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Ninety Day Update of ACL Conservative Management

knee brace

Ninety days has come and gone and my dog's partial ACL tear has seen its good and bad days. For those unfamiliar, my dog injured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in March of 2013. We went from veterinary diagnosis of a partial ACL tear with strained iliopsoas muscle to laser therapy to a custom orthotic stifle brace. And now 90 days of wearing the brace off and on, here's the update.

Dexter has been wearing the ACL brace since early May. He wears it 6-8 hours a day for what are his “active waking hours.” He is pretty much brace free at bedtime and for just lounging around the house. The brace provides stability to the entire stifle area. According to the company that fitted my dog and casted his stifle brace, “Stifle braces are used to control various unwanted knee motions. The braces made by for the CCL stifle portion control the anterior drawer movement of the femur on the tibia, but variations of the brace are also used for Medial and Lateral Instability, Contracture and Fracture Management, Arthrodesis, and Varus/Valgus Deformities. Post-surgically they provide support for TLPO and Lateral Suture repairs. Pre-surgically, stifle braces are used in juvenile dogs with open proximal tibial growth plates.”

I chose this route so we could take a conservative approach. We've had a 90 percent positive experience with the brace. The ten percent comes that we had a rub wound form from the ankle support mechanism near his ankle. This only occurred after wearing it two months, but as any dog parent knows, dogs tend not to ignore a wound.


A revisit to the MyPetsBrace business took place this week and we were fitted with a silicone gel sleeve that is to be used in place of the ankle support. Dex walks fine in his stifle brace, and in retrospect, I am thoroughly pleased with the results. He is able to walk, run, and engage in normal activities of daily living in it.

You can revisit the results of the:

* Laser therapy for his ACL injury

* Video and detail of our brace fitting

* Stifle brace update in mid May 2013

And, here's a video to showcase what the brace looks like and how Dex is doing 90 days post brace. We'll be seeing Dexter's vet for a checkup and reassessment the end of August.

We return to the My Pets Brace place in November to start weaning off. My dog is active to I am hoping this conservative route with watchful management is the way to go, and so far so good.


A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant, when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. Carol created and owns the trademark, My Heart Beats Dog® and lives that mantra. A 30-year veteran of the dog world, she is President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the 2020 DWAA winner for Best Dog Blog.


  1. Jana Rade says

    The tricky part is how does one ensure the safety of the knee when the brace is off. That’s when mishaps can happen.

    A bit disappointing about the ankle, not surprising, though. Seems to happen.

  2. emma says

    Wow! We have never seen such a brace, what a great thing except for the rubbing part. Sure hope it heals completely and he can get back to life without any helpers soon!

  3. Dawn says

    Great to hear! The brace sounds like it has been a much better alternative for Dexter than surgery and medications.

  4. Garth Riley says

    Wow – we didn’t realize that a torn ACL could be treated without surgery. I’m so glad to hear Dexter is doing well with the brace!


    • Carol Bryant says

      We are anxious to see how his next vet visit goes for reassessment later this month. He isn’t out of the woods yet, so very curious. I’ve been happy with avoiding surgery thus far.

  5. Kim Kiernan says

    Your brace is a mechanical device of beauty, Dex! It’s astounding how far veterinary medicine has come. I love having an option for people who want to avoid surgery.