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Paralyzed dog with bladder issues

Neurological Disorders Resources. Treatment and care for pets having pain or trouble walking or standing due to spinal injuries or neurological disorders like IVDD, FCE and DM.

Re: Paralyzed dog with bladder issues

Postby illusha » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:19 am

A quad-support wheelchair (with removable front), was one of the first things that I purchased when we were trying to figure out how to nurture the dog back to walking, we’ve tried using it for a couple of weeks and then it’s been sitting since…

For some reason, the dog could never figure out how to propel the wheelchair forward, he kept pushing with his front legs and making the wheelchair roll backwards uncontrollably. I tried quite a few tricks and nothing worked. Removing the front support made it even more difficult for him to keep balance and not roll backwards. I had to constantly supervise and direct the wheelchair. I called it quits when I looked away for a second and he rolled backwards off the back deck (less than a foot fall, but no, not again).

I’ve figured out a few things related to wheelchairs. One – wheelchair is a temporary solution in my eyes, I don’t believe that a dog should live in a wheelchair, it should just be used to get them by while they are recovering. Two – in the wheelchair, the rear legs are tied out of the way, so they are not moving, making the dog getting used to not using them, seems counter-productive during treatment and only appropriate when completely giving up on walking again. Three – since I had to constantly supervise my dog with the wheelchair, I figured that I might as well just exercise with him by using the harness, that way we would work different muscle groups and specifically concentrate on re-learning how to move legs instead of having them dangle out of the way. Another thing is that the whole “doggy wheelchair” idea is great, but all the designs I’ve seen are clunky and cheap Chinese metals, I could weld up a way better one in a few hours, but not going to for the reasons stated above. Not to mention that the way these wheelchairs strap on can only be comparable to a human running around with an office chair duct-taped to their back. Good luck learning to keep balance or walking like that even without an injury. So, long story short, I’m afraid that a wheelchair is not going to work for our situation : )
illusha
 
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Re: Paralyzed dog with bladder issues

Postby CarolC » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:52 pm

I don't know if you still have the quad cart around but you may get to a point where it is nice to have just as a "standing frame", something to get him in an upright position for a while with no expectation of walking necessarily. He may get to where standing is enough. Though I think you have another arrangement where he can stand under the tree without a cart, which looks really good. My senior large breed dog was 13 and had a quad cart and by the time he needed the quad, he really wasn't up to going far, he also had a 13-year old heart and kidneys, etc., but it made him smile just to be able to stand in a normal position on the back porch and feel the sun and breeze on his face. He was only 62 lbs, which is less than your dog, but I was not able to sling him as well as you seem to be able to, or I would have done as you have been doing.

You know, you are kind of working with 2 curves right now? There is the neurological healing curve and the natural aging curve, and he is living at the intersection of the two. If he was 11 when he was injured, then he must be 12 now, and that is approaching the lifespan for a standard poodle. But the thing is, to me anyway, it all matters. Every little bit he has got back this past year matters to him, it's a gift, every atom of improvement, even if he is not walking. I hope the clock won't run out on him before he walks, nobody knows the future, but right now I am sure that on some level he can feel the improvement trend in his being even if he is working against the clock.

At this point, if he is beginning to feel his age, he is aging loved and in good spirits, that is everything. To me, everything you have done, the therapy, the exercising, brainstorming for more ideas, selecting a cart and tweaking it and fixing it, the right sling, the right boots, giving him the time and care and companionship, the physical aspect of dealing with a 95 lb dog, many things you do not mention like cleanups and bed changes and laundry, and all the things that go with having a large down dog, it all matters.

I once heard a story of a pioneer family of 3 generations who got in a covered wagon and set out to go west. Halfway across the prairie one day, the grandmother sat down under a tree facing west and breathed her last. She didn't make it, but she was still looking west when she passed. And your dog is going to continue to do what is natural to him, recover a tiny bit at a time. He is happy trying even if the ultimate goal is not a guarantee, I don't think you'll ever regret that you set out on that journey together.

And if you asked him, it is possible he might say this has been one of the best years of his life, because of the time you guys have spent together. He is probably not thinking, "Boy I wish I could run around the yard", he is probably thinking "When is my buddy coming home and what will we do today?". :) It's just good. It's the definition of good.
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Re: Paralyzed dog with bladder issues

Postby illusha » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:14 pm

Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate your view of things and the way you articulate it. I didn’t think to think about that like that. I’ve never even had a dog of my own until this paralysis happened to my mom’s pup, so I’m kinda picking up things about animal care as I go, although it’s pretty straight forward. Except for the parts that are not. I know that the dog is aging and I’ve been just hoping that he’d be able to overcome that. Perhaps a foolish hope. But better than throwing hands up in the air and giving up completely.

You know, I’ve been completely perplexed as to why the dog seems so eager to go outside, but when he gets there, he just wants to stand, or tries to head back inside. What you said above changes my perspective. In fact, today was the first sunny day here in Oregon in a while, so when I took him out on lunch he looked so happy just standing in the warm sunshine with his tongue sticking out : ) And then we started walking around and he got tired pretty fast, wanting to go back home. Definitely not a young pup any more.

P.S. by the way, I went to a fabric store for the first time in my life, found out that canvas is not nearly as expensive as I initially thought, got some for roughly $2 per linear foot and made a new-and-improved version of the exercise stand that featured in my very first post. Way better than a redneck stretcher for standing around on the back deck : )
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