Degenerative Myelopathy. When owners of dogs disabled by arthritis or by incurable nerve diseases such as Degenerative Myelopathy, common in large sporting breeds, euthanasia is often their last resort. Now, there is Help for Handicapped Pets. Eddie’s Wheels is a company that makes custom canine wheel chairs. In many cases the dogs are healthy with the exception that they are immobile. Custom-built wheelchairs restore mobility for dogs whose legs, hips or backs don’t work and many pet owners are giving the wheels a try. The two-wheel canine carts support the dog’s body with a padded saddle, and are secured with a shoulder yoke and chest strap. Rear-wheel carts that help to compensate for lame hind legs are the most common, although a growing number of front-wheel carts are being ordered for pets with disabilities affecting their front-legs.
Many pets, who once hobbled and were confined to their homes are now wheeling themselves all over the place; enjoying parks, going for walks, and barking about their newfound mobility. Pet owners today are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to keep their best 4-legged friends with them a little longer and wheels are one of many options available. The founders of Eddie’s Wheels built their first pet wheelchair in 1989 when their 10-year-old Doberman, named Buddha, lost the use of her hind legs because of disc disease and spinal arthritis. In 1998, they started their own business.
Canine wheel chair makers are becoming more common and can now be found in many states including Montana, Maryland, Oregon and Washington. The cost for custom wheels starts at about $250 and can exceed $500 based on the weight and size of the dog. Eddie’s Wheels ships globally. Their biggest cart went all the way to Great Britain, and was made for a 220-pound Saint Bernard. They’ve already made wheels for several cats, a ferret, alpacas, goats, sheep, a rabbit and a possum. They even keep a supply of tiny wheels on hand for gerbils and hamsters.
Many pets that once would have been irreversibly crippled are benefiting from a variety of veterinary medical advancements such as improved hip and joint replacements, better physical therapy, wheelchairs and natural vitamin supplements such as PAAWS, developed by veterinarian, Dr. Carol Osborne.
Degenerative Myelopathy is a neurological disease common in large breed dogs including German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Labradors. Corgis and Daschunds are more prone to developing disc and spine problems. The dogs don’t understand exactly what’s going on, but most only take a few minutes to start rolling and owners are pleasantly surprised.