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Disabled Dogs

Updated on March 3, 2009

Pet Wheelchairs

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.

Medical advancements

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!

Comments

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    • profile image

      Dennis 

      4 years ago

      Dr. Kim McNeil is fictitious. Created by the seller of Sanus-Biotex to try and promote a product that does not work. It is a scam. Sorry people.

    • profile image

      PaulieWalnuts 

      7 years ago

      I would ask a medical professional that question, perhaps Dr. Kim McNeil DVM.

    • profile image

      Sin D 

      7 years ago

      I have a 5 yr old German Shepperd he was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy 3 month's ago. It seems to be advancing pretty fast on him. He can't walk or stand for long periods anymore. I would like to know while these dogs are outside playing on their wheelcarts, are they able to use the restroom? Or how does it work... I ask cause our dog does get diarrhea quite frequently. I don't know if it's a side affect or if he just has an upset stomach. Please let me know if the dogs are able to use the restroom okay while using the cart... thank you.

    • PaulieWalnuts profile imageAUTHOR

      PaulieWalnuts 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Great link, thank you!

    • profile image

      Dr. Kim McNeil 

      7 years ago

      If your dog is suffering from degenerative myelopathy there is a new product out that can be used with these mobility chairs as well. It's called Sanus-Biotex and can be found at http://www.degenerative-myelopathy.com ... Supplement that my family has personally used on our family dog along with a wheelchair and seems to be working very well to help slow down the progression of DM.

      Thanks,

      Dr. Kim McNeil dvm

    • profile image

      wheelchair 

      7 years ago

      Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

      wheelchair

    • PaulieWalnuts profile imageAUTHOR

      PaulieWalnuts 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Try this website about 3 legged dogs and where and how to help them. I hope everything works out well!

      http://www.squidoo.com/tripawd

    • profile image

      Amber H. 

      8 years ago

      I'm looking for help with my puppy shes a very special girl. She was born with out her right front paw and shes walking and playing but shes starting have truble. I'm low on income waiting on my ssi to be apoved. Does anyone know where I can get help? How to get disabitiy for her? You can reach me @ 2525 fm 1516 China Grove TX 78263. Thank you!

    • PaulieWalnuts profile imageAUTHOR

      PaulieWalnuts 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for your comments everyone!

    • profile image

      Holly 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for your website. I had a baby we thought we would have to put in a wheel chair, we never had to. I did lose her early due to her birth deffects but of all the animals I have rescued and worked with she was by far the sweetest and most resiliant. It seems disabled dogs don't feel sorry for themselves no mater how much we think they are missing.

    • profile image

      Amber 

      9 years ago

      I always worry about my dog getting hip problems and needing a wheel chair or needing to be put down.

    • profile image

      Leighanne 

      9 years ago

      Hello i'm a student doing a presentation on special needs pets. please would you mind if I used some of the pictures off this site in my presentation?

    • PaulieWalnuts profile imageAUTHOR

      PaulieWalnuts 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Jim, thank you for your comment. The love of pets endures. Like humans, pets too can love. They have souls, disabled or able bodied, they always deserve our love!

    • profile image

      Jim Abbott 

      10 years ago

      We, too, have a disabled dachshund that has been in a wheelchair for about three years now. LuLu woke up one morning to discover she was paralyzed in her back quadrant. Following two surgeries(hemalamanectomies) there was no significant change, and we were given a choice as to whether or not to euthanize. I could not believe they even suggested euthanasia; however, we set about looking for wheelchairs, purchased one, and LuLu is happy as can be. Sure, it requires additional work to take care of her needs; however, if it happened to a human member of the family, would we euthanize.....I think not. No, we are not wealthy individuals; in fact, I too entertain a similar physical challenge, and live on a fixed income. LuLu is a "rescue" dachshund, along with one other of our four dachshunds. We have grown to love her very much, and would not consider giving her up for any reason other than unendurable pain. Thanks for reading.

      Jim

    • profile image

      Jim Abbott 

      10 years ago

      We, too, have a disabled dachshund that has been in a wheelchair for about three years now. LuLu woke up one morning to discover she was paralyzed in her back quadrant. Following two surgeries(hemalamanectomies) there was no significant change, and we were given a choice as to whether or not to euthanize. I could not believe they even suggested euthanasia; however, we set about looking for wheelchairs, purchased one, and LuLu is happy as can be. Sure, it requires additional work to take care of her needs; however, if it happened to a human member of the family, would we euthanize.....I think not. No, we are not wealthy individuals; in fact, I too entertain a similar physical challenge, and live on a fixed income. LuLu is a "rescue" dachshund, along with one other of our four dachshunds. We have grown to love her very much, and would not consider giving her up for any reason other than unendurable pain. Thanks for reading.

      Jim

    • PaulieWalnuts profile imageAUTHOR

      PaulieWalnuts 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Speaking thematically, in the DOGLY sense, thank you for your comment. It is hearbreaking, no doubt, but so is the short lives that pets live anyway. Healthy dogs live relatively short lives too.

      Your checks are very cool! "The check is in the mail!" I take it, you don't have any signed over to me?.... lol!

    • profile image

      Dachshund Checks 

      10 years ago

      I hate euthanasia especially on children and animals. They look very vulnerable. Everytime I hear stories about these, I always remember a no-so-popular Carpenter's song "Bless the Beast & The Children" ...(for in this life they have no voice, they have no choice...) but we have. We can choose to let these helpless pets with disability live a very precious life. I, myself, have found a way to tell the world about the pains of pet euthanasia and how we can help them and it's through my dachshund checks I have ordered online but why Daschshund? My brother has a pet Dashchund on a wheelchair and we've put his photos on our checks to show the world. I hope you can take a look at this wonderful idea. Thanks for the hub. It brought tears in my eyes.

      http://www.onlychecks.com/dachshund-checks.html

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