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best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

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best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby whitedog192 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:42 pm

My 80 pound 3-legged dog (front right leg is a stub) has recently developed weakness in back legs. She's done really well on 3 legs, but now that her back legs are getting weak, I am considering a cart. We live in the country on hilly, rough terrain. Does anyone specifically know the best company to order a cart from? It's hard to know, as every company claims to be the best. I need something that will actually work for a dog that lives in rugged terrain. Thanks
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby CarolC » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:35 pm

I am not a wheelchair expert but why not look at some of the videos done by wheelchair makers and see what kind of terrain they can handle? You can search youtube by keywords "dog wheelchair".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsijVY9HPc4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urVKddFwEo8

I would personally avoid the Dwanecart, http://www.dwanecart.com, it looks good but the only video I saw of it, the cart tipped over on a mowed lawn with almost no provocation. The wheels were nice and big for a smooth ride but they were not wide enough apart for stability...tall dog, narrow wheel spacing, slow turn, splat!

What sort of condition is making your dog lose mobility in the rear?

:banner:
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby whitedog192 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:55 pm

Thanks for your input. Any insight is helpful at this point. We're not sure what's going on with her rear legs. She's had weakness off and on with the right back for several months, (probably due to a muscle strain/tear as it seems to repair itself). But almost overnight the left back has gone from perfect to wobbly. Her front leg amputation was due to osteosarcoma, but she's always been strong as an ox apart from that, (1.5 years now). It is possible the cancer spread to her lower spine/affecting the nerves in the legs...but that's worse case scenario. Her blood work is clean, her lungs clean, so we're hoping this is just a freak muscle injury (like the right back was) from the strain of the missing front leg. Thanks again.
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby Bobbie » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:58 pm

The only way a rear-wheel cart will work is if it is seriously counterbalanced, for which I'd go to Eddie's wheels. However, if you need four wheels, there are more options. How strong is your dog's remaining front leg? Can a dog hop and pull a cart? Sounds tricky- you might want the four-wheel cart. But I'd call a few of the cart companies and ask what they'd recommend, and then weigh your options.
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby whitedog192 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:21 pm

The remaining front leg is strong. One company recommended the 4-wheel cart, another company thought maybe a rear-wheel cart with halter might work. I'm thinking a 4 wheel cart might be a good option if the front wheel extension is removable...the removable front wheel option is appealing just in case one way works better than the other. (I guess it's difficult to know what would work best without knowing what worked for a very similar case.) Also I've noticed the wheels on the front of the 4-wheel carts are awfully small, (seem better for sidewalk or pavement use rather than grass or hilly terrain).

The problem with a lot of these companies is that they consider a 4-wheel cart to be a "custom" cart, so that there is NO return policy on "custom-made" carts, (whether it works for my dog or not). Difficult to lay out $700 + for something that can't be returned (!) This is the policy with this site & with K-9 Carts West, (who build the quad carts for this site) and also with Eddies. Doggone wheels does have a 30-day return policy, so they might be a possibility. And the do have removable front wheel extensions in addition to having ready-made quad carts. And their front wheels look a little bit bigger than on some of the other sites. Maybe I should just try to build my own (?)
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby CarolC » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:28 am

My golden retriever (not an amputee) tried both the Eddie's and Doggon' quad cart. I liked the Doggon' better, it seemed springier and more maneuverable, but we were on carpet and a non-bumpy lawn. Quad carts do not provide a lot of freedom. You might think a quad cart would be like a baby walker, one of those round contraptions that babies can "walk" around the room in, but babies do better in their round walkers than my dog did in either quad cart he tried. I was told this would be the case by the manufacturer beforehand, they did not try to misrepresent what kind of freedom or mobility the quad cart would provide. Eddie's can put a tow handle on their quad cart so you can pull your dog. If you are concerned about the terrain, all the wheels on the Eddie's quad cart we tried were big and the Eddie's cart is very solid and sturdy. There is a loop over the top of the Doggon' but it mainly works for steering the dog through the doorway, not pulling him on a walk.

