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Thread: Vets help a scrappy canine stay mobile after spinal cord injury with dog wheelchair

  1. #1

    Vets help a scrappy canine stay mobile after spinal cord injury with dog wheelchair

    When Stella goes for a walk, she draws attention. Most people aren’t used to seeing a dog in a wheelchair.

    But for owner Maggie Forbes, the contraption that she calls Stella’s “wheelie” is more than a way for her 12-year-old border collie mix to get around. She considers it a lifesaver for her pet.

    Stella, the oldest of Forbes’ three dogs, suffered spinal cord damage about a year and a half ago. Forbes said the dogs were playing with her in the yard when Stella, who was born deaf, saw something to chase and darted into the street, where she was hit by a car.

    Veterinarians determined that Stella didn’t suffer any broken bones or organ damage, Forbes said. Her spinal cord, however, was injured and she lost control of her hind legs. The legs sometimes kick uncontrollably, she said.

    “We took her to the vet every day for therapy for two months,” she recalled. “But after that she sort of hit a plateau and wasn’t getting any better. So we looked for a permanent fix.”

    The answers came on a Web search where Forbes found Doggon’ Wheels (www.doggon.com), which makes a variety of custom-fitted wheelchairs for pets.

    Stella now gets around just fine in what they call her “wheelie.” The dog’s back legs are placed into straps, and she uses her front legs to go where she wants.

    “She wouldn’t have lived without that,” said Forbes, noting how going out for a walk is the highlight of Stella’s day.
    Click here for the rest.

    This story put a smile on my face. I can only imagine seeing a dog rolling down the street in his very own wheelchair. But I wonder, do you have to do bowel care on the dog and cath it
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  2. #2
    Yes, you have to do a bowel program, and the bladder is usually "expressed" (emptied by Crede). They take a lot of care. It is not very unusual, esp. in certain breeds such as dachshunds which are subject to ruptured disks.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    It all depends on the severity of the injury.
    Quite a few do regain the ability to move their own bowels. It is not the same as pre-injury but it serves them well. They will get a spasm in their middle abdomen and then they must move their body around and within seconds they have a movement. Poor babies though only realize it is coming when it's already almost all the way finished. For them it is a blow because most are proud they go outside to potty.

    Expressing is needed almost all the time. The bladder function doesn't seem to recover like the bowel in the majority of the dogs.

    Skin breakdown is also an issue. As are UTI's. But the dogs are usually very happy dogs and well worth the effort.
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    One of my favorite patients was a little Dachshund named Speedy. He belonged to a "Doxie" rescue and was injured jumping off off the couch.
    He was really fast in his little chair and loved life to the fullest.His "mom" used crede on him and also did a bowel program. He too, suffered many uti's as well.

    My brother in law Brutus(my hubby's little Shitzu "brother") also suffered a SCI. He would pee uncontrolably, but we still used the crede method. He could have bm's on his own though.I did regular "pt" w/ him and would let him walk around while holding his rear up w/ a towel.We were looking into a wheelchair when he started recovering. We just kept working harder w/ him and he recovered fully,although he walks a little hunched and has a few accidents now. He/we were very fortunate, he was only paralyzed for a little less than two months.


    Speedy never showed signs of depression although Brutus did. I noticed that many animals handled other disabilties/diseases differently as well. Some never missed a beat, while others took it hard and their personalities totally changed-you could see the life taken right out of their face and eyes.

    Just goes to show, even animals aren't as resilient as others so why should we judge people that aren't?!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by quad79
    One of my favorite patients was a little Dachshund named Speedy. He belonged to a "Doxie" rescue and was injured jumping off off the couch.
    He was really fast in his little chair and loved life to the fullest.His "mom" used crede on him and also did a bowel program. He too, suffered many uti's as well.

    My brother in law Brutus(my hubby's little Shitzu "brother") also suffered a SCI. He would pee uncontrolably, but we still used the crede method. He could have bm's on his own though.I did regular "pt" w/ him and would let him walk around while holding his rear up w/ a towel.We were looking into a wheelchair when he started recovering. We just kept working harder w/ him and he recovered fully,although he walks a little hunched and has a few accidents now. He/we were very fortunate, he was only paralyzed for a little less than two months.


    Speedy never showed signs of depression although Brutus did. I noticed that many animals handled other disabilties/diseases differently as well. Some never missed a beat, while others took it hard and their personalities totally changed-you could see the life taken right out of their face and eyes.

    Just goes to show, even animals aren't as resilient as others so why should we judge people that aren't?!
    Speedy sounds just like a dachshund.
    It's true no two animals are alike..just as no two humans are. BUT even the most fearless of dachshund will succomb to neuropathic pain. Thankfully it isn't a normal happening in the SCI dogs.

    We are hearing more and more recovery stories due to intensive rehabilitation. The underwater treadmill has revolutionized rehab. for injured animals of all kinds. And the carts can be used as walkers as the dogs regain function until they are strong enough to not need the support. It's all good and hoping for more revolutionary findings.
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

  6. #6

    Canine spinal injury

    Hi, I have a Jack Russell,she has an injury to her spine.Vet says I have to put her to sleep.She has not the use of her hind legs.I refuse to give up on my best friend and companion.Is there any medicine out there which I can give her?.Please help me. Bigmax

  7. #7
    I work at a canine rehabilitation center and we see lots of dogs with spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders. We do rehab with swimming, underwater treadmill and alot of the same equipment and methods used in people rehab (even better than most I think). There are doggy diapers for bowel control but alot of dogs do regain the ability to hold it. We do use crede to express the bladder of paralysed dogs.
    Here is where I work
    www.caninewellness.com

  8. #8
    Bigmax, don't give up on your dog. You may need to see a different vet. While it does take a lot of extra care to keep your dog with a SCI, if you are determined to do it, you can.

    While we cannot cure spinal cord injuries in either dogs or humans, many get back a significant amount of return (see above), and there are doggie wheelchairs. You may want to search for a doggie rehab program in your area (not sure if Alex can help you find one). Check out this resource:

    http://www.joyfulpaws.com/resources.htm

    Here are some resources for dog wheelchairs:

    http://walkinwheels.com

    http://www.eddieswheels.com

    http://web.me.com/gbertocci/Canine_W..._Overview.html

    http://www.wheelchairsfordogs.com

    http://handicappedpets.com/www/index.php


    (KLD)

  9. #9
    Bigmax,
    I am not sure where you are located but the main school for Canine Rehabilitation is in Tennessee. If you go to their website and click on "find a practitioner" they have listings all over the world for people that specialize in helping dogs with injuries and disabilities.
    http://www.canineequinerehab.com/

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