Evaluate My Pet
Evaluating your pet is the most important first step in deciding which product would most benefit your pet. Please look at the information below to help you decide which wheelchair design is needed. As always, if you have a question in regard to your pet’s specific needs; please do not hesitate to Contact Us.
Forelimb Strength & the Towel Test
Your pet must be able to walk strongly on its front legs, with its back held in a level position. Use the “towel test” to determine whether or not the above is possible. If you have a small dog or cat we suggest you take an old towel, cut two holes in it, and place the legs through the holes. Remembering to keep the back level, see if your pet will walk normally. This action simulates our cart support system. If you have a large dog, a towel under each hind leg is an easier way to do the “towel test”.
Homemade Towel sling
Towel sling in Use
Signs of Forelimb Weakness
- Stumbling or knuckling with one or both front paws.
- Short, choppy steps or crossing over of the front paws.
- Splaying front legs out wide to maintain balance.
- Taking a few steps and stopping or laying back on the front legs.
Wheelchair Design Recommendations
When fitted with a pet wheelchair most mobility impaired pets, with few exceptions, will walk or run off in their carts. Their tails will be wagging and there will be a new brightness in their eyes.
With an older pet, it is important to think about what your pet wants to do. If they are content to just lay around, and only be taken out for very short periods, you may want to consider our Handheld Harnesses. On the other hand, if they are bright and alert and full of life, despite their mobility problem, a pet wheelchair will provide your pet with an extended, happier, and healthier life.
Paralyzed, obese, pets sometimes have a harder time adjusting to a cart. This is usually because of their forced period of inactivity. Dragging themselves along the ground is not considered an indication of front limb strength.
If your pet is able to walk when supported with a handheld harness (keeping the back level), this indicates that your pet will probably be able to handle a cart. Use of a cart will help with weight reduction and take the stress and strain off the back and limbs.
It is extremely rare that a pet will fight or refuse to use a K9 Cart. Try the towel test (see above) prior to ordering, to see if your pet will tolerate this type of help. If your pet walks readily with sling support, then they will do well in a cart.
Rear limb amputees usually get around well on three legs until they start to have problems in the supporting leg, at which time we would recommend a K9 Cart to take stress off of the remaining legs. We have designed a special leg ring support system for pets whose legs have been amputated at the hip. Amputees do very well in carts, however it may take them a bit longer to get used to the cart. Once fitted, we encourage you to send photos of your pet in the cart so we can advise, especially if your pet is having difficulty in the cart.
If your pet is in pain, please call us for advice on the product that will aid you with your pet’s mobility. If the arthritis is controlled with medication, and is in the rear limbs, then our pet wheelchair will aid mobility by taking stress of the hind limbs. If your pet has arthritis in both front and rear limbs, we recommend either our Full Support Wheelchair or our Handheld Harnesses.
Usually found in cats, but can also occur in dogs as well. We recommend our Full Support Wheelchair to help keep pets mobile and prevent pets from injuring themselves. The K9 Cart will allow them to have a better quality of life.
Cervical Disc Disease
Usually surgery is indicated to alleviate pain for this condition.
Post surgery – We recommend our Full Support Wheelchair to aid in rehabilitation. It will give full support to your pet, keep it in an upright position, and give you freedom to administer physical therapy. We can add a headrest if it is needed – just request a headrest when placing the order.
No Surgery- We often recommend our Handheld Front and/or Rear Harnesses for support, as pets are usually in intermittent pain with this condition. Please contact us to discuss your pet’s specific needs.
Degenerative myelopathy is the second most common condition for which pets need a cart, and is likened to MS in people. It generally starts off with knuckling of one hind paw, leading to both paws, and a swaying gait in the rear, very often with legs crossing.
There is no pain associated with this condition. Unfortunately, it travels up the spinal cord and affects the front legs over time. To delay this process, we recommend placing your pet in our Rear Support Wheelchair as soon as you observe mobility impairment in the rear of your pet. This will take stress and strain off both the rear and front legs and keep your pet active and happy. Your pet can still use its rear legs as long as it is able. Our Handheld Rear Harness is also useful for helping pets in and out of cars and up stairs.
Once your pet begins to weaken in the front legs, you can order the parts needed to easily convert the Rear Support Wheelchair into a Full Support Wheelchair.
Many pets recover from embolisms, or spinal blood clots, within about 4-6 weeks. However, nursing care will be easier with our pet wheelchair and it will promote the health and happiness of your pet, making this an easier time for all. A cart will stabilize the spine and aid in faster recovery, while keeping your pet upright and allow them to eliminate in a standing position.
Provided the fracture has been stabilized, and depending on where the spine is fractured, we can advise and recommend the correct product. Please contact us with more details about your pet’s condition so we can better assist you.
Surgery- Our pet mobility chair aids in helping to maintain spinal stability as it keeps the spine and limbs in alignment. This allows for recovery and takes the stress and strain off your pet.
No Surgery- If surgery is not indicated, using our pet mobility chair will prevent sores and infections. It also keeps your pet in an upright position, allowing it to run around normally. Nursing Care will also be easier for the owner and the pet will be healthier and happier.
The need for a cart will depend on the fracture site, what stability has been applied, and the pet’s overall physical condition. Please call or contact us for advice.
There are many surgical procedures to help with hip dysplasia. We recommend our Rear Support Wheelchair if your pet is not in pain, as the wheelchair will keep your pet’s limbs in alignment and will stabilize the hips. The wheelchair can also be used after surgery, as a tool for rehabilitation. Otherwise, please see our Walkabout Handheld Harnesses.
For further advice regarding your pet’s needs, please take a short video of how your pet is currently getting around and email it to us. We can evaluate and provide recommendations regarding what would be best given your pet’s current condition.
Pets with knee, or ACL, problems generally have surgery to correct this. Post-surgery, our pet wheelchairs are excellent for rehabilitation. Our wheelchairs take stress off the surgically repaired limb, while preventing breakdown of the other leg. This is particularly applicable to overweight pets.
If your pet was not a candidate for surgery, a wheelchair will still be beneficial. The wheelchair will remove the stress off the injured legs, while allowing them to use the legs to walk normally, which will prevent further damage to the joint.
As long as your pet is not in pain, is strong in the front legs, and only needs help with mobility, our pet wheelchair will give it the freedom to run around and stay healthier, by keeping the spine in alignment preventing further injury.
TL Disc Disease
This is the most common medical condition for which pets need a mobility aid. Our pet wheelchairs aid in rehabilitation whether the pet has IVDD surgery or not. This not only aids in faster recovery but also makes nursing care easier for the client, and a pet that is able to run around will be happier and stay healthier! Do not be concerned about your pet becoming dependent on its cart. A pet will never become dependent on a cart.
Surgery – Wheelchair will be extremely beneficial for rehabilitation after surgery. The rental program is often used for these cases. We work with some veterinary specialty practices that send pets home in our pet wheelchairs only 3 days after back surgery.
No surgery – It is important to get your pet into a K9 Cart as soon as possible (as long as they are not in pain). Many pets will recover without surgery, as long as they are put into a K9 Cart as soon as possible. If your pet does recover, it is recommended that you keep the K9 Cart, as it is possible for a reoccurence – if that happens, you already have the wheelchair and can put them in as soon as they begin to exhibit mobility issues.
We recommend our Full Support Wheelchair, especially post surgery, to aid with nursing care and rehabilitation.
If your pet has a specific condition not listed above, please contact us. We will be happy to advise you on what will work best for your pet.