My dog was old but his front legs still worked and he could barely go anywhere in his quad cart without help (a little in the Doggon', basically not at all in the Eddie's without assistance) so I don't know whether a dog with only 1 front leg would do much better trying to get one to move. Not trying to be negative, just explain how it worked for my dog. I am concerned that with only 1 front leg, she might be able to get around a little in a 2-wheel cart but if she steps on a sticker or in a hole, she may wipe out. Big dogs usually cannot lie down in a cart, so if she goes down, it will be an awkward fall.

It appears on their website that the Doggon' front extension cart is not available right now?

If the companies do not take returns, you can sell the cart when you no longer need it (save the shipping box). It will probably take longer to sell a quad cart than a 2-wheel cart or counterbalanced, but both Eddie's and Doggon' will help you resell their carts. There are many more people in need of secondhand carts than there are carts to go around. The HandicappedPets website has a classified section where you can sell a cart you no longer need.

Bobbie probably has 50 times (or more) the experience I have, I have only put one chihuahua and one senior golden in a cart. Good luck!
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby Bobbie » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:01 am

The front-extension cart is listed on Doggon

http://doggon.com/dog_wheelchairs_front_extension.html

I didn't see it not being available? I'd probably try that one as its wheels are the only ones that possibly work on rough ground. But its six of one, half a dozen of the other, as Eddie's has better counterbalance (if you don't end up needing the front wheels) and Doggon has better front wheels if you do! As Doggon's regular carts have a fairly good return policy (compared to none on Eddie's) you could try their regular cart and if it was counterbalanced enough, keep it, if not, decide on front wheels or switch to Eddie's (depending on what you think is needed.) You could get someone to make wheels for the Eddie's that had more swivel- but the truth is I don't think that if you go to front wheels your dog will be able to do much more than grass.

What kind of dog is she?
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"Corgis on Wheels: Understanding and Caring for the Special Needs of Corgis with Degenerative Myelopathy or DIsk Disease available now!
http://www.corgiaid.org/cart/corgisonwheels
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby nbregger » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:42 am

I know we talked on the phone but I truly believe your only option is the Quad cart. Whoever you purchase the cart from, keep the measures so if you ever need to sell the cart it will be easier to determine if it will fit another dog. :wink:
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby whitedog192 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:05 pm

Thanks CarolC. Exactly what I do need right now is real-person-testimonials like yours, (and the truth is a positive not a negative in my view, so that I can make the best decision possible). I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about how cumbersome those quad carts look, and wondering about actual mobility. I also was thinking about those baby walkers that you mentioned and wondering if a quad cart would work at all like that. So you've given me some good answers on both counts...apparently the quad carts are not very mobile, and they may even be a bit of a hazard for a big dog in the case of a tumble. I need this kind of info. Thank you very much for telling me how it worked with your big dog- helpful.

And thanks, Bobbie, for your insights on Eddies & Doggone. I'm not quite sure what "counter-balanced" actually means in regard to dog carts. What about Eddies makes them more "counter-balanced" than other carts? I'm in the dark on this. I had first looked at Eddies just because their front wheel carts didn't seem as bulky/cumbersome as other front-wheel carts... I had looked at those before my dog's back legs started going weak, though...(now, as you know, I'm looking at the rear w/front extension or quad carts.) I got kind of put-off by Eddies: I had e-mailed them several times back and forth with questions, and the gal asked me if I'd like references from real customers since they didn't have a return policy. I wrote back, "yes, that would be very helpful," and then the next e-mail I got was from the gal's supervisor I suppose, telling me that I probably wasn't a good match for their company, as I had too many questions, (which she interpreted as "doubt"). It was very bizarre/rude. (Who would spend over $700.00 on an item with no return policy without first asking questions? strange). My husband and I figured they just weren't very confident their cart would help a 3-legged dog. She's a Chesapeake, 10 years old next Thursday.
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby whitedog192 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:15 pm

