Sections:

  Brace Description
  What is a Cruciate injury and how does the brace work?
  How does this injury occur and how does it affect my dog?
  What are the treatment considerations?
  What are the goals of treatment?
  Why use a brace after surgery?
  Why use a brace if your dog is not having
surgery?

  Why choose the A-TraC Dynamic Brace®?
  Components & Features
  Suggested Clinical Protocols
  Determining Brace Size
  How to order
  Links to: Sizing & Pricing
  Sizing Calculator
Downloads
Guarantee

A-TraC Dynamic BraceTM
2007 Edition

The patent pending A-TraC Dynamic BraceTM is the first brace
of its kind introduced for dogs. "A-TraC" stands for "anti-transitional cruciate" brace. The brace prevents anterior translation of the tibia on the femur. Dynamic infers that the brace is not static in its design, and functions in a manner which allows for a select range of motion of the stifle joint (knee joint) against resistance. The brace therefore promotes rehabilitation of the limb and joint.

What is a Cruciate injury and how does the A-TraC Dynamic Brace work?

The Anterior or Cranial Cruciate ligament helps to hold the knee or stifle joint together. An abnormal forward shifting motion at the knee or stifle joint is the end result of tearing the anterior or cranial cruciate ligament. Lameness, or inability to bare weight on the affected leg initially results from the pain and swelling of the initial injury but subsequently results from the pain caused by the unstable knee or stifle joint.
The patent pending A-TraC Dynamic Brace® is the first brace of its kind introduced for dogs. Our brace is designed to treat canine cruciate injuries. A- TraC" stands for "anti-translational cruciate" brace which it prevents anterior or cranial (abnormal forward shifting) movement of the tibia on the femur. "Dynamic" infers that the brace is not static in its design. The A-TraC Dynamci Brace while preventing abnormal motion, allows for normal motion against resistance to provide rehabilitation of the knee while it heals.
Allows for resistance, in both flexion and extension

Prevents anterior
 translation of tibia

 Longitudinal Rod Pocket
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How does this injury occur and how does it affect my dog?

Anterior Cruciate ligament injury in humans always occurs as a result of trauma or injury. In dogs this injury can occur as the result of trauma or injury, but it can also occur as the result of wear and tear. Because the dog's back leg is always bent at the knee, there are constant stresses applied to the Anterior / Cranial Cruciate ligament on a day to day basis. Certain breeds such as the Mastif, Labradore Retreiver, and Rottweiller to name a few have a higher incidence of this type of injury, but it can occur in any size dog. Size may be a factor, but it is more likely related to some genetic or inherited biomechanical deficiency.
The visible result of an Anterior / Cranial Cruciate injury is always lameness. Either the dog does not bear weight on one of its back legs or only partial weight is born. This may be almost constant or it may be intermittent. There may even be days in between episodes of lameness. Lameness should always diagnosed by a veterinarian because there are many other medical problems that can cause lameness such as:

  • back problems
  • hip dysplasia (especially in younger dogs),
  • arthritis,
  • avascular necrosis ( loss of blood supply to a bone),
  • bone cancers,
  • penetrating objects of the pad or between the
    pads of the dog's feet.
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What are the treatment considerations?

Treatment of an Anterior / Cranial Cruciate injury is not very clear cut even within the veterinary community. Surgical treatment while it is almost always recommended is not necessarily always the best choice. As with any diagnosis treatment needs to be tailored to the individual. Just as in humans, one treatment rarely is beneficial to all. Many considerations such as:

  • Is there a partial tear or a complete tear
  • Is this a working dog, sporting dog,
    or house pet
  • Are there any complicating factors, such as damage to
    the meniscus or other orthopedic issues.
  • Age and health status
  • Size and weight
  • Owners ability to care for the animal after
    surgery or during rehabilitation
  • Owners financial status
  • Other factors
These considerations should all be taken into consideration by your veterinarian and your veterinarian should be prepared to discuss the benefits and risks of the various options.
In humans generally a brace would be used for treatment unless the patient was a high level athlete. This would be followed be physical therapy and a brace for when the patient was to be more active.

  • All ligaments attach bone to bone. The Anterior / Cranial Cruciate ligament attaches the Femar to the Tibia at the knee or stifle joint of the dog's rear leg. Tear in this ligament causes instability of the bones these ligaments attach to.
  • Reestablishment of the stability of the joint depends on a number of factors:
1 Scar tissue can unite a torn ligament however the torn ends must remain close to one another in order to heal to the appropriate length

2 Maintenance of joint stability during the healing phase prevents continued re-injury and poor healing and maintains the proximity of the torn ligament ends.

3 Reestablishment of muscle strength around the affected joint. The large muscles which are at the back of the thigh and which attach around the knee or stifle joint of the dog contribute about 51% of the stability to this joint.

