Marty is a survivor. His pet dad, Samuel, calls him his “little strongman” because when a ruptured disc in his spine led to paralysis, Marty refused to give up. The dog suffers from IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), but with Samuel’s support Marty worked for months to keep his paralyzed hind limbs as strong as possible. Now nearly one year later, the paralyzed dog learned to Spinal Walk.
Samuel put together a video to document how far his mighty pup has come. He hopes Marty will serve as an inspiration to pet owners facing a similar situation with their dog.
Little Marty’s video:
How spinal walking works
Spinal walking does not happen with every paralyzed pet, but it is a miraculous occurrence when a dog’s body is able to compensate in this way.
Here is how the process works:
Walking is hardwired into the spinal cord even when communication to the brain is severed. Some dogs with herniated discs and broken backs learn to use their reflexes to move. It happens when the brainstem kicks in with fundamental activity and the body is able to remap the pathway of movement to a dog’s limbs.
Dogs that master spinal walking often swing their legs underneath their body or kick their back legs out to get leverage while they do a type of jerky walk. They are good at walking in a straight line, but have difficulty changing direction because reflexes are coordinating the message instead of their brain.
Scooter’s story of spinal walking
Here’s another video we posted a couple of years ago about a dog named Scooter who was able to develop spinal walking skills. Scooter became paralyzed after he was hit by a car when he was a puppy.
Watch our video about Dog Breeds Prone To IVDD