degenerative.

We can help with either situation, as even a partial tear will keep re-injuring over and over until externally supported with a brace.

After a while you may notice a medial buttress, or a hard bump on the inside of the knee.  This is a sign of cruciate injury as well.

No matter how long you wait, it is never going to be too late to brace your dog, as bracing will help stop the offloading that is happening, and we can start working on that thigh muscle to reverse the atrophy.  Let us know if you have any further questions about this topic, and always feel free to send me a contact request, I am happy to chat with you and answer some of your questions!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


Posh Dog Knee Brace Provides Non-Surgical Recovery From Dog Knee Ligament Injuries

Did you know a Posh Dog Knee Brace can help your Dog recover from a torn knee ligament, CCL injury, or ACL injury – without surgery? Many Dogs are not good candidates for knee ligament surgery due to age, medical issues, and high surgical costs.

To read full article click here: https://www.fidofriendly.com/blog/posh-dog-knee-brace-provides-non-surgical-recovery-from-dog-knee-ligament-i


Canine Knee Injury? Brace Yourself

Custom-made braces can help your dog after knee surgery – and can sometimes be used in place of surgery.

Ten years have passed since WDJ explored “conservative management” – the nonsurgical treatment – of knee ligament injuries (see “Saying ‘No’ to Surgery,” February 2010). Since then, although surgery remains by far the most widely used knee injury treatment, consumer demand for complementary therapies, including the use of custom-designed knee braces, has grown. 

Read full article visit: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/health/canine-knee-injury-brace-yourself/


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