4 Restoration of proprioception. Injuries at a joint often disrupt the small proprioceptors (nerve cells) around the joint which provide a feedback mechanism critical in maintaining its stability. This feed back mechanism provides the dog information regarding the position of the joint based on the pressures applied to it. Restoration of proprioception in dogs and humans is known to be critical in preventing re-injury. Providing for normal range of motion and compression has been demonstrated to reestablish proprioception at the effected joint.
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What are the goals of treatment?

Once a diagnosis of Anterior or Cranial Cruciate injury has been made the goals of treatment are:
  • Decrease pain and inflammation to the injured area
  • Prevent anterior translation (abnormal forward movement) of the tibia from under the Femur.
  • Promote healing of the injured tissues at their normal anatomical length by promoting proximity of the torn ligament ends.
  • Do not allow for atrophy of the thigh muscles and further strengthen this muscle group
  • Reestablish proprioception by allowing for normal movement and weight bearing at the Stifle or Knee joint
  • Prevent off-loading to the opposite extremity. Off-loading of the dog's weight to the opposite extremity causes contra-lateral injury to the opposite leg in 30 to 60% of dogs. Off-loading can occur do to the lameness caused by the cruciate injury itself but also do to the prolonged lameness created by surgery performed for cruciate injuries.

Treatment Options

Prior to the A-TraC Dynamic Brace® treatment consisted of either:

  • Surgery by TPLO, Extra-capsular repair, other methods.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and complete rest.
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Why Use the A-TraC Brace?

If your dog is going for surgery why would you use the A-TraC Dynamic Brace®?
  • Even though the main consideration is your dog and their best medical interests, financial considerations do play a part in most people's decision process. If surgery is elected it can be quite expensive. Although complications are not frequent following surgery they are not uncommon. The re-injury rate following surgery can be as high as 10 to 15%. While the initial surgical fees are quite expensive, repair after complications can result in additional costs that were not factored into your budget. The outcome can not only be devastating to your pocketbook and your dog but may result in a less than an optimum outcome. The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® will decrease the incidence of re-injury following surgery, and help to protect your financial investment. Obviously dogs can not be instructed to act in a certain manner. This is why it is even more important for them to wear a brace after surgery.
  • Decrease the incidence of contra-lateral (opposite side) injuries. The rate of opposite side Anterior / Cranial Cruciate injuries is a "whopping" 30 to 60%. This is almost as important a goal as the treatment for the original injury. The cause of the opposite side injuries is the shifting of weight to the uninjured leg. The A-TraC Dynamic® Brace allows the dog to quickly bear on the injured leg thus preventing off-loading to the opposite side.
  • Prevent atrophy of the thigh muscles. The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® by allowing for early weight bearing and normal range of motion promotes strengthening of the thigh muscles.
  • Provide almost immediate physical therapy for the leg by allowing controlled walks instead of complete rest. This not only results in a faster more complete recovery, but also promotes weight loss when weight is a contributing factor. It is very difficult to have a dog loose weight when complete rest is recommended for weeks at a time.
  • Re-establish proprioception to the joint. The only way this can be accomplished is through the use of a brace. The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® provides compression and normal range of motion which assists in the reestablishment of proprioception at the effected joint.

If your veterinarian recommends conservative care or you choose that your dog should not have surgery why would you use a brace?

  • A brace will maintain the normal anatomical position of the knee or stifle joint during the healing process. This will allow the injured tissues to heal to there normal length thereby providing a stable joint.
  • Prevent chronic instability at the knee or stifle joint which will minimize arthritis and allow for pain free range of motion.
  • Decrease the incidence of contra-lateral (opposite leg) injuries
  • Allow the dog to bare full weight on the affected leg without off-loading to the opposite leg. This will decrease the incidence of contra-lateral injury. It will also allow the dog to take regular walks for exercise which will strengthen the thigh muscles and help the dog to maintain or loose weight.
  • In long standing or chronic injuries the dog may require constant or periodic brace use for life to prevent lameness.
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Why choose the A-TraC Dynamic Brace®?

  • The patent pending A-TraC Dynamic Brace® has over 20 patentable features designed specifically for dogs. Our brace is based on tried and true biomechanical methods used in human braces which have been proven over many years.
  • Over 3000 A-TraC Dynamic Braces have been sold in the United States, Canada, Europe, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
  • 92% of veterinarians surveyed rated our brace as good or excellent.
  • The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® has been designed to be an effective method of preventing abnormal movement at the stifle joint while allowing for normal movement.
  • Other braces with rigid hinges put additional stress on the stifle joint when the hinge does not maintain an exact placement over the stifle joint. Braces with stretchable elastic hinges do not emulate ligament tissue which is not an elastic tissue.





