The Affordable Alternative

Twenty-one years ago, when our dog became paralyzed due to IVDD, we were offered two options:  a $5000 surgery we couldn't afford or euthanasia.   Sadly, times have not changed much – in fact, with the availability of MRI's,  and specialized veterinary care, the cost of spinal surgeries seems to grow every year, while most middle class people are struggling to make ends meet.   It was only when we pressed our veterinarian for another alternative that she mentioned “conservative management” – i.e. crate rest, use of anti-inflammatories, and eventually a canine cart.

Every week we talk to dozens of people who have spent thousands of dollars on diagnostics,  MRI's and CAT scans, and  spinal surgeries, only to face having a paralyzed, often incontinent, pet.    Sadly, even the most skilled surgeons do not have a 100% success rate in restoring mobility in dogs with IVDD.   Some dogs, such as our Daisy, a dachsund with four herniated discs, are not even considered good  surgical candidates.

Dog owners are faced with difficult choices and it behooves veterinary professionals to inform their clients about all their options.  We routinely guide prospective customers to alternative care practitioners, such as veterinary acupuncturists (visit www.ahvma.org for a vet near you), canine rehab practitioners, and online support groups  such as www.dodgerslist.com  that offer advice about how to manage and care for a disabled pet.

Unless a veterinarian has had a positive experience of a dog using a canine cart, it may not ever occur to him to suggest a wheelchair for a paralyzed pet.

Jack disabled dog in canine cart

Jack had a $6000.00 surgery that left him paralyzed. He's been using his canine cart for over 4 years – a happy healthy dog on wheels.

Over the 14 years we've been doing this professionally, we've converted many veterinarians and rehab practitioners into seeing the benefit a canine cart can give a disabled pet.  First and foremost, we offer quality of LIFE – not just for the dog, but for the human family of caregivers who have to watch disabled pets struggle to move and walk on their own.   Most dogs adapt to using a cart joyfully and with ease – in our experience, if a dog is reluctant to use a cart, there's often a medical issue that 's being overlooked.

Some disabilities cannot be solved medically.  More than half our clientele are dogs with degenerative myelopathy, the canine equivalent of ALS, a progressive neurological disease that eventually is fatal.  However, dogs with DM can enjoy longer and happier lives using a cart to get around and go for walks.  Canine carts can also provide mobility for dogs with brain damage, such as cerebellar hypoplasia.  If families are looking for solutions to help their mobility challenged pets, a cart should be the first tool folks can use to give their animals independence and support healing.

The video below shows a 9 month old shihtzu who was brain damaged from anesthesia.  As a result she has no equilibrium and when placed on floor, cannot stand on her own.  When she came to see us, her front legs were contracted and her rear legs were weak and wobbly.  This is video shows her first walk in a front wheel cart with rear training wheels.  Everyone involved was astounded at her ability to walk again with the help of a cart.

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4 Responses to The Affordable Alternative

  1. Tianna November 11, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Eddie’s Wheels are the best! My dog woke up one morning three years ago unable to walk. A $10,000 spinal surgery, rehab, and three years later, he still can’t use his back legs, but he is happy and mobile with his cart. He runs miles with me and goes on hikes, and we have never had an issue with the cart. Great company!

  2. Barbara Techel November 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Excellent article, Leslie. Thank you for sharing the various resources to help our pets. And you are right so many can’t afford the surgery and then think there is no hope– but there is. Thank goodness for those trying to educate others like you and Dodgerslist. I continue to do my best as well, and talking with any pet owner facing this situation because it will be my forever passion to give others hope, because these pets can and do live quality lives. Thank you for all that you do!

  3. starlene January 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    where are you located what city / state. Could i get a phone no. ?

    • leslie January 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      We are in western Massachusetts, toll-free 1-888-211-2700