Dog Wheelchairs for Dogs with Intervertebral Disk Disease

We received this email from one of our customers:

Leslie and staff:

I saw your clip on NECN.  I myself ordered my dog, Hobie’s, wheelchair from you.    Back in November 2008 Hobie ruptured a disk in his back being the dachshund that he is, and although he did go for surgery it did not work.  Being the huge animal lover myself I don’t think this could have happened to a better fit.  I never once thought of putting Hobie down.  I was told by the neurologist who did the surgery that if it did not work he would just become a “cart” dog as they called them.  My first question was Hobie’s quality of life.  If anything Hobie’s quality of life has improved over the years.He is a seasonal camper in the summer and if you ever saw him wheeling around that campground.  Brings a smile to everyone’s face.  I get the few people saying “poor thing” and I just chuckle to myself.  Poor thing?  Does a poor thing look that happy.He is the light in our household every day.  My children adore him as does everyone else who comes across his loving personality.Thank you Eddie’s wheels for making the life Hobie and my family have today.  Priceless.

Monica Gaudet

Paralysis due to “slipped disks”  is one the most common reasons people get dog wheelchairs.   Long-backed dogs such as dachshunds, basset hounds,  and corgis, and other dogs with a pre-disposition to calcified discs – such as beagle, pitbulls and cocker spaniels , can become paralyzed when disks herniate or rupture.  Eddie’s first dog wheelchair for his Doberman, Buddha, was due to paralysis from a herniated disc at thoracic-lumbar  junction.   Often this paralysis comes on with little or no warning.  The traditional approach is to treat with anti-inflammatories, crate rest, and if the disk has ruptured and the dog is in pain, to do emergency surgery.

We were fortunate that Buddha was not in any pain – she  just woke up paralyzed in the hind legs.  X-rays revealed spondylosis and a suspicious disk – this was in 1990 when there were no MRI’s for canines available.  We were advised that a surgery at Tufts could be performed – but it was not within our financial means at that time.   The design of Buddha’s wheelchair was based on the premise that her tender spinal column needed to be supported in such a way as to do no harm, and to promote rehabilitation.  The welded saddle supported her on her pelvic floor, and the yoke resting on her scapula met with our veterinarian’s approval.   After using the cart for less than 5 months, she starting walking again on her own, and did so for the remaining 3 years of her life.

We adopted Daisy, a 6 year old dachshund with four herniated disks in 2001.  She had been judged to not be a surgical candidate, and although she had spastic reflexes , this was not a classic deep pain withdrawal reflex.  We were told that rehab was hopeless.  However, after 2 months of using her wheels, she took her feet off her stirrups and refused to keep them off the ground.  Unable to keep up with her rear legs as fast her front legs carried her (she was a dachsund and had only one speed – run), she would push off with her rear legs and then hold them off the ground while she sped around.  We worked to get her gait under control by walking up hills, which was easy living here in the Berkshires – our property had gentle slopes that inspired her to make use of her rear legs for traction.   After a year, she was using her wheels like a walker, confusing everyone who saw looking like a normal dog walking in her cart.    Daisy inspired  thousands who met her over the next decade – representing us at numerous veterinary conferences and symposiums.

We have come to expect dogs with disk disease to improve over time with the use of our wheelchairs.  Over the past decade we have worked with dozens of animal rehab practitioners who agree that a dog wheelchair is an invaluable tool for rehabilitating disk dogs. Walking in a wheelchair keeps their front legs and core muscles strong.

However, not all dog wheelchairs support dogs the way Eddie’s Wheels carts do.  We met Nutmeg, a dachshund who had disc surgery a year ago and didn’t even recognize that she was a dachshund when she showed up here in a pvc-frame “dogs-to-go” cart that hiked up her rear end so high that I thought she was some kind of fox terrier.  It took only a few minutes in one of Daisy’s old carts for her back to flatten out and her posture to be restored to that of a dachsund.

Nutmeg, a dachshund, a pvc cart.

Nutmeg in her pvc dogs-to-go cart couldn't reach the ground with her rear legs.

Nutmeg, a dachs, in an Eddie's Wheels

Nutmeg in an Eddie's Wheels looks like a dachshund again.

Many of our clients have had surgery to relieve acute pain, and come out of surgery stable, but paralyzed.  A cart restores their quality of life, allowing them to go for walks again and participate in all the normal dog pleasures.  Daisy lived to be 16 years old, passing from a sudden stroke in January 2011.  Here is Cordel, a typical dachshund, trying out his wheels for the first time.


19 Responses to Dog Wheelchairs for Dogs with Intervertebral Disk Disease

  1. Damaris February 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    My dog Cookie(Shih-Tzu)has the same disease as Harley and Buddha. for some reason Cookie woke up the next morning and she gets up moves one paw and…..plop on the floor,couldn’t move her hind was very sad for us and the vet said she cold probably be paralyzed. the doctor gave her medications and steroids to get the pain away.its kind of gone and she walks a little funny :P LOL! but i felt she needed a wheelchair. but since i cant tell my parents”Mom,Dad get cookie a wheelchair,”because they will flip out on me. i hope your pets feel much better!

  2. elizabeth whitmer (betsy) February 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    My corgi, Forrest, had surgery 2yr ago for a herniated disk. He is paralyzed again, and the vet prescribed the rest, steroids, pain killer route (mainly because I cannot afford the MRI & surgery route).

    We do large dog rescue work (labs, dobes & danes) and little Forrest is an exceptional trooper. A neighbor’s corgi had a cart of yours and recommended it.