    Elastic hinges do not provide sufficient protection to prevent the knee or stifle joint from moving abnormally. The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® utilizes flexible hinges which can flex over an interval distance. Its functioning does not depend on exact placement and will allow the brace to naturally move up and down the dog's leg while still allowing flexion to occur in line with the joint axis. Unlike braces that utilize elastic hinges, forward and backward movement (the abnormal movement that occurs with anterior / cranial cruciate injuries) is quickly blocked by a "Butress" provided between the two flexible rods.
  • No casting is required to obtain the A-TraC Dynamic Brace®.
  • After sizing the A-TraC Dynamic Brace® can be shipped as quickly as the next day, so you can apply it to your pet without delay.
  • The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® has many confort features including fleece lining and additional fleece packages for sensitive dogs.
  • Either you or your veterinarian may order the brace, however you should seek supervision from your veterinarian or physical therapist.
  • The A-TraC Dynamic Brace® comes in 10 sizes to fit dogs from about 15 lbs to 175lbs.
  • We provide technical support to our customers five days a week.
Components & Features

  • Three layer laminated NeopreneTM skin provides durability, comfort and flexibility.
  • Inner layer is non-irritating and non-adhering for maximum comfort for the shaved leg.
  • Outer layer provides additional strength and flexibility.
  • Adjustability at 8 to 9 different points for maximum customization.
  • Interchangeable rods provide for adjustability of range of motion at the stifle joint as healing and rehabilitation progresses.
  • Brace is stabilized at three points: the braced leg, cuff on opposite thigh, and tether to collar.
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Suggested Clinical Protocols:

The following clinical protocols are submitted as only suggestions and are not intended as a substitute for the clinical judgement, or specific clinical or behavioral information the veterinarian has available to him.

Acute Injuries:

  1. Begin use of brace immediately or as soon as possible after injury or diagnosis. Even if surgery is contemplated, the brace should be applied until surgery can be performed. * Whenever possible the brace should be adjusted and tried on the dog prior to surgery. This accomplishes three things:

    1. Affirms that the garment fits the dog.
    2. Allows staff to become familiar with the use of the garment.
    3. Prevents a painful and frustrating experience on the surgically treated dog.

  2. Acute injuries, including post-surgical repairs (i.e., extracapsular or TPLO), should begin by using the LROM (limited range of motion) rods for one to three weeks, two to six weeks for the TPLO procedure. The brace should be applied over a light dressing following surgery.
LROM
Limited Range of Motion Rods
  1. Substitute the TROM (total range of motion) rods for the rehabilitative phase at one to three weeks, or two to six weeks after TPLO surgery
TROM
Total Range of Motion Rods

Chronic Injuries:

  • When pain is not a major feature, the TROM rods can be attempted initially

Note: Whether for Acute or Chronic injuries, if the dog ambulates with an antalgic gait or will not bear weight after an appropriate period of time, the LROM rods should be reinserted for an additional period of time until the dog appears to be pain free.

Maintenance:

After surgical or rehabilitative treatment of the cruciate injury is complete, the brace should still be worn when the dog is more active (i.e., when the dog goes to the park, plays ball, plays with other dogs, or just runs in the backyard). This will decrease the risk of re-injury.

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Size Determination of the
A-TraC Dynamic BraceTM



Illustration A

Bisection of the tibia on lateral view. Measurement taken from proximal tibial plateau to distal tibial articular surface.

Click here to view full image.

Warning: After the initial application of the garment:

  1. The animal should be checked for points of irritation at least every 48 hours for the first week to prevent significant problems before they arise.
  2. The animal should be watched closely for the first few days for indications of the dog biting or chewing the garment. If evidence of biting or chewing is visible, the dog should be fitted for an Elizabethan Collar to prevent this behavior.

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How to Order an A-TraC Dynamic Brace®

1. Left Click on "Downloads" on the left side of the screen.

2. Look for the form "How to measure for the A-TraC Dynamic Brace" in the lower left hand corner.

3. Left Click on the form. If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader®, the form will enlarge so you can view it.

4. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader® please download it by clicking on the Adobe Acrobat Reader® logo at the very bottom left side of the screen. You may have to scroll down to see it. Once this is downloaded to your computer you will be able to perform step 3.

5. Once the form is enlarged please print out the form for your use by clicking on "File" and then "Print".

6. Once you have printed out the form please follow the measuring instructions just as they are written on the form.

Please notice EXAMPLE A at the right side of the form. This is an example of the x-ray that needs to be taken by your veterinarian to obtain the measurement of the "TIBIA".If you cannot obtain an X-ray you may use the following measurement of the "Withers" as an alternative. It should be noted that this measurement is not quite as accurate and should only be used when a tibia X-ray is not attainable.

Alternative Ti Tibia X-ray Measurement
for the A-TraC Dynamic Brace


Please obtain all the other measurements on the main instruction sheet as well as this measurement and then call 847-634-1700 for assistance.


7. Once you have your measurements, you may place your order either on the web site, or by calling our toll free number at 800-443-4055.

8. If you still have any questions about any of the steps or how to measure, please call 847-634-1700.

9. Once you receive your brace please call us for technical support if you have any questions or difficulty with the brace. Remember, we can only help you if you call.


TECHNICAL SUPPORT
847-634-1700



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