Orthopedic Therapy Under Wraps

We are often asked about how people can learn more about the practice of taping, positioning, splinting and otherwise supporting the movement and recovery of animals.  We are not trained veterinarians or orthopedists, so we always refer to experts here. 

One good article that was published in 2012 offers a broad introduction to this process, which is part of the field of Coaptation in animal health. 

“No form of orthopedic therapy has been used….and misused….more and over a longer period than external coaptation. Casts, splints, slings, and support bandages trace their origins to the earliest medical practitioners. The ancient Egyptians and the writings of Hippocrates described the use of splints for fracture immobilization. Over the centuries everything from flour and egg whites to animal fat and starch was added to bandages to stiffen them and improve stability at the fracture site.

As has so often been the case, especially in the field of orthopedics, major advances in fracture management with external coaptation occurred as the result of treating battle casualties during wartime. In the mid 19th century, plaster of Paris bandages was developed during the Crimean War and other European conflicts.”

Click here to read the full article

The article discusses some of the most important considerations for applying and replacing different supports, such as splints, slings, and bandages.  For us, the bandage discussion is, of course, very important. 

The elastic qualities of the bandaging material provide compression to the surface of the limb that can minimize inflammation and provide some stability to underlying fractures, but that same elasticity means that the compression is very temporary. Pressure transducers under these bandages have demonstrated that compression lasts for as little as 2 to 5 minutes in some applications, but likely no more than 24 to 48 hours in the extreme.

Arrowhead designs its bandages with long-lasting elastic threads, and is always upgrading its testing capabilities to better monitor and enhance our tension management.  The article did not use any Arrowhead products, and doesn’t discuss our specific types of vet wraps and tapes, but it makes an important point about changing and replacing bandages. 

The author strongly emphasizes that pet owners and animal health caregivers should regularly change dressings and bandages to ensure the optimal performance in compression and support.  Not following these guidelines and advice can lead to a host of complications, and we know you would agree that the goal in all we do is the quickest and strongest recovery possible!

Do you have thoughts on this topic? We'd love to hear! Please reach out to us!

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