OrthoPets Process Guide

This section has been created as a guide for you to learn about the OrthoPets process. We have designed our process to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care and the attention that they deserve—-every time, all the time!

Step 1: Patient Evaluation for an Orthotic Brace / Prosthetic Artificial Limb

patinhaPatient evaluation for a custom fabricated device should consider all aspects of the patients injury, deformity, living environment, and enjoyable activities. OrthoPets considers these issues when recommending the appropriate device solution.

The long-term goals both from the owners and the Veterinarian provide direction, focus, and quantitative outcomes for our project.

Once OrthoPets has considered the above issues and long-term goals, we can recommend a specific solution that meets our patients needs exactly!

Step 2: Fiberglass Impression for an Orthotic Brace/Artificial Prosthetic Limb

patinhaPlease note that if the fiberglass impression taken of patient’s limb is NOT proficient we will ask your vet to re-cast. This will be needed to obtain an appropriate and sufficient fiberglass impression for a custom made prescribed medical device. OrthoPets has very specific and step by step casting instructions for each device. Please contact us first before you begin a fiberglass impression.

  • The fiberglass impression taken of patient’s limb should ONLY BE 1-2 layers thick.
  • DO NOT USE A CAST SAW to take the fiberglass impression taken of of patient’s limb. The use of a hook blade to cut through the 1-2 layers of fiberglass casting material is appropriate.
  • Flexible Fiberglass casting is NOT appropriate for the use in Veterinary V-OP Devices. Only use hard Fiberglass casting material.
  • Please tape the cut strip on the limb according to the specified Fiberglass Impression instructions according to the specific device:
Fiberglass Impression Instruction Links:
  • Please note that the fiberglass impression procedure is the most important part of this entire process. If OrthoPets does not receive a proficient fiberglass impression, we will ask your veterinarian re-cast.
  • OrthoPets will not rush through a project and use a non-proficient fiberglass impression taken of patient’s limb  just to hurry through a case. We take pride in putting the time and effort up front to ensure that the fiberglass impression we receive is proficient.

Our devices are all custom made from a precise cast-mold of your pet’s limb. This mold can be achieved 1 of 2 ways.

  1. Your vet may have the majority of the necessary casting materials on hand. Your vet will need to follow our casting instructions which can be emailed or faxed. By following our very specific casting instructions the cast-mold can be made properly for our process. If this is the route you choose please contact us first to receive the required forms which will need to be submitted with the cast-molding. Please visit our video gallery to watch a detailed short video on how to take the fiberglass impression of a patient’s limb.
  2. We have a non-refundable casting kit available for purchase. You will find all the necessary materials plus a list of usual household items that you will need for the cast-molding process. This kit is designed to be brought into your local veterinary clinic if they do not have the necessary materials.

Please note that all OrthoPets V-OP Veterinary Orthotic and Prosthetic cases do require a referral form to be filled out from your referring local veterinarian. OrthoPets also encourages all pets in devices to be working with a CCRT/CCRP Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. Putting a device on is just the first step in your pet’s journey to getting them back to their active life style!

Step 3: Device Fabrication Timeframe

patinhaThe length of time to fabricate your pet’s custom made device will vary depending on the style, material, and number of anatomical joints the brace will include.

Upon receipt, OrthoPets will evaluate your project and will promptly contact you to discuss your project and provide your project completion date.

Generally, from the time OrthoPets receives the cast-mold, measurements, and full payment the process will take 5-7 business days to complete. Bilateral devices can take 5-10 business days. Prosthetic devices also take 5-10 business days. OrthoPets has the right to change the fabrication time period depending upon out going orders or if OrthoPets is waiting for a specific component to arrive from supplier.

OrthoPets also offers a RUSH service. For an additional cost, OrthoPets will guarantee the device is completed and ship out within 3 business days (holidays and weekends excluded) from the date we receive your project.

Step 4: Fabrication Process

patinhaWe hand craft each of our devices to ensure a superb fit and unrivaled function for our patients individual needs.

