Patient Feature: McKayla and her OrthoPets Stifle Device (Dog Knee Brace)

Meet McKayla, a 9 year old Pit Bull cross who works as a therapy dog. McKayla initially came to OrthoPets with a history of degenerative osteoarthritis, torn cranial cruciate ligaments, and possibly torn menisci in both knees. McKayla’s owner Angie wanted to explore non-surgical options for McKayla, and McKayla was so painful that Angie was even experimenting with using a wheelchair to support McKayla’s mobility when she found OrthoPets. Her stated goal for McKayla’s orthoses was for McKayla to “be a dog again.” 

As you can see from her intake video, McKayla was initially very painful.

McKayla’s case was somewhat tricky because of the potential for meniscal involvement, which an orthotic does not have the ability to address. Nevertheless, Angie decided to give orthotics a try, which paid off for McKayla! After discussing the case, Angie, her vet Dr. Ball, and McKayla’s OrthoPets Case Manager Rachel, chose to start McKayla at first with just the left orthosis to see if it would be able to help her and move forward with the right based on the results they saw with the first device. McKayla’s first device for her left stifle was delivered in December 2015. McKayla started to show good improvement, and then unfortunately fully ruptured her right CCL in January. Angie decided to follow up with a second device for McKayla’s right stifle in February 2016.

Adjustments are a normal and common part of the process of fitting a pet for an orthotic, and McKayla was no exception. In her case, both devices did need to use both of their included two complimentary adjustments. Both devices started out tight around the medial aspect of the device, which had to be corrected for, and both devices started out with some slipping distally. McKayla also had some initial skin irritation concerns common to Pitties because of their thin haircoats, which were alleviated with the addition of glide material to the relevant areas of her devices. Her right device started out a little high in the groin area and had to be shortened, which is our most common adjustment to stifle devices, and it also had some initial suspension concerns that needed to be adjusted as well for optimum function.

When McKayla first got her devices, Angie noticed some major behavioral changes. Previously she was a very mellow and calm dog, but once she began to adjust to her devices she became much more energetic, trying to play and run and getting restless and jittery when they were on and then becoming lazy again when they were removed. This can sometimes happen when a dog starts to feel good in the braces and wears herself out so much with them on that when the braces are removed she’s exhausted. However, McKayla has adjusted to her new mobility. She is back to her normal self and back to her therapy work visiting people in hospitals and others in need of some pup time. She even recently met a human with the same injury as she has and they became knee brace buddies! Angie says “I am so thrilled to be able to take her places again for a few hours and not have her limp later on that day or the next day.  She was a rockstar!”

Congrats McKayla and Angie and thank you for being great ambassadors for OrthoPets!

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