Mobility accessories for animals
27th February 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend and we share some of our fondest memories with our furry pals. But while we may remain mobile, age or accidents can catch up with our beloved pets and leave them with limited mobility and at a certain disadvantage. As reward for many years of faithful companionship, owners are seeking alternatives methods, long used for humans, to aid their pets. Eddie’s wheels recognises the growing need for animal mobility accessories “for us, it's not enough to make an animal mobile. Our goal, at Eddie's Wheels, is to support animals in a healthy normal posture with a properly engineered cart that is balanced to meet the animal's overall bio-mechanics and (dis)abilities. Yesterday we saw a client whose 3-legged hind leg amputee labrador who has been in a cart for 5 years. This dog still goes bird-hunting every year. She's 13 years old and still extremely active, wearing out her tires every 6 months.”
Bubba the Bulldog
Bubba has been blessed with understanding owners. As the eight year old British Bulldog began to lose mobility in his hips and legs, stairs became an enormous barrier in his bid for independence. Thankfully his owners have built him a stairlift shaped and decorated like a bus that is fully driven by Bubba. This thoughtful owner also put a how to video on YouTube for others looking to help out their canine pals.
Katie the Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are known for poor joints and as Katie has got older, her legs and hips are not what they used to be. The main issue for poor Katie was getting up and down the porch stairs, but her owners came up with a nifty solution. A Dog Elevator had been installed on one side of their porch, allowing her access to both house and garden. Though this has to be operated by her humans, she seems happy to wait patiently in her customised lift.
For younger animals that have lost limbs or parts of limbs to accidents, sometimes prosthetics are the only way forward. Enormous leaps forward in technology have allowed many animals to regain mobility and avoid less pleasant alternatives.
Daisy the Brussels Griffon/Terrier mix
Daisy has had a lucky escape. Due to being born with dislocated joints, Daisy has been deformed since birth and this led to difficulties finding her a rescue home. The shelter were due to euthanize her, but thankfully a volunteer stepped in and offered her a forever home. Since then, Daisy has experimented with both wheel chairs and prosthetics, finding each useful in different situations. Daisy’s owner says “Although Daisy is able to walk without her prosthetic legs and her wheelchair, it requires a lot of energy, affects her posture, and is unable to walk on hard surface. The prosthetic legs and wheelchair help aid in her walk, each in its own unique way. The wheelchair comfortably supports her and she can walk for a much longer period of time without getting tired. The prosthetic legs allow her to be more versatile and walk on rigid surface, and actually use her front legs which helps build her muscle. Although Daisy has special needs, she has adapted so well and is like any other dog.”
Beauty the Bald Eagle
Unfortunately Beauty was wounded after encountering poachers who left her without an upper beak and thus unable to eat, drink or clean her feathers properly. Thanks to a network of volunteers, Beauty has since been fitted with a prosthetic beak that was created by engineers with a more permanent solution designed by Boeing. Bald Eagles can live up to forty years in captivity, and had Beauty been unable to feed herself, the outcome would have been far bleaker.
Oscar the Cat
Oscar was a normal cat that led an active life like any other - that was, until he had an encounter with a combine harvester and lost both hind paws to it. While many cats learn to live with a single missing limb, two missing paws proposes much more difficulty. After referrals with vet Noel Fitzpatrick, Oscar endured hours of novel surgery and came out with two bionic paws, as well as Two Guinness World Records and a video noting his success.
For many animals, a pair of wheels is all they need for a new lease of life. Accidents and birth defects happen to every species and people looking to make animal wheelchairs have had to be creative. From llamas to guinea pigs, animals of every shape and size have benefitted from a little engineering intuition. Lisa Murray from Walkin’ Pets knows that “pets are like family members. As such, older animals or disabled pets who may have mobility challenges deserve to be given the care they need to live long, healthy lives. There are many resources available to assist pets with mobility challenges that enable them to live full and happy lives. Most pet owners are thrilled to discover these resources so that they can spend additional years with their beloved pets.
Chris P Bacon the Pig
Despite the name, Chris P Bacon is the little piggy that could. Born without the use of his hind legs, this would be a short life for many animals, Chris P however had Dr Len Lucero looking out for him. The veterinary surgeon fashioned Chris P a pair of wheels to help him get around, though these will have to be modified as he grows. With a tail that still wags, it’s easy to see that Chris P’s is a tale of success. Len Lucero, Chis’ owner feel the wheels have given him a new lease of life: “since the addition of wheels to improve Chris P Bacon's mobility, we have provided him the ability to go far beyond his anatomical limits. He is now in fully mobile and able to roam the farm amongst the other animals. Being not only a pet, but a member of our family, Chris spends the majority of his time inside the house or he enjoys to cuddle and watch TV. He has been a blessing.”
Harry the Miniature Horse
Miniature horses often experience trouble with severe joint dystocia that leads to significant amounts of pain and limited mobility. Harry who resides at The Guide Horse Foundation, found himself in need of some mobility accessories. The people at Doggone Wheels came to his rescue, creating a quad wheelchair that alleviates much of the pain and allows Harry access to wherever he pleases in the park.
Butterscotch the Goat
Butterscotch was born without use of her hind limbs and both of her front limbs had contracted. This is a poor start for an animal that should have been gambolling about with all the agility a goat is famed for. The workers and volunteers at Kindred Spirits Sanctuary were not willing to let such issues get Butterscotch down, however, and instead they sought the help of Eddie’s Wheels to get Butterscotch back up on her feet.