Meet Mr. Belvidere, our April 2017 Pet of the Month. Mr. B began to see us in the fall of 2016, when we started to see him for rehabilitation therapy for his hind limb weakness and measured him for an Eddie’s Wheels rear end wheelchair. Based on Mr. B’s symptoms, degenerative myelopathy (DM) is highly suspected; however, it has not been officially diagnosed.
The cart has really helped Mr. B keep up with his family. They are very active with their dogs, and enjoy going on long hikes in the woods. While he is not completely weight bearing in the cart, he kicks both hind limbs. He is quite the character, and enjoys playing Frisbee. Even in his cart, his Frisbee play is still possible with a few modifications to the game.
DM is often suspected when the dog begins to show neurologic deficits in one or both the hind limbs. As the disease progresses, neurologic symptoms can progress to the fore limbs. As a result, planning ahead with the initial wheelchair design can be important in order to be able to add “training wheels” up front.
While there is no cure for DM, rehabilitation therapies assist patients in numerous ways. Strengthening the fore limbs and core musculature is our primary focus, while trying to maintain muscle mass in the hind limbs. Acupuncture can also be beneficial in many pets to help improve nerve signaling and help mobility. Assistive devices such as wheelchairs, Help ‘Em Up Harnesses, ramps and others can help the family with their pet’s mobility and maintain a good quality of life.