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K9 Carts Blog

Using Rear Legs in a K9 Carts Wheelchair

September 25, 2013 - Posted by Barbara Parkes to General

Our carts are designed for a pet either to use its hind legs or to have them up and protected in slings if they are paralyzed or just have minimal feeling without sufficient ability to take steps. Very often a pet will have the ability to walk with one paw but not the other. In this case, the rear height of the cart should be set so that both paws touch the ground. In the case of the paw that is knuckling over, a protective boot should be used. If you put one leg up in the sling and leave one down it will throw your pet off balance.

I talked with a client today who had been informed that she should leave the legs dangling to encourage leg movement as placing them in the slings would discourage the return of feeling to her pet’s legs. Leaving legs hanging in the air will not only discourage leg movement but will cause sores in the groin area. Placing them up in the slings will encourage leg movement because as they walk or run with the front legs and as feeling returns to their legs, they will swing their legs and build up muscle tone and feeling. This encourages rehabilitation and ability to walk on their own and over our 50 years of manufacturing carts, we have had a large number of pets return to walking on their own after a short time in carts. In fact we encourage you to rent a cart after your pet has back or knee surgery to encourage a quicker return to full mobility. We do not advocate allowing them to run off in the cart but give them controlled exercise during the recovery period. There is absolutely no question that with our well balanced cart, which keeps your pet’s spine and limbs in alignment, will encourage return to mobility 100% faster. Your pet will be happier and active, doing what it wants to do and it will make nursing care easier for you.

Wheely Willy , a little Chihuahua who was in one of our carts for 20 years was totally paralyzed with flaccid hind legs but when he was placed in the cart his little legs would swing vigorously in the slings. He never did regain the ability to walk as his back was fractured but his legs maintained good muscle tone and he lived a happy active life bringing joy to thousands of his fans all over the world.

If you think about it, after we have surgery and need help getting around, we are given crutches or a walker to help us get back to mobility and why should the same not apply to pets. Placing your pet in a cart will never discourage it from coming back to walking on its own!

Look at the video of the 12 year old Corgi, named Lola. She is suspected of having degenerative myelopathy which is a progressive loss of mobility starting with the rear legs and which may eventually travel up the spine to the front legs. Corgis are the second top breed needing carts at the moment because they suffer from DM. As you can see, without the cart she is still able to move around using her rear legs. However the added stress being placed on her back and front legs will cause mobility loss at a faster pace without the aid of the K9 Cart. I often hear the remark that “I don’t want to put my dog in a cart while he/she is still able to use the hind legs because placing them in a cart will cause them not to walk and use their legs.” The exact opposite is true and we know this from helping pets with dog wheelchairs for 50 years and having our own veterinary hospital that pets never become dependent on carts and use of a cart will keep the hind legs stronger until eventually they do weaken with their disease. If you wait too long before getting your pet a K9 Cart and allow a dog to get to the stage that it is only able to take a step or two without falling then by that time they have placed undue stress on their front legs and you would have to go to a supportive cart for the front legs. The extra supportive carts (and parts can be added onto our 2 wheeled carts) give excellent support but the front wheels are caster wheels and therefore not as maneuverable as the standard 2 wheeled cart. Therefore why wait to purchase a cart when it can be running around and going for walks before it gets to the stage that it can barely walk and all the fun has gone out of its life- no more walks or playing with its friends etc. It is extremely important that you purchase a cart for your pet when they start having mobility problems like Lola. Then when given the support of the K9 cart, she is able to run around using her hind legs while keeping her back level and taking the stress off the front legs. She can now go for walks, chase balls, run around in circles and do whatever she was used to doing while keeping her happy and healthier and delaying the progress of degenerative Myelopathy. Without the aid of a K9 Cart she would gradually deteriorate faster in the rear legs, start dragging herself around, get sores and become weak in the front legs.

We know it is hard to look at your pet and see the sadness in their eyes and watch them struggle to get up and not be able to go for walks etc. K9 Carts do bring K9 Happiness. I know as I have been seeing it and hearing about it for the past 38 years. When a pet takes off in a cart and realizes that it can run again, eyes brighten, tails wag and they are off! And depending on their condition very often helps them return to full mobility!

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