So how does the process work?
Initial consultation: ($257)
1- Review ALL your pets records, not just orthopedic records prior to your visit: Other illnesses can affect how a brace will work. Dogs with Cushing’s disease will be more prone to sores, dogs with allergies may have more trouble tolerating the brace (if it’s itchy under there) if the allergies are not controlled.
2- Full physical exam and a full orthopedic exam to make sure that your pet is a proper candidate for a device: Some pets need to lose weight before a device will work. Some pets have undetected neurological issues which make it so the physics of the brace won’t work.
3- Photos and consult with OrthoPets® prior to your fitting appointment: That consultation is essential to the proper expectations of the device prior to casting. We need to be sure that everyone has the same goals and understanding of the goals of the device before the investment of time and money is made.
4- Review costs: The cost of the device varies based on our expectations for recovery, goals for return to function, size of the dog, and special needs of the device. Most devices cost between $1000 and $1800 (prosthesis $1500-2000), in addition to casting and consult fees, fitting fees and rehabilitation.
5- Review need for rehabilitation: Rehab is needed with any orthosis or prosthesis. Going back to the shoe analogy – if you never wore high heels shoes in your life, you probably wouldn’t put them on for the first time and go dancing. Same is true for a device. Dogs need to learn how to trust it and use it properly or all that physics goes to waste and the dog won’t bear weight normally in the device.
6- Determine if sedative is needed: We need your pet awake if at all possible to do casting of the leg, many times in a standing position, but some pets need some sedation prior to the appointment. If sedation is needed we will request a prescription from your veterinarian and ask that you do a “trial run” prior to your appointment so we have the best chance of success without stress.
Casting appointment: ($300)
Molding: A cast molding is made of your pet’s leg
Measuring: Measurements are taken of your pet’s leg, angles of function and dysfunction
Photos and video: We take extensive media so that OrthoPets® has full visual of what we are seeing for best device design.
Contract (link): We will review your signed device contract.
Deposit: We will have you leave a $700 deposit for the device before you leave. As soon as OrthoPets® determines the final cost to us based on goals, consultation and measurements, we will contact you with the final total cost of the brace or prosthetic.
We also have to consider the forces at work in your pet’s injury. For example, in a wrist brace some dogs have a dropped foot, others have a turned foot, and still others have a curve through the wrist. Imagine an off-the-shelf tube that holds the leg in one position, but your dog’s leg has a curve? That point of the curve will rub a sore if the brace is not made to your pet’s body shape and needs. Between our calculation and those of the orthotist we calculate the physics of how and where your pet bears weight through her foot. Remember “vectors” from physics – does bring back high school nightmares? Well, we geek out on that, calculating the forces that the brace has to counteract in order to correct your pet’s leg.
We do THIS on every case!
Diagnosis must be made first:
As much as we want immediate comfort for our pets, we need to pinpoint the problem in order to support it well and have proper expectations of what our goals and outcomes are expected to be. Is this something we expect her to wear forever? Or expect him to recovery?
A great example:
A pet with a deviation at the wrist. She was a rescue dog and had always curved at that wrist, but now was limping. Xrays prior to bracing showed us why: She has a big bullet in her leg! That is a totally different expectation of recovery than a dog with a birth deformity.