About Wheelchair Carts for Pets:

 

The idea of using a wheelchair for a family member, let alone a pet, is not a common thought. The initial reaction can be fear, anxiety and for some, absurd. The reality is that most pets take to the wheelchair carts faster than humans. The carts offer pets a chance to perform more of their normal daily activities again. They also aid in the recovery and rehabilitation process for animals recovering from spinal surgery, spinal cord injuries and neuromuscular disorders.

What is a Pet Wheelchair Cart?

Pet wheelchair carts are custom made lightweight frames with wheels and body support materials. These carts are species specific (dog, cat, rabbit, etc.) and custom designed to fit each pet. Carts are made to provide front, rear or quad support. Depending upon what kind of support the pet needs, the chairs are made to evenly distribute their weight and remove the effects of gravity, making ambulation possible.

What are the Advantages of a Wheelchair Cart?

One of the most important benefits of using a cart is for the mental health of your pet. Carts provide a sense of freedom your pet needs. A cart will allow your pet to accompany you on walks, play, and sometimes run faster than the other dogs since they now have wheels. They can still reach the ground to sniff every mailbox, or pick up a toy or ball; they can go in shallow water, on the beach or mountain trails and through the snow. And when they’re tired, they can comfortably relax.

Carts can also be used to maintain physical strength in elderly pets or those with degenerative disabilities. These carts are versatile and adjustable to accommodate individual needs. As your pet becomes stronger, the cart support can be reduced, ensuring that your pet continues to work and build strength and function. Carts used for pets with degenerative disabilities usually start out providing light support while still allowing your pet to exercise and maintain muscle strength for as long as possible. As the degenerative disease progresses, the chair can be adjusted to provide more support, maintaining ambulation and providing a good quality of life.

Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology commonly uses carts during the rehabilitation process after spinal injury, spinal surgery and during the treatment of neuromuscular disorders. The chairs are easily adjustable, providing adequate support and allowing longer exercise sessions. This helps to build up muscle strength and balance. Wheelchair carts are also recommended for patients with degenerative spinal disorders. Maintaining a regular exercise program acts to slow the degenerative process, providing your pet with a greater quality of life.

The rewarding look in your pets’ eyes and the slight smile on their face, that only you as a parent can see when your pet walks away from you with little difficulty and without your support is priceless. Carts are especially helpful in large dogs simply because of their size. Once in the chair, you don’t have to help support their weight. This will eliminate the need for a second person to help you. Pets can urinate and defecate in the chairs without making a mess of themselves or the chair, which makes everyone happier. Because your pet will become more mobile and spend less time lying down, the chair will help prevent bedsores, aggravation of arthritis and stiff joints.

When Are Wheelchair Carts of Benefit?

Any pet that has trouble walking may be a candidate for a wheelchair cart. Consultation with your veterinarian prior to ordering a wheelchair is recommended. Following is a list of some of the most common reasons a pet may benefit from the use of a wheelchair cart:

  • Spinal Cord Injury and resultant Paresis or Paralysis
  • Post-Spinal Fracture Stabilization Surgery
  • Post-Spinal Cord Surgery
  • Degenerative Spinal Cord Diseases
  • Neuromuscular Disorders
  • Tumor resulting in non-use of a limb
  • Cerebellar/Balance Disorders
Where do I Order a Wheelchair Cart for my Pet?

There are several companies who custom design wheelchair carts for pets. Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology supports Doggon’ Wheels. You should contact your family veterinarian or Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology prior to ordering a wheelchair. This will ensure that the correct cart is ordered to meet your pet’s needs.

To Contact Doggon’ Wheels directly:

www.doggon.com

1-888-7-DOGGON (1-888-736-4466) (US and Canada)

Our Certified Veterinary Technicians can assist you in acquiring your pet’s measurements, as well as ensure your wheelchair is fitted properly.  For our recovering patients, RMVN may be able to provide a temporary wheelchair for immediate mobility assistance for your pet.  This will aid in your pet’s recovery and quality of life.

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Getting Measured for a Wheelchair Cart

Maggie presented to Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology, November 24, 2008 with a fever, swollen joints, open skin lesions, spinal pain and difficulty walking on her rear legs. Maggie underwent extensive testing, including laboratory testing, skin biopsies, joint and cerebrospinal fluid analysis and magnetic resonance imaging. Maggie was diagnosed with vasculitis/meningitis complex, in addition to a chronic intervertebral disc extrusion.

At nearly 12 years of age, Dr. Lane’s medical management has resulted in remission of her immune-mediated disease. Maggie is comfortable and happy. To help provide greater happiness, a rear support cart has been implemented into her life, as a loaner by Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology. Maggie is a great model and showstopper, as evidenced on the day she gets her cart measurement at Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology. We are hopeful she will experience many long walks with her family with the use of the cart. Happy trails Maggie.

Maggie in her new wheels!

“Maggie” Jamison – Corgi

Maggie has provided great joy to all that encounter her smile. As her rear legs began to fail, her mother did not hesitate when a rear leg para wheelchair cart was suggested. After a quick fitting, Maggie peeled rubber out of the hospital. She was last seem motoring through the local dog park with her mother fast on her “wheels”.

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Going Home with a new Wheelchair Cart

“Spunky” Harwell – German Shepard

Spunky presented to Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology on April 27, 2009. At nearly 9 years of age, Spunky has remained an outgoing and very friendly German Shepard dog. Spunky appreciated a 12-month history of progressive pelvic-limb scuffing, weakness and wobbliness. Despite remaining pain free, this energetic companion was unable to experience long walks with his mother.

Diagnosed with a progressive spinal cord condition by Dr. Lane, Spunky underwent magnetic resonance imaging and cerebrospinal fluid analysis to determine the cause. Spunky has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. This is a genetic, pre-programmed spinal cord degeneration for which there is no cure. Regular activity and exercise has been shown to represent the single most important deterrent for rapid progression of this disease. Because of Spunky’s size, this has been a barrier his owner has not been able to overcome. Hydrotherapy is not an option as Spunky is afraid of water.

To help improve the quality of Spunky’s life, a rear support cart has been introduced and provided by Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology. His mother mirrors the happiness displayed on his face. Spunky will now be able to go for long walks without the need for support by his mother. Try and keep up, mom!