A recent preliminary study involving a small group of canine patients across three veterinary practices has shown a reduction in complications involved with casting for fractures using a wood composite cast. Just 12.5 percent of dogs had complications that required treatment, compared to 55 percent in previous research where fiberglass casts were used. The patients’ fractures were immobilised using the UPETS Splinting System. The results suggest that the new product has the potential to make veterinary casting safer, more sustainable, and can help control costs associated with cast replacement and treatment of complications.
Three AniCura veterinary clinics across Norway and orthopaedic company Dassiet, conducted the preliminary study using a novel anatomical veterinary casting method: The UPETS Splinting System. The splint is available in six different sizes and two shapes to fit thoracic and pelvic limbs. Based on 30,000 3D limb scans to ensure a proper fit for all breeds, UPETS is further heat-moldable to the individual patient, shortening application times. The two-part splinting system is also suitable for use in other small animals with a similar limb structure to dogs.
Veterinary casting is notorious for high complication rates with the potential to adversely affect patient welfare and increase the cost to the client. The potential worst-case outcomes include amputation or even euthanasia. A previous retrospective analysis found that 55 percent of dogs treated with fibreglass cast developed soft-tissue injuries that required treatment, with 20 percent of injuries being severe. In this preliminary study using UPETS splints, which involved eight dogs, only one dog experienced minor soft tissue complications that required treatment and no severe complications were observed.
Most veterinarians (86 percent) participating in the study rated the UPETS Splinting System as easy to use and said they would use the product on their own dog.
An earlier poll questioned veterinarians on their most common concerns about casting and identified that the most significant were fear of complications (57 percent), the time-consuming nature of casting (54 percent) and inconvenience (51 percent).
“Complications often result from a cast that does not fit as well as it should. The results of this study suggest that UPETS might be the ground-breaking tool that veterinarians have been waiting for as it provides them with the means to achieve a cast shape that is more precise,” says Dr Martin Kaufmann, OrthoPets founder and Dassiet VET COO.
The heat moldable material used in the UPETS splint is the only available viable option that offers an opportunity for veterinarians to adjust the fit of the cast to match their exact needs – up to 25 times during the healing process. Dr Kaufmann continued: “This new splint material has been available for over a decade in human orthopaedics, and we want to ensure that veterinary orthopaedics benefits from it too.
“UPETS provides a better option for pets and their owners and helps busy clinics professional teams to deliver better outcomes and save time. We fully intend to build on this preliminary work to add further to our evidence base.”
Any veterinary professional wishing to access a white paper detailing the trial can access it online.