• Bilateral Hindlimb ProstheticsThoracic limb and Pelvic limb prosthesis
  • Prosthesis for congenital deformity
  • Prosthesis for elective level amputation

Is a Prosthesis The Right Solution For You and Your Dog?

  • Why consider a prosthetic?Veterinarians have recommended total amputation whenever catastrophic injuries or tumors affect the limbs of our companion animals.  This has been recommended with the best interest of the animal and the most up to date science in mind.  Overall dogs and cats can negotiate life missing a limb adequately.  This may be because there is no social stigma associated with limb loss and most are motivated to continue a relatively active lifestyle.  However, specialists in rehabilitation, movement and chronic pain have recognised some unfortunate short and long term consequences.  These include breakdown of remaining limbs such as carpus or tarsus collapse; ACL injury; chronic neck and back pain; weight gain; and myofascial (muscle) pain syndromes.  Such issues can shorten the lives of animals missing one or more limbs.
  • In recent years the technology used to fabricate prosthetic limbs for humans has been applied to animals.  Originally this was a novelty, but has now progressed to a solid science called Veterinary Orthotics and Prosthetics (V-OP).  Animals can adapt to and thrive with prosthetic limbs.  By restoring normal 4-leg mobility chronic pain syndromes and premature euthanasia can be avoided in many cases.
  • What patients are amenable to a prosthetic limb? The level of injury to the limb is key.  The state of technology today allows us to provide a prosthetic limb for the thoracic (front) or pelvic (hind) limb so long as 40 to 50% of the antebrachium (radius/ulna) or crus (tibia/fibula) are present respectively.  If less than this amount of limb remains it is not possible to provide a prosthetic limb; however it is possible to support the remaining limbs with an orthosis (protective brace).  Please discuss this option with OrthoPets  Australia / Dogs In Motion, if your companion is not a candidate for a prosthesis.
  • Are you and your companion animal candidates for a prosthetic limb? Most dogs, many cats, and a number of other species adapt very well and quickly to the use of a prosthetic limb. Use of a prosthetic limb does not typically require an extraordinarily tolerant animal except in the case of some cats.  The ability to sit quietly while the limb is checked and the prosthetic is applied is usually a simple matter of training.  Orienting to the prosthetic limb, learning to walk properly in the limb as well as learning to negotiate the environment are all accelerated with the help of a qualified animal physiotherapist or certified veterinary rehabilitation professional.
  • Although use of a prosthetic limb is a relatively easy healthcare issue, commitment to lifelong care of the residual limb and the prosthetic limb is imperative.  Like any animal with a chronic health issue, the disabled animal requires daily attention and maintenance.  The residual limb must be checked daily for skin irritation or breakdown.  Activity while wearing the prosthetic limb must be monitored to limit excessive activity.  The prosthetic limb must be kept clean and in good working order at all times.  Your animal needs regular health care including at least twice annual check ups with your prosthetist. Fortunately, the time commitment and costs are not overwhelming when you consider the chronic health issues and costs associated with full limb amputation.
  • Why choose OrthoPets as your veterinary prosthetist? At this time there are no certification programs for V-OP.  When choosing a prosthetist the following issues should be addressed:
  • Is the prosthetist certfied? The certifying organizations for human prosthetists in the USA are the American Board of Certification- OP (ABC) and the Board of Certification and Accreditation  (BOCA).  These are voluntary certifications and as such not all prosthetists are adequately trained and certified.
  • What is the prosthetist’s veterinary caseload?  Does the prosthetist work with animals exclusively or work with animals as a side business? Working with animal patients is not the same as human patients because of the different biomechanics of the quadruped (4-leg animal).  Therefore, a prosthetist should have a great deal of veterinary patient experience before providing a device for your companion animal.
  • Does the prosthetist have a close working relationship with a veterinarian who can provide consultation and guidance with regard to animal health, mobility (4-legs), behavior, wound management, and rehabilitation? The team at OrthoPets USA has cared for veterinary patients exclusively for the past 8 years.  Our team is led by a certified orthotist/prosthetist, Martin W. Kaufmann, and a double board certified veterinarian, Patrice M. Mich.  Distributors are located wordldwide and receive mandatory training provided by Orthopets. Michelle Monk from Dogs In Motion Canine  Rehabilitation / OrthoPets Australia brings with her 12 years experience as a full time Masters qualified small animal physiotherapist and has worked closely with OrthoPets USA for 5 years. She also specialises in teaching disabled animals, including those with prostheses to walk and run again. As Australian Distributor she can discuss all the requirements of each prospective case with your pet’s veterinarian, and liaise with OrthoPets USA as required. By combining their knowledge, skill, and creativity, OrthoPets USA and Australia have helped 1000’s of animals take the next step in a prosthetic limb giving their human families hope.
  • What role does rehabilitation play? Human beings receiving a prosthetic limb undergo professional rehabilitation.   This level of care is important to animals with prosthetic limbs as well.  Most dogs quickly adapt to a prosthetic limb.  Behavioral techniques can facilitate this.  Even so, like human patients the veterinary prosthetic patient will need to learn basic skills.  These include: learning to recognise the ground through the prosthetic, learning to step up and clear obstacles, transitions (sitting, lying down, and getting up), stairs, getting into vehicles safely, managing on different types of surfaces (ground, carpet, hardwood floor, etc.). Additionally, limb loss leads to compensatory abnormal movement and associated muscle strain and weakness.  The best way to ensure the highest level of success with a prosthetic limb is to follow a rehabilitation schedule.  Each patient’s condition and abilities are unique and as such an individualised rehabilitation program is needed.   OrthoPets strongly advises working with a qualified Animal Physiotherapist or certified canine rehabilitation professional (CCRT or CCRP).
  • Initial wearing in period: A typical prosthesis requires an initial wearing in period of 2 weeks, to allow the skin to become accustomed. After this, the device can be worn all day and needs to be removed overnight to allow the skin to air.
  • Adjustments are expected and are a normal part of the custom prosthesis: The device is custom-made for your dog.  Every effort is made to accurately fit the device and 2 follow up appointments are recommended within the first month of fitting, in order to meet the requirements for an appropriate fit.  These appointments are at the OrthoPets Melbourne clinic at Dogs In Motion (fitting day and one additional appointment). If this is not possible due to your location, then  phone / internet appointments can be arranged, or your pet's veterinarian or rehabilitation therapist can liaise with us at OrthoPets Australia. Importantly, your dog is much more active at home than at the veterinary clinic.  Increased activity and activity intensity can expose fitting issues requiring further adjustment.  Additional adjustments if needed are most commonly required in the first few months and as time goes on. Please follow all instructions with regard to monitoring the leg and contact us or your veterinarian promptly if you have concerns.
  • Follow-up is critical to success: Proper use  of the prosthesis is necessary to meet therapeutic goals and to ensure its safe application over the lifetime of your dog.  In the first few months of fitting OrthoPets Australia or your veterinary team will work with you with regard to device use and rehabilitation.  Annual to twice annual appointments are advised depending on age and activity of your dog.  At these appointments your OrthoPets Australia case manager, veterinary team or rehabilitation therapists will thoroughly assess your dog’s orthopedic condition and evaluate the condition and fit of the device.  Recommendations will be made for continued success in the device and may include adjustments or part replacement as needed

