Hey guys, this is Nikki Lead Veterinary Technician with Posh Dog knee Braces. This is one of my most common questions asked will my dog need a knee brace forever for a CCL/ACL tear?, and I would like to dive deeper to answer this question, as there is more to the answer than simply No.
First off, the majority of my patients will use the posh dog knee brace for about 9 months, sometimes up to 12 months if they are a larger breed or have a minor meniscal tear. We know that scar tissue is mature by the 9-12 month point, and at the juvenile stage around month 2-3. If someone tells you that your dog will be permanently using the knee brace, they are simply misinformed. There are actually quite a few studies in both humans and animals, proving the timeline of scar tissue formation.
In surgical sites, or areas of soft tissue, scar tissue can form much faster, forming a thickened scar within weeks. This is different from the fibrous tissue that forms in a joint, and gives us regained stability. Let me ask you this, have you ever sprained your ankle or injured a joint?
Did you use a splint or a knee brace to help that joint recover? I know I have. Depending on the joint, and amount of muscle you were able to keep with physical therapy, also plays a key role in the longevity of using the brace. We do not want to keep the brace on forever, however, in some severe arthritis cases, or luxating patella issues, bracing longer term as needed may be necessary.
How do you know when it is time to take your dog out of the knee brace? Time will tell on this one. Most dogs are ready to go, and fully weight bearing by 9-12 months. However, if you were unable to complete the physical therapy recommendations during the recovery times, your dog may need longer in the brace while they acclimate slowly to walking without the brace on.
This needs to be a slow weaning process, so as not to cause a re-injury. Take your dog for a nice leash walk, without the brace. If you dog does great, and has no sign of a limp or gait that is off, then you can continue to leash walk without the brace for a bit longer until you feel comfortable letting your dog resume activites.
Some dogs may need a little longer than 12 months, such as patients with meniscal tears or arthritis, or if there was a re-injury during the healing process. This is still not forever, I would take things month by month until you are successful at walks without the brace on. Our service technicians are happy to answer any questions you may have about this process, and there is really not a wrong answer. If you feel more comfortable having your dog wear the brace longer, and your dog is doing great, that’s ok!
I would suggest our Posh led support group on Facebook, where you can talk with thousands of other clients who have all used the posh brace to recover. This is a great place to learn more about what to expect, and get great advice from both our technicians and previous customers.
To sum everything up, we do need to make sure to use the brace as directed for at least 9 months, but that is usually adequate for the majority of our clients. Please check out our website, poshdogkneebrace.com, for further tips and information that may also be very helpful, you can also reach out to our facebook page as well for information.