Early pet euthanasia, unfortunately, used to be the norm with animals with a severe disability, but not anymore. Personally, as a person with a disability too, I also experienced a pet with a disability as well. My pet, six months before his natural passing, fell down 17 stairs while snoozing at the top rung. He probably was dreaming, then physically, yet unconsciously, reacted to a nocturnal stimulus that caused him tumble down. Although he seemed ok at first after the fall, the Veterinarian later was concerned that he could have nerve damage. And yes, gradually it did take hold.
A growing number of pet owners are turning to custom-built wheelchairs to restore mobility to furry friends whose legs, hips or backs don’t work. These mobility devices are not, by no means “wheelchairs” as in a human perspective but rather pet wheelcarts. The owners’, who use these for their pets, their goals are simple: to reward their pets’ unconditional love with whatever it takes for the animals to live normally as possible. Like human disability however that task can be tenuous and daunting but like anyone in physical therapy, ever so rewarding.
The two-wheel carts support the dog’s midsection with a padded saddle, and are secured with a shoulder yoke and chest strap. Most dogs have rear-wheel carts to compensate for lame hind legs, though a growing number of front-wheel carts are being ordered for animals with front-leg problems. Pets have accidents with cars, fall down the stairs, slip on the ice, walk or run into a pane of glass, have swimming accidents, fight with other animals, fall out of windows, climb trees, jump and fall and since they have been domesticated, have pretty much the same health problems as people do.
So it was deemed necessary and natural to come up with a pet wheelchair. Eddie and Leslie Grinnell, founders of Eddie’s Wheels, built their first commercial pet wheelchair in 1989 when their 10-year-old Doberman lost the use of her rear legs because of disc disease and spinal problems.
Their veterinarian, impressed by the Doberman’s revived mobility and vitality, started referring others to the Grinnell’s to manufacture mobility for other pets. In 1998, they started their own business.
Most dogcarts start around $250 and can exceed $500 based on the size of the dog, while the cost of wheelcarts for other animals can vary depending on the type and size of animal.
Since launching the business, Eddie’s Wheels has shipped carts worldwide — the largest to a 220-pound Saint Bernard in Great Britain — and has made wheelcarts for several cats, a ferret, alpacas, goats, sheep, a rabbit and a possum. They even keep a supply of tiny wheels on hand for a gerbil or hamster. Is a wheelcart in a horse with a disability’s future? May be a camel, a monkey, a pet rat, or a kangaroo? Noah’s Ark could help with the business plan!
Eddie’s Wheels specializing in orthopedic surgery for dogs, cats and other small animals, and pets that once would have been irreversibly crippled are benefiting from a variety of advancements: improved hip and joint replacements, better physical therapy and wheelchairs.
Even if a treatment is expensive, these are people who say they’ll do anything to keep their pet moving, to keep them happy, to keep their quality of life up, that’s what the pet owners loving goal.
Many of the dogs who need the carts become disabled from degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease common in German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labradors and other large sporting breeds. Others, like Corgis and Daschunds, are vulnerable to disc and spine problems that eventually leave them lame.
Back to normal
Dogs don’t understand why this is going on with their bodies, but they’re very accepting. That was the case with an 8-year-old German shepherd whose owners said his dog’s degenerative myelopathy left him dejected and hobbling behind their other dog.
As dogs try their new cart for the first time, they whimper at the door to go outside and promptly wheeled there way down the walkway. Although a pet chair lift for stairs has yet to be invented, I’m sure it’s on its way!
This is absolutely amazes, the dog regained vigor are reborn to lick your face and to “bark’n roll!”…………Arf!
- K-9 Cart Company East. Wheelchairs for pets, mobility aids and accessories for disabled pets, pet pr
The original patented wheelchair company for paralyzed & handicapped pets developed and owned by a veterinary orthopedic surgeon. For over 45 years, K-9 Cart Company has custom-built mobility aids for handicapped dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, she
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