The Process: In order to make a device that fits your pet’s leg perfectly, a fibreglass impression must be made of the limb. Please ensure you watch the casting video first prior to commencing.

  • If the cast is not done correctly, we will ask you to repeat it, to avoid unnecessary adjustments having to be made down the track. Some measurement forms will also need to be completed by your pet’s vet. The fibreglass cast impression and forms need to be sent to OrthoPets Australia for final checking. If the cast needs to be repeated, or additional information is required, we will contact you and let you know. If the cast is completed correctly and we receive all the additional information, we will then contact you for payment prior to shipping to the USA. Once the cast reaches the USA, it will be manufactured and returned to us here at OrthoPets Australia, before being sent on to you, or fitted in our clinic. This process typically takes 3 weeks. If you require a rush service there is an additional fee. This generally reduces the whole process down to 2 weeks.
  •  Pricing:These are prescriptive devices so fees will vary from case to case. Please contact us for a quote.
  • Payment: Payment of the total fee is required prior to shipping the cast impression to the USA. Once the cast impression reaches the USA and your individual orthosis / prosthesis design is decided, we will contact you if any additional small fee is required. Payment can be made by credit card, EFTPOS or direct debit.
  • Questions: Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

To Complete Your Order Please Complete The Following:

If you would like to make an appointment in our clinic to have your dog assessed and cast for an OrthoPets custom device, please call us for an appointment on 03 9553 0896.

You do NOT need to complete any forms or watch the video prior to this appointment but we will need a medical history from your pet's vet.

If you cant come to our clinic due to distance, you will need to download and complete all the forms below and have your pet's vet or animal physiotherapist complete the cast impression and measurements of the limb

You will require an Orthopets cast impression kit in order to make the cast. To order your fibreglass casting impression kit please visit our store.