It happens to the best of us. We get old, and so do our pets. Our 11 year old rescue hound-shepherd mix is no exception and unfortunately due to age and genetics he suffers from Canine degenerative myelopathy. This is an incurable disease of the spinal chord that is essentially the breaking down of communication between the brain and the nerves in the lower body. It has been about a year long progression. First he dragged his foot. Then he started falling. Then he started knuckling, or standing on his knuckles and didn’t even seem to notice or care (because he couldn’t feel it) and finally scissoring (legs crossing while walking or sitting). I’ve seen wheels for dogs, and I’ve researched it, and when he could barely walk anymore, and I was holding him up while he went to the bathroom, I knew something had to be done. Of course you fear the worst and I wondered the unthinkable. “Is he dying?” “Will we have to put him down?” These were all plausible thoughts, but then I would look at him, all I could see was the same spirit that I had always known. Perhaps he’s slower, less rambunctious, and a few pounds extra but I consider myself an intuitive person and I didn’t see death anywhere in his expressions or in his eyes. He sees, smells, hears, eats and defecates normally. He just has a problem and I needed to offer him a solution. Exercise, and hydrotherapy are helpful in prolonging life and preventing further degeneration but also ironic because it’s not easy to get him exercise when he cannot walk. Acupuncture has helped him as well, and we will continue these things, but I went and got him some wheels! There’s a few companies out there and ultimately we went with K9 Carts, a USA manufacturer with over 50 years of experience. They offer rent-to-own which serves as a payment plan, or a lease if you need one short-term for an injury or surgery, or decide that you don’t like it.
After a few weeks with his new set of wheels, we couldn’t be happier! It’s easy to set up and attach to him. For us, it is a bit of a process. We put on Pawz rubber booties so he doesn’t scrape his nails and paws while walking, and we have to help him down the stairs with a harness and then put on the wheels, and take off after the walk to get him back up the stairs (bless Grace our dog walker!). He’s adjusted well. He began peeing right away with it on, but it took him a couple of weeks before he realized he could poo with it on. Aside from that, and navigating around elevated flower beds, and signs he cruises right up curbs, through the grass and gravel quite easily! He behaves like it’s not even on him which is quite a feat for him as he can be anxious at times and particular with his pooping locations. He’s really happy walking around again, and he’s also using his rear legs while moving as well, so he’s getting the excercise he needs to prolong his life and hopefully stave off further degeneration as long as possible! Look at him go! If you should ever have any questions regarding a similar situation, feel free to reach out to us. We are so happy we made this decision and Wiley is, too!Read more