Can a pet fully recover from the use of a dog wheelchair?
There is no simple answer, it will always vary from pet to pet and depend on their condition and diagnosis. The wheelchair will benefit and support pets who are paralyzed, but will most likely not help them regain full use of their back legs. However, if a pet has had surgery and is using the wheelchair for rehabilitation purposes – then chances are high that the pet will recover to some capacity.
In the case of an incredible beagle named Wilson, not only was he able to walk with the help of his wheelchair, eventually he was able to fully support himself without a cart!
Wilson, a 12-year-old beagle, was discovered by his family one morning unable to move any of his limbs. Concerned about his health, they immediately took him to the vet. Upon evaluation, it was discovered that Wilson was paralyzed in all four legs and had a large mass on his chest. His family faced a tough decision, but they were determined to give Wilson the chance to live out his days surrounded by love and comfort. And most importantly, they knew the fight wasn’t over yet.
With Wilson’s family rallying around him, they decided his best option was to begin physical rehabilitation. The rehab team at Canine Strong recommended incorporating a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair into his treatment plan. Wilson used a full support wheelchair, with wheels in the front and back to support all four legs. The wheelchair would allow Wilson to enjoy those special moments with confidence, independence, and ease.
A Miracle Happens
With the assistance of his chair, Wilson was able to stand, and even began building up enough muscle to take a few assisted steps. However, after many rehab visits and practice in his new wheels, Wilson started showing major signs of improvement, and suddenly began to walk on his own without the support of his cart! This is rare to see in dogs with Wilson’s same diagnosis and considered nothing short of a miracle.
“I think the wheelchair really gave Wilson the freedom he wanted back, because he would improve each time he got into the cart – and now he is RUNNING. It not only improved his physical health, but it improved his mental as well, and that really is what started his progression into moving and running around. It is a night and day difference, I think the wheelchair saved his life.”
Renee DeSimone, CVT, CCRA and owner of Canine Strong
How to Determine the Best Solution for a Paralyzed Pet
When a pet’s back stop working, it can initially be a terrifying, intimidating, and overwhelming. Trying to understand what you do first can be a difficult decision. As a pet parent, wondering what the best solution or next steps for them may be is challenging. Your veterinarian plays a key role and can offer a lot of support. Your first step, is visit the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
To decide what’s right for your pet in the long run, it is important to keep calm and ask yourself two questions before diving deeper into the transition or making any final decisions:
1. Is my pet in pain?
If your pet is in pain, you should consult your veterinarian first on ways to manage it. Walkin’ Pets will not recommend a wheelchair to any animal experiencing discomfort – because they do not want to inflict further injury to the site. Managing your dog’s pain is a critical first step. Once the pain has been managed, a wheelchair can be the perfect solution to help get your pet back on its feet!
2. Is my pet happy?
The second question you should ask yourself is, does my pet have quality of life and are they happy? Your pet’s happiness can go hand-in-hand with pain – the more pain they are in, the less happy they may be. If your pet has a terminal illness and is experiencing lots of pain/discomfort, you may want to speak with your vet about alternative options before getting a wheelchair.
Many dogs with disabilities are happy, carefree, and resilient – they have no idea they are any different. The wheelchair can be a life-changing tool for a dog who has spent a lot of time down and/or are paralyzed.
In Wilson’s case, his family knew he was happy, he wasn’t in pain, and he had a lot of life left to live! Wilson and his family made the decision to keep on fighting with the help of veterinary professionals.
Every pet’s experience is unique, and there is no telling if a pet will fully recover with the aid of a wheelchair. A dog wheelchair is an invaluable tool that can offer rehabilitative support during the recovery process. A dog’s cart reduces the weight placed on a dog’s legs making it easier for them to walk and rebuild it’s strength. Additionally, a cart can help an injured pet who is struggling with balance or leg weakness.
Although, using a wheelchair does not guarantee that your dog will ever fully regain the use of it’s back legs, it can happen! Remember, every dog’s recovery is unique, and many paralyzed dogs go on to live happy, healthy lives in their wheelchairs. Your dog’s road to recovery will be their own. Your best friend will need your support and patience every step of the way.
If you have any questions about a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, please reach out to your vet, or contact our Customer Care Team at 888-253-0777.