Very long reply. Nappies were what I was going to suggest, too.
1) I am assuming that since she is happy, she is not in pain? Would you say she is pain free? Did the vet find any pain anywhere?
2) And I am assuming the diagnosis of deep pain negative is correct, because the vet says so? But I find it surprising she can stand if she is completely paralyzed in her hind legs. Perhaps she is transferring all her weight to her front feet like a little acrobat? When she stands (however briefly) does she appear to be putting any weight on her hind feet at all, or is it more of a balancing act? Or she has taught herself to be a spinal walker, and if she gets good at it she may not need the cart.
If either assumption is wrong, then my answer would be entirely different. But assuming she really is pain free and deep pain negative, then she can be a little diaper dog, and the wheelchair is a great idea.
I have an 8-lb dog and she dribbles 24/7. Her stools fall out randomly during the day. I cannot express her bladder because there is never anything in it. After I adopted her, I took her to the vet twice the first year to get an ultrasound of her bladder, because I wanted to be sure she really was fully empty all the time, and the tests confirmed it for my peace of mind, indeed she really was dribbling herself empty all day every day.
For a female dog you can either use
1) disposable baby nappies or
2) a diaper cover with a disposable bladder control pad (not a feminine hygiene pad, those are usually not absorbent enough), or
3) washable diapers that have built in absorbency if you can find some absorbent enough or change her often (this involves buying the most diapers and doing the most laundry).
My dog wears denim because she bounces on her bottom a lot and would quickly wear a hole in a disposable nappy.
If you use a disposable, you need to cut a hole for her tail, and make the hole large enough for the stools to drop out during the day. You do not want solid waste collecting in her diaper because it will be right there by her girl parts and she could get a urinary infection from fecal germs contaminating her female area. If you use a diaper cover, some of them have bigger tail holes than others, so I buy accordingly.
The denim diaper fastens with velcro. Inside it I put half of a bladder control pad. We use Poise or something similar. She only needs half a pad because she is small so I cut the pads in half. Here is our routine.
In the morning I feed her breakfast in her playpen. Then I hold her over the toilet and I pinch her bottom to encourage any stools to come out. They do come out by themselves anyway during the day, but if I do this, I can usually get her fairly empty and that means less falling on the floor or in her bed, etc. during the day. Since she is a dribbler, she will usually urinate a little in the process of pinching her bottom. So after that I dry her girl parts and wipe her little bottom. Then I put her diaper on.
She wears her diaper half the day (till late afternoon), then I repeat the routine (hold over toilet, pinch bottom to remove stools, wipe front to back, put on fresh diaper), and she wears that until bedtime.
At bedtime, I remove her diaper, take her to the toilet one more time (pinch and wipe) and put her in bed au naturel (bare bottom, no diaper). She sleeps in a playpen (you could do this with a crate, too, but she is 8 lbs and a playpen is easy). In the playpen is some absorbent cotton bedding and a tip proof water bowl. Spending part of the day without a diaper is good for her skin, and also a comfortable way to sleep. She is a good little groomer and she can reach everywhere when the diaper is off. Here are some tips that may help. If your spaniel is like my diaper dog, she has an open vulva (girl part) and wearing a diaper when she is not in her playpen protects her from dirt and germs on the floor.
If you use a truly absorbent pad like Poise, it will keep the moisture away from the skin because it has a gel lock core and a dry weave outer fabric. Nevertheless, I find you have to change her halfway through the day whether the pad is soaked or not. My dog just needs the fresh change to keep her skin healthy. So I am not sure how big the little spaniel is, but if she is maybe 15 lbs or under, your adopter will probably need to plan to use one maximum bladder control pad a day, cut in half, and budget for that.
If you start to notice any redness on her girl part with the diapering, the thing that has worked for us for several years is this. When I prepare her diaper, I lay the denim diaper cover flat on the counter, and press the 1/2 pad into it. I always wash my hands before I press the pad into the diaper because with her open vulva I do not want germs from my hands getting on her pad. Then I take a tube of triple antibiotic and squirt less than 1/2" onto the pad right where her girl part will be when the diaper is on. This is OK, because you are going to be wiping her (front to back) with every diaper change and at bedtime, so she will not be licking it. I keep a box of kleenex on the back of the toilet for this purpose (do not flush facial tissues, they will clog the pipes).
Another tip is, buy the number of diapers you need to make it from wash day to wash day. I machine wash and dry our diapers. Dolly uses 2 a day. I could probably reuse the morning denim diaper and press a fresh pad into it, but usually by the afternoon she has been out in the yard, etc, and it has grass stains and garden soil on it, and it just seems nicer to put a completely fresh garment on her, along with the fresh pad. I have 6 or 7 denim diapers in the clean doggy laundry stack so we never run out between washes. That way you are prepared if she gets one wet in the grass or whatever and you have to do an unexpected extra change.
If you can find diapers that you feel are perfect for her, I would stock up. I have found that when you want to go buy some new ones, they may not be carrying what you bought before and you have to buy something else that isn't as good. I've got a bunch of unopened ones in the closet after I found them on a close-out website and bought 2 cases, so I'd never have that problem again. They no longer make the ones she was wearing 9 years ago when I adopted her, but the ones we got are similar.
There is a way to diaper a female dog so the stools do not fall out, if you or the adopter feels that is the only way to go. It involves double diapering to both contain the waste but keep her female area sanitary. We had a nurse here who did that with her small female dog, let me know if you need the instructions and I will find them.
Hope this helps. Please be sure to post back if anything was unclear or with any ideas or questions.
Here is Maureen's dog, Sammy, in her diaper.
She has been seen by 3 vets and they all believe she is pain free and they all said she is deep pain negative.
She loves affection and loves to play with toys, she doesn't see herself as disabled. She can be a bit stressy at times and suffers a little from seperation anxiety, although this has calmed down so much already in the 4 weeks I've had her.
She has been to physiotherapy and they believe the standing and walking is a mix of nerves and reflexes ( although they still think there is a chance she can learn to walk) is this true?
Thank you for the diaper tips, they were really helpful. I am using washable ones but need to find a decent brand that fit her right.
She is getting her wheels at the end of the week so this will help her to get out and explore! She has a few pressure sores on her feet. Ive been using baby socks and tried balloon socks but find them really hard to put on and take off. Any tips in this area would be really appreciated.
Yes. There is a form of walking called spinal walking or reflex walking. Some dogs seem to figure it out themselves and some can learn it by physical therapy. It can even be done by dogs with no deep pain sensation.
https://lessonsfromaparalyzeddog.com/mi ... l-walking/
If your dog is learning to do this, she may not need the wheelchair. Here is an explanation of spinal walking from the Dachshund Diskbook
On the pressure sores on the feet, are they pressure sores or scrapes from dragging? If they are from dragging (like carpet burns, skinned toes, worn down claws from dragging, something like that) sometimes the best thing is just to crate her a few days and let them heal up on their own, then protect them when she starts walking again. You might want to ask the vet.Carts
Carts are made commercially or can be made at home to provide "mobility" for paralyzed dogs. Carts allow dogs to get up and participate in more household activities, but do not provide any form of physiotherapy. Owners who "abandon" their dogs to carts will probably never have a walking dog again. Carts have a place in the overall management of paralyzed dogs but can not be substituted for good nursing care and physiotherapy.
Occasionally a dog that has transverse malacia of its thoracolumbar spinal cord (no deep pain sensation) can learn to "walk" again using the crossed extensor reflex that may still exist in the hindlimbs. Without motor connections to the brain, this reflex is "released" and causes the involuntary motor movements that are frequently observed in the limbs. Through extensive physiotherapy, many of these dogs learn to swing their bodies to get their hindlimbs under them and allow the reflex walking movements to be effectual. This form of walking is called spinal walking and looks a bit "motorized" but serves the function well. Unfortunately many of these dogs are also permanently incontinent. Many owners lifestyles do not allow the time necessary to properly care for incontinent dogs. As a result many of these dogs are euthanized rather than allowed the time to see if they can develop spinal walking abilities.
I like vetwrap to protect feet, but I don't think I would put it on her feet if they are scraped up because you probably want good circulation during healing. Vetwrap is that stretchy ace bandage stuff that is self-adhesive and comes in many colors. You may have seen it on your pet after they had a blood draw, to hold a cotton ball in place. They sell it at the vet or Petsmart, and it comes in different widths. I saw a generic brand at 99¢ Only this week, it didn't say how many yards was in it but it looked like regular vetwrap.
When they are healed, the way I like to do vetwrap is to cut a short strip and then wrap it around the foot with almost no stretch at all, just kind of loop it gently around. Then when you have it around the foot in 2 or 3 layers, just squeeze her whole paw in your hand. The vetwrap will gum onto itself and form a little custom fitted bootie the size and shape of her foot, and you do not risk cutting off her circulation as you could if you stretch it while applying it. If you use it, you want to be sure it stays dry, and especially that it does not get urine on it.
You could also wrap it around her ankles to keep the baby socks on better.
Here is a picture of Johanna's feet which had abrasions from dragging, this is kind of what I'm imagining when you describe it, I could be wrong.