HomeInfo ResearchTreatment OptionsStories PhotosVideosAdoption/RescueLinkslogsMailing ListContact Us

Treatment Options

The most important thing to say about affected dogs, is that more often than not they require no special care or treatment. Most learn to stand and walk on their own, although using some of the aids and techniques described below can decrease the time it takes.

Surgery

Surgery has been performed on a couple of dogs and was determined to be unsuccessful.  Affected dogs have multiple problems, including muscle contractures and rotational bone deformities.  Surgery that addresses one area likely will exacerbate/uncover others.  Affected dogs are very well adapted to their disabilities, able to walk and run.  Owner have found that supportive care is typically all that is required, although the time to teach pups to stand and walk varies, some walking at 6 weeks, others being almost a year old.

Professional rehabilitation is available and has been used by some, others have preferred at home care and exercises.  A list of rehabilitation centers can be found here

 

Techniques and aids used at home include:

Slings
Slings may be needed to help support hindlimbs as pups start to walk, as strength and balance increases, their use decreases.  Types of sling used by owners include those that just loop under the abdomen and more complex harnesses that fit over the hindlimbs and pelvis. 
Quicklift
Walkabout Harness
Bottom’s Up Leash

Protective boots
While some dogs walk well, others scrape their feet/nails as they walk.  There are many paw protectors available, examples include:
Medipaws (more to protect a foot after injury than for day to day use)
Muttluks
Therapaw
Ultrapaws
Ruff Wear

Balance and Proprioception
Please check with your veterinarian before starting any exercises with your pet.  One of the key factors in helping affected dogs to stand and walk is to develop core strength and balance skills.  Techniques can be as simple as supporting dogs in a standing position and gently rocking them from side to side, or more complex using a balance board or ball

Carts
Carts may be an option for dogs who either can’t walk, or can manage only short distances.  There are several cart manufacturers, with two basic cart designs.  One uses rigid rings through which the hindlimbs go (e.g. Eddies Wheels), the other a softer, neoprene saddle (e.g. Doggon Wheels).  For dogs with legs that don’t flex at the stifle or hock, and have limited extension, the “traditional” set up of carts may not work due again to the inability to flex the stifle.  Having said this, however, affected dogs can flex their hips, so a modification can be made to a cart so the legs are supported in such a way that they are parallel to their bodies. Read about Boomers experieces with a cart here 

 

Cart manufacturers include:
Doggon Wheels
Deweys
Walkin Wheels
Eddie's Wheels

Tarsal Support
The tarsal joint appears to be the weak point with affected dogs, a few having had injuries.  Tarsal supports being investigated although their benefits are up for debate.