Have you heard the term “spinal walking or “spinal reflex walking”? The phenomenon happens to a small number of dogs (and cats) that are paralyzed after a spinal cord injury. These animals are able to use their reflexes to move even though their limbs no longer communicate with their brain.
Jennifer Garrison was researching the crazy phenomenon of Spinal Walking for her paralyzed puppy Scooter when she came across an article on Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog. She and her husband adopted Scooter after he was hit by a car and left with a severed spine. Since joining the Garrison family, the little dog’s gained the ability to walk short distances even though he has no feeling in his hind legs. His neurologist attributes this miracle to spinal walking. Jennifer agreed to share Scooter’s story so other pet families can learn about this rare occurrence.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt(Animal Physio), CAFCI, CCRT. If you aren’t familiar with her name, the long list of credentials that follow it should give you a hint that Laurie Edge-Hughes is one of the leaders in her field of canine physical therapy.
After earning a degree in human physical therapy in 1993, Laurie realized she had a special interest in working with animals. She completed courses offered by the Canadian Horse and Animal Physical Therapists Association, which was the only form of animal PT education available at the time and then opened Four Leg Rehabilitation Therapy in Canada. It was the first rehab clinic for dogs. Her goal was to fill the gap between the level of care given to large animals and the type of treatment available for small companion animals.
Laurie also developed the first course in canine physical therapy in North America so other professionals could learn canine physical therapy. Today, she’s still at the forefront of the field teaching students and speaking at symposiums around the world.
If you’re the pet parent of a paralyzed dog, you know that most pups with spinal cord problems are usually incontinent as well. Most of us get used to this idea and get on with life. We learn to express our dog’s bladder or keep them dry in a dog diaper. But even with a strict bathroom schedule, accidents happen. And many of those accidents happen during night while your dog is sound asleep.
Well, I found the best bed for incontinent pups. It’s designed to catch urