Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what brace my dog needs?
- A consultation with your vet or physical assessment by a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner or Technician (CCRP or CCRT) will be required to determine the injury or debility which is causing your dog's symptoms.
- The style of brace will be determined according to the presenting symptoms and diagnosis.
Will the orthotic be heavy or uncomfortable for my dog to wear?
- The materials chosen for your dog's brace will be in accordance with the dog's size and weight, balancing comfort with durability. While a certain amount of weight is unavoidable, every effort is made to ensure that it is not disproportionate to the dog's size.
- The liners are orthopedic grade foams and the straps are high quality soft materials, which are able to be worn against human skin, and therefore are quite comfortable for most dogs.
- Sometimes, due to medications, allergies or other health conditions, a dog will be affected by skin conditions where they will be easily irritated. Should this be the case we will work with the client and vet to supply specialty interfaces to minimize skin issues.
Can my dog swim in the braces?
- Yes, the braces can be used while swimming.
- Dry the braces thoroughly to inhibit bacterial growth by towel and air drying. Do not use a heat source, such as a hair dryer or heat gun as this can deform the plastic.
- The braces can also be used during physical therapy such as underwater treadmill.
How do I clean the orthotic?
- Cleaning is very simple, requiring no special products. Just use mild soap and warm water, rinse well and air dry.
- Do not use any polishing products such as Armour All as this can cause hair to stick to the brace.
What is the difference between an orthotic and a prosthetic?
- An orthotic is a product which is applied to the outside of an area of the body for support.
- A prosthetic is an application which takes the place of a missing body part.
Do you only make products for dogs?
- While it is true that a majority of our products are for dogs, as long as an animal can be handled and will accept having a brace applied to the body and will wear it, we can certainly explore the option of making a product.
- Jeff Collins has worked with other animals in the past including; cats, alpaca, llama, tortoise, rabbits and a moose.
- Please contact us to further discuss the possibility of bracing an animal other than a dog, to ensure that the design can be modified to fit their physiology. Pictures and video will be helpful for assessment.
My dog has an amputation; can it be fit for a prosthetic limb?
- In order for a dog to effectively use the prosthesis, it needs to have a certain amount of leg length. This is because the stump will slide down into the prosthesis. Also the dog needs to be able to physically swing the prosthesis forward in a walking motion. If you are uncertain, please forward a picture of your dog to be assessed.
- We cannot accommodate a dog who has had an entire limb removed as there is nothing to which we can attach the prosthesis. However, the remaining limb(s) may require a brace to support the joints which are taking extra strain from the unusual stance position.
My dog is a puppy; can it be fit for a prosthetic limb?
- We can accommodate puppies and young dogs as a certain amount of space for growth can be incorporated into the design. Depending on the age and breed of the dog anywhere from 1 to 4 progressively sized prostheses may need to be fabricated. A plan can be developed between you, your vet and us to determine at which stage you will wish to begin the process.
How much does a prosthetic cost?
- The price will be determined by the length of prosthetic required and the style that is needed to accommodate the level of amputation. A quote can be given based upon the amputation level, which leg (front or back), mechanical joints required (if any), weight and age of the dog. The final cost will be determined when we have received the cast mold of the stump (residuum).
I don't live in your area; can I purchase your products?
- Yes, we work with the majority of our clients long-distance by utilizing your local vet to assist with the casting, fitting and follow up.
Can I get a price quote?
- In order to quote a specific cost we need to know the size (approximate weight) of your dog and what injury or physical debility with which your dog has been diagnosed. The physical condition will determine the style of brace
- You can call or email with this information for a quote.
Do I need to work with a vet?
- Yes, we do require that you work in conjunction with a veterinarian. This is because we need to ensure that we are treating the condition with an appropriate device. The diagnosis of the physical issues will determine which product will be most effective and advisable.
- The Veterinarian, CCRP, CCRT or a K-9 O&P Representative (solely or as a team) will be required to do the diagnosis, the casting, the fitting and the follow-up.
How will my vet know what to provide and what to do?
- We have a Veterinary Catalogue available which describes our products and the conditions for which they are recommended.
- If your vet has not ordered from us before, we have information sheets and videos available, which describe the process we wish them to follow.
- We are also available to consult with your vet by phone, email, Skype or FaceTime.
Why do you need a cast of the leg? Are measurements not enough?
- In order for a brace to fit intimately on the body part which we are addressing we need to know the volume of the particular area. It is the shape of the limb which will determine a correct and comfortable fit.
- A measurement is very subjective to the person taking it and can vary greatly. For example, taking a cloth measuring tape make a circle of 5" in circumference, that circle can be perfectly round or it can be oval, it is the same measurement, but a completely different shape.
What colours are available?
- For the Orthotic braces, due to the materials we use, only black or white plastic is available.
- For Prosthetic limbs we will try to match the fur colour of the dog, when it is provided. Otherwise the standard pattern available is a paw print, white, black or brown. Further customization is possible but may result in delays in production or extra charges, depending on how easily the materials are sourced.
How long will it take to get a brace made?
- Fabrication time is generally 10 to 12 business days, on a first come first serve basis. Shipping time is in addition to the fabrication time and will depend on the service chosen as well as your location.
- We appreciate that a majority of our clients have medical issues which require timely assistance, and we will do our utmost to serve all clients as quickly as possible.
I am not in Canada, are there special instructions for shipping the cast to you?
- The postal service in your home country, whether it is a national service or a courier company, will require you to fill out a customs declaration and while each has their own process the basic required information will be the same. The customs forms will need you to state, what the product is, what is its value and what country it was made in, along with the information regarding the shipper (exporter) and receiver (importer).
- A shipping advice sheet, USA to Canada, is available by contacting our office. For other countries, we will advise you as requested.
- Please be advised that if any cross border charges are levied (duties, taxes, handling), they are payable by the client. Properly filling out the paperwork can avoid unnecessary charges. Please contact out office if you are uncertain how to fill out the customs declarations.
- In some cases the Veterinarian will ship the cast to us, in others that will have the client do the shipping
What is the best way to ship?
- The best shipping method will depend on how quickly you need the product. Depending on your location, a parcel can be shipped in as little as one or two days, or may take a month or more.
- Every service provider has their own services, with delivery standards, costs, flat rate box and tracking options. Please note, when choosing a service pay attention to delivery times that are guaranteed as opposed to standard. Standard shipping times may not accurately reflect the actual time it takes for delivery, but is a guide to when you might expect a parcel to be delivered.
- For example: Shipping from California with an express (courier) guaranteed service would be 2 business days to Nova Scotia; a ground courier/priority service would be 7 or 8 business days; regular postal parcel service could be 10-15 business days, but is not guaranteed so could be shorter or longer.
- Shipping cost is directly related to shipping time and your location. Pack your parcel as small as possible to avoid excess shipping charges.
- Fabrication time is in addition to shipping, therefore if your pet requires a brace very quickly (for example a post-surgical situation), ground or regular parcel service is not recommended.
How do I pay for my order?
- We primarily take pre-payment by Visa or MasterCard. Our office will call the client who is paying (usually the dog owner, but sometimes the vet clinic). We will initiate payment once we have received a cast in our office. The fabrication of braces does not begin until payment is made.
- We can also accept electronic bank transfers. Cash, cheque or debit is accepted from those visiting our office.
- Sorry, we currently are not accepting PayPal or other Credit Cards (AmEx, Discover). Care Credit does not offer its services to Canadian providers, you may be able to arrange payment using this method through your vet's office, please check with them first to see if they can accommodate your request.
The amount on my credit card does not match the amount quoted, why?
- We are located in Canada and our prices quoted are in Canadian dollars. When we make a charge to a Credit Card it is also in Canadian dollars. Your credit card company will automatically convert the amount into the currency of your home country, based upon the daily exchange rate. They may or may not also charge a fee for this service. This will be determined by the type of card that you have. Many banks post a currency exchange converter on their websites. You can also visit "xe.com" to do the conversion to get a general idea of what sort of an exchange rate you may expect.
Can I use my Pet Insurance?
- We have not collected payments directly from pet insurance companies, but we have on several occasions signed papers for our clients to make a claim for our products. We would be happy to follow up with any paperwork you require to be filled out to make a claim, either by email, fax or regular mail. We would also be happy to provide a written quote, should you need to get pre-approval.
- Each pet insurance company has their own policy in regards to what they will or will not cover. Our understanding is that coverage for orthotics varies widely. It is advisable that if you wish to take advantage of their coverage that you call them first so you know what to expect for remuneration.
Warranty and Repairs:
What is your warranty?
- All products are guaranteed against defects or failures in material or design for a period of 1 year, except for mechanical joints which are warrantied for 6 months. Please see below for repair information.
- The warranty is void if the brace is changed or modified in any way without permission of K-9 Orthotics & Prosthetics Inc.
- The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear on the replaceable components such as liners and straps. It also does not cover destruction by the canine.
Do you refund?
- All products are custom made medical devices for the particular client and therefore are not refundable.
- On the rare occasion that a refund is to be issued, for example if the pet dies before the product is dispensed, certain fees are not refundable. These, where applicable, are: shipping, consultation fees, casting fees and a $50 flat fee to cover credit card/bank charges. The total amount to be refunded is at the discretion of K-9 Orthotics & Prosthetics Inc.
What kind of life expectancy, refurbishments or repairs can I expect?
- The life expectancy of the product will depend on many factors, but in a majority of cases we have found that our products will last the lifetime of the pet. Our products are fabricated to be long-wearing, robust and refurbishable.
- Some factors which affect the products are: the amount of time worn (constantly vs. occasionally); activity level of the pet; environment in which the brace is worn; upkeep and cleaning by the pet owner; damage by the pet.
- It can be expected that the straps, whether "hook & loop" or elastic will probably need to be replaced at some point. While we use the highest quality products we are able to source, simple wear and tear will occur. All plastic clips, triglides and foam linings are also replaceable.
- The design of our products allows the mechanical and rubber joint to be replaced, should they become worn or broken.
- In most cases, as long as the plastic shell is not broken, cracked or worn off (abraded) beyond a repairable level, all other parts are replaceable. What is and is not repairable will be determined by K-9 Orthotics & Prosthetics, but every effort is made on our part to re-use or refurbish any and all parts.
- Should a new brace be required, we will advise you if a new cast mold of the leg is needed. Most casts are kept in storage for an extended period of time and can be retrieved and re-used. We can make no guarantee that a cast has survived the fabrication process.
I need a repair; what do I do?
- Repairs can be facilitated directly through our office or via your vet's office. In some cases a replacement part can be sent directly to you; in others the device will need to be returned to our facility for refurbishment or repair.
- A picture of the needed repair can be emailed to us and we can advise you if the brace needs to be returned.
- We do not advise that the soling material be replaced by a shoemaker. Also if the sole has become worn down it is advised that it be returned for replacement before the posting material is abraded. The posting is the dense foam material between the rubber sole and the plastic shell. The shape of this posting is critical for a proper gait cycle (walking comfort).
- We can provide you with mailing instructions, including cross-border advice, by contacting our office.
- Repairs which are not covered by warranty are subject to charges for materials, labour and shipping. You can choose your preferred shipping method.
My dog wears a brace all the time, what is required to get a second brace?
- As long as the cast mold has survived the first fabrication, a second brace can be ordered by contacting us by phone or email. Pre-payment will be required.
- We offer a discount on having the second brace made for the same limb. The total cost will be confirmed at the time of ordering.
- The casts are kept in storage for an extended period of time, but there is no guarantee that we still have it. We will verify with you if the cast is in storage.
- In cases where we no longer have the cast, there are two options for making a second order. You can have the dog re-cast and mail this to us. Otherwise, if your dog can go without the brace for a period of time, the original brace can be sent to us. From this first brace we can make a mold, which we will use to build the second brace.
- Every effort will be made to make the brace exactly the same, however, because these are a totally hand-made, custom product some variations will occur.