One of the most common injuries that can occur to the tarsus (hock) is a rupture or partial rupture of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is made up of 5 different tendons divided into 2 different groups. The Achilles Tendon Complex is responsible for extending the tarsus into a normal weight-bearing position. When these tendons are disrupted, the dog presents a “dropped” or “hyper-flexion” of the tarsus. The Superficial Digital Flexor tendon can also be involved. This tendon is responsible for flexing the digits (toes) creating a “spring like” action to the paw mechanism. An excessive pull on this tendon when the Achilles is damaged can cause the toes to “curl under.”
Your vet will be preforming a hands-on evaluation and may choose some additional diagnostics to determine the extent of the injury before deciding on a plan. In many cases, a surgical intervention including the use of a custom orthosis post-operatively is prescribed for this type of injury. The benefit to using a custom orthosis post-operatively include customized tendon reloading during surgical recovery, controlled return to tendon loading during return to function, and device conversion to sports brace. The orthosis enables ease of access to the limb to inspect for skin irritations, breathability, and allows the pet to engage in water therapy such as underwater treadmill.
An OrthoPets Achilles Orthosis (hock brace) can be used as a “palliative” care solution. This would be used for patients not proceeding to surgery or patients who have experienced an unsuccessful Achilles tendon repairs. To learn more about the dog hock brace, take a look at the Tarsal Orthosis page to view patients enjoying life with their OrthoPets dog hock brace.
Talk to your veterinarian about an OrthoPets hock brace for your pet. OrthoPets has US Partner Clinics and worldwide Distributors to help you and your pet on your journey to restored comfort and mobility. We are here to support you and your dog’s Achilles injury!