OrthoPets combines the cast-mold with measurements to produce a plaster positive model. The plaster model is not left as an exact copy of the affected limb segment. Instead, the plaster model is skillfully sculpted and modified into a shape and contour which dictates where the device will make contact to the limb and where the device will not touch the limb. This is the key for a device to have a great fit and superb function.

OrthoPets then vacuum forms composite plastic or carbon fiber (customer choice) around the modified plaster model. Once the composite plastic has cooled (24 hrs), OrthoPets cuts out the shape of the frame (device). A spindle grinder is used to refine and complete the final shape of the frame. The last steps are to attach hinges, straps, padding, etc… to the composite plastic frame.

Step 5: Initial Wear Schedule for Your New Device

patinhaA custom fabricated device is not intended to be worn full time. A device needs to be methodically used with a set wearing schedule over a 2 week period of time. Due to the fact that the device’s composite plastic outer frame does not change shape or break down, this also means that the device does not “break in” like a pair of shoes will do.

This wearing schedule allows an evaluation of both the fit and function of the device. Close inspection of the skin, fur, and bony prominence will confirm the exactness of the fit. Observing the patient accomplish normal activities ensures that our patient is truly benefiting from the device.

OrthoPets uses a subjective assessment survey developed by a major veterinary teaching hospital. This survey provides our patient’s owner a method by which to assess their pet’s improvement in a reliable and quantitative way.

OrthoPets encourages all pets in devices to be working with a CCRT Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. The OrthoPets supportive device is just the first of many steps in your pet’s rehabilitation journey.

Step 6: Adjustments and Modifications to Improve Fit and Function of a New Device

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Adjustments and/or modifications are a necessary and normal part of a custom fabricated device. OrthoPets strives to ensure that each device fits and functions perfectly from the very beginning. During the Initial wearing schedule, changes to the fit or function of the device may be discovered.

As OrthoPets receives a static shape of our patient (the cast-mold), we will consider the patient’s injury or deformity, information about the patient’s activities and living environment, and the short/long term healthcare goals when designing and fabricating the device to ensure the best possible fit and function of the device.

To resolve or improve the fit and function of the device, OrthoPets can adjust/modify the following aspects of a device:

  • The outer frame for pressure relief or added support.
  • Increasing or changing the foam liner material to change the shock absorption and friction between the patients body and the device.
  • Change the strapping design and contact to the limb.

You can refer to your Fitting and Adjustment form that is included with the device for specific information related to your specific device.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about the fit or function of your device.

OrthoPets will need to see pictures of the device on the pet before sending it back to us for an adjustment.

Adjustments and modifications are a simple way to perfect the fit and function of the device!

Refurbishing and Repairing a Device

Refurbishing or repairing a device is a necessary and normal part of a custom fabricated device. There is a fee associated with all devices for a refurbishment.  OrthoPets considers a device in 2 different categories: the “Frame” and the “Soft-Goods”.

The Frame:

The super structure, or frame, can be repaired under certain circumstances. Generally, there is little that can be done to compromise the strength and constitution of the frame. In some cases OrthoPets can add carbon and metal reinforcements to a cracked device.

The Soft-Goods

Anything which is attached to the shell is designed to be refurbished or replaced as needed. These materials include the strapping systems, diabetic foam padding, hinges, tread, and prosthetic components. Under normal wear, most of these materials will last 12-24 months. Hinges and prosthetic components typically last for many years.

As the frame does not change shape or breakdown, when the soft-goods are refurbished or replaced, the device is essentially brand new again. This ensures that our patients continue to enjoy the most comfortable and functional device for as long as the device is required.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about the condition of your frame or soft goods.

Please note any modifications made outside (performed on your own) of OrthoPets’ lab will void your device warranty any may result in a purchase of a new device.

When sending back the device for a refurbishment, please include your name and contact information inside the package with the device.

Refurbishments are a simple way to extend the life and function of a device indefinitely!

For more information, please check our FAQ