Thanks, Nbregger. So what is your thought on why a quad cart would be better than a rear cart with front wheel extensions? My worry about a huge quad cart is due to the way my 3-legged dog moves: to move, she first hops on the one front leg; while her body is in the air, she quickly moves her right and then back leg forward, before she then starts over with the front leg hop. I am concerned she will not be able to make the front leg hop, (which is key to her mobility) if she is weighed down with a huge quad cart. How will she propel herself forward with all that equipment strapped to her?
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby nbregger » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:38 pm

With a Quad Cart she will be able to use all three legs. A front wheel extension turns a rear wheel cart into a quad cart to my best understanding which means you would have to pay for both. I think it would be best for you to talk to each Manufacturer about the different issues. I just didn't want you to buy a rear wheel cart and find out your dog didn't have enough front leg support.
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby CarolC » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:19 pm

Bobbie wrote:The front-extension cart is listed on Doggon

http://doggon.com/dog_wheelchairs_front_extension.html

I didn't see it not being available?


You are right, regretable error on my part, I was looking at text for the front support cart which is not under consideration, I am really sorry. :mybad:

whitedog192 wrote:apparently the quad carts are not very mobile, and they may even be a bit of a hazard for a big dog in the case of a tumble.


I'd consider them a very safe and secure option in case of a tumble. The dog is fully supported with support under both the abdomen and chest. Eddie's even makes a chin rest so the dog can really relax. If your dog tripped or got a sticker, she would not fall in a quad, it would hold her up.

This page explains a counterbalanced cart. It has a lot of advantages, but from what I remember, you have to put the dog in the 2-wheel cart, then attach the counterbalance training wheels to the front as a second step if needed (they make it as simple as possible). The optional front training wheels do not pivot if I recall correctly, whereas with an Eddie's quad you get big front wheels and they turn. With the Eddies counterbalance cart, you are going to need to put the hind feet through the saddle in the first step, which involves lifting the hindquarters a little. With the Eddie's quad you will be dropping the whole dog into the cart from the top, all 4 legs.

http://www.eddieswheels.com/DM.html

The Doggon' quad is different, there are 2 harnesses that go on the dog, one on the front legs and one on the rear. The harnesses clip to the cart frame. If you put the chest harness on, roll the frame over the dog, fasten the clips, then she will have good front support while you raise her hindquarters and clip the rear harness to the cart. It is less lifting for you if that is a consideration.
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby whitedog192 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:52 pm

So, what would you get for your dog if you were in my situation?
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby Bobbie » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:10 pm

Counterbalanced just means the dog's rear end weight sits behind the wheel, not in front of it or on it, and thus helps by lifting the weight off the front end. You don't need front wheels, just a front support band which allows the weight of the tush to lever up the front a little. It takes a lot of weight (Eddie's says 1/3) off the front.

It's correct the Eddie's front wheels have to be put on after the dog is in the cart, and they don't swivel. Not an option for your dog. If you were close enough to someone who had the right size counterbalanced Eddie's cart to try it, though, I would.

Doggon's full quad is not all that different from their front-extension. (Eddie's is, it is meant for quadriplegic dogs.) Doggon has a couple of things- one, the soft saddle tends to be nice for dogs still using their legs a lot. Your dog might be okay using back legs if partially supported. Adding the front extension later does cost just as much as getting it in the first place or getting a quad cart, but it allows you to return the cart for a significant refund if it doesn't fit. The downside on Doggon is that they have less of a counterbalance so it is more likely your dog WOULD need front wheels. What the counterbalance would do for a three-legged dog is move the weight behind the wheel so your dog could still hop in front. I have no idea if that would work well, though, and wouldn't want to buy a cart without some kind of guarantee.

So the short answer is, I don't know what I'd do. Eddie's with a full counterbalance MIGHT work, though, and you might find one of those used. You could always resell it if it didn't work.

I should mention that if you go full quad, I'd also look at K9 carts (either company.) Their front wheels are nice- not all-terrain, but closer to it than Eddie's and easy to use. For example this front-extension cart looks pretty good.

http://www.k9-cart.com/Pet-Wheelchairs/ ... e.tpl.html
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Re: best all-terrain cart for large front leg amputee

Postby critters » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:52 pm

Best Friends got Soldier, a front tripod, a quad cart, but I don't remember who made it or how all-terrain it was.
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