Laurie's Blogs.


Oct 2023

Novel reasons why a set of wheels might be beneficial for your canine patient

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT, Cert. Sm. Anim. Acup / Dry Needling

Perhaps you’ve seen this blog already.   I just came across it recently and figured it was too good not to share! 

It lists out a number of cases / conditions where a cart / wheelchair might be beneficial in the case of a puppy with mobility loss.


So, firstly any issue that affects balance:  Cerebella Hypoplasia, Spinal or Vertebral Birth Defects, or Hydrocephalus.


These issues can impact coordination, posture, balance and hence mobility.  I can see the argument if that is the clinical picture at hand.


Other condition mentioned were Dancing Doberman Disease and Idiopathic Epilepsy.  


When it comes to the Dancing Dobermans, I’ve not seen one, so it’s hard for me to comment on whether a cart would be good or not.  The Merck Manual says this about the condition:   “Dancing Doberman disease is a neuromuscular disease that affects Doberman Pinschers of either sex, approximately 6 months to 7 years old, and is likely inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Initially, affected dogs intermittently flex the hip and stifle joints of one pelvic limb while standing.  Within several months, most dogs alternately flex and extend both pelvic limbs in a dance-like manner. They often prefer to sit rather than stand. The condition slowly progresses to mild paraparesis, decreased proprioception, and atrophy of the gastrocnemius muscles.”  So, ‘maybe’ a cart could provide  a means for mobility…


Epilepsy.  Well, that’s tougher for me to wrap my head around.  I’ve had two epileptic dogs (as they aged), and when they went into convulsions, they were safest on the floor on their sides.  However, as the Handicappped Pets blog points out, should the dogs suffer damage to parts of the brain that affect mobility, then a cart could be useful.


Lastly, the blog mentions juvenile Wobbler Syndrome.  Yes, a cart could be of use, however, this is a progressive condition that typically affects large / giant breed dogs.  As such, perhaps a quality of life discussion is in order as well.  That being said, I am fully prepared to support the dedicated owner that is willing to go above and beyond for their pet!


Okay, so in the puppy scenarios mentioned above, then when you look at which cart to recommend, I think the clear winner would have to be the Walkin’ Wheels cart.  I don’t like to make bold statements favouring one cart over another, since they all have strengths and weaknesses.  However, with a growing dog, the Walkin’ Wheels carts do have more adjustability to account for growth.

From Walkin’Pets Blog -  Sept 7, 2023.


What else?


So, the whole blog made me think about what else and what other scenarios a cart could be used for.  Typically we think of neurological cases.  However, I’ve used carts for novel cases as well.


Severe osteoarthritis.  I had a dog with severe elbow arthritis, and moderate carpal arthritis as well.  We put that dog into a front wheel cart so she could zoom around like her house mates!


Amputees.  Three-legged gait uses far more energy to get from point A to point B.  So, a longer walk or hike isn’t often compatible with tripods.  A cart can help these dogs go for longer walks, hikes, or to cover rough terrain, or navigate a slippery pathway!


Surgically / Injury Necessitated Non-Weight-Bearing.  There might be a time when a dog is not allowed to put full weight through a joint / limb / structure.  A short term cart rental could help to keep a dog active while enabling protection of a joint… especially if it’s an older, weaker dog that might have issues with being a temporary tripod.


Now, I’m sure there are other scenarios I’ve not thought about!  But this is what came to me off the top of my head!


It’s all great food for thought!


Cheers,  Laurie