    Can you send me the measurement/procedure and estimated price, for Forrest?

  3. leslie February 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Complete instructions for measuring and ordering can be found on the Order a Cart page on the menu above. Corgi carts usually are $335.00 plus $45.00 for stirrups. Shipping is usually around $40.00.

    • Patrick March 8, 2011 at 3:23 am #

      I have a 13 yr old corgi, Bentley, he has been paralyzed for the last several months. We’ve been unable to afford the MRI and optional surgery, and have been told it is not surgery to put the dog through at his age anyway, especially with no gaurentee.

      I would like to get a cart for Bentley to help him get around and still enjoy our family, etc.

      Any suggestions/comments, please let me know.

  4. leslie March 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    We’d love to help Bentley – corgis usually take right off when offered a set of our wheels. To order a cart ,take his measurements according to the chart and instructions on the order page. If you want to call your order in, use our toll-free number – 888-211-2700.

  5. brenda May 14, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    I have a 12 year old saluki that was diagnosed with herniated discs. She is paralyzed in her front legs. I was wondering how you would make a cart for her as she still has her front legs but they are permanently straight. Please advise me if this is a doable situation for one of your carts. Thank you in advance.

    • leslie May 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      If her legs do not move at the shoulder, it would be difficult to make a cart work for her. Have you tried rehab and acupuncture? Is there a surgical solution?

  6. Nina December 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I have a Maltese and Pug mix. My little Matlipug, her name is baby, she is only 2 years old and has herniated a disk. She is paralyzed in her hind legs. They offered us the surgery but it is way beyond my means to pay for. She just went back for her check up and we have been told that she will more than likely be paralyzed for the rest of her life. She has no deep pain. No feeling in her paws or the lower part of her back and the vet said she wont regain it either. I would love to put baby in one of these since they want her in a wheelchair anyways, but I cant afford to pay that much with all the money that has been spent on her medical bills and medicines. Is there a different way to get this chair, possibly for a cheaper price?

    • leslie December 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      We do have used carts in stock and if, by chance, one of them is the right size for your dog, we can sell it to you for a reduced price. Take your dog’s measurements and call us at 1-888-211-2700 with your information. We’ll see what we can do.

      • tina stathis June 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

        I have a corgie that I need a cart for. Do you have any carts available on loan or for purchase.

        Thank you.

        • leslie June 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

          We build lots of carts for corgis – all are custombuilt, so measure him according to the order form and we’ll be happy to build him one.

  7. jimbo February 13, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    hello all i have a basset hound named harley who threw his back out trying to mount our pitbull, inside the doghouse one cold night.I shoul dmention that he is over ten years old well at first he was in pain and now he is just normal and drags his legs around, he can move thwnm and wag his tail so i dont think he is hopeless and i was hoping some of you who have experience can tell me what you think based on what ive said. And i reall need to assure my wife and kids that he can improve i mean he can stand up for a few moments when i help him he just doesnt have the control to bring them up for really hoping that theres hope since my wife has mentioned putting him down after one night of carrying him out to pee three times wich i did not her.Also i was hoping i could afford some wheels because i think he i s the perfect candidate for them i just dont have that kind of m oney or id have him surgery or more but right now he has just had predisdone and he doenst need pain meds.I also do nt keep him in a crate just on his dog bed cus he will just stay put and whine if he needs to go out and do far i just help him walk until he finds a place to squat, now number 2 is a diff. story he hasnt done it in two day since the incident , i been giving him stool softener and soft food very little,any advice i could get on any of this would be greatly appreciated this dog is 79 pounds and very long but he is happy and hes been my service dog for 10 years, i have a sezuire disorder and i take him with me every where i go until now…

    • leslie February 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

      HI Jim,
      He is a perfect candidate for a cart, so I would suggest that you measure him for a cart. If we happen to have a used cart in stock that we can recycle for him, we’ll do it for a price you can afford. Call me at 1 888-211-2700 for some ideas about organizations that might be able to fund a new wheelchair for your therapy dog.

  8. fiona March 13, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    My dog has a hernaited, disc , it happened about a month ago, how long should I wait before getting a wheelchair?

    • leslie March 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

      The common wisdom is to wait a month to six weeks for the spine to stabilize and the inflammation around the lesion to subside. It takes 2 weeks for us to build a cart, so it’s ok to start the ordering process at this point.

  9. Caitlyn August 4, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    My 14lb dachshund Tank has a lumbar disc problem. One day he slowly started having trouble walking then he was having a very hard time standing up. His hind legs were shaky and everything. I took him to the vet and the gave him a shot of Cortisone and some pain meds. If it came down to him needing a wheelchair, what would roughly be the price? Thank you!

    • leslie August 7, 2013 at 9:15 am #

      The price list is under the carts menu. Depending on his weight, it would start at $325.00

  10. Ashley December 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    I have an eight year old yorkie named max he was recently diagnosed with a herniated disc in the middle of his back he tries to walk so I know he is not paralyzed he is strong in his back legs but walks only on his knees of his front legs and can only take a few steps before he falls is a cart an option for max the vet has given me anti inflammatory pills and the only other option she has given is surgery and I cannot afford 3-5 thousand dollars at this time please help…

    • Leslie January 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      We can make him a front wheel walker if that is the right option for him..What we need is to have a conversation with you and your veterinarian to determine what kind of cart will best address his disabilities. Then we’ll need all the measurements (A-K) for a front wheel or quad cart. Call us at 1-888-211-2700 to get the ball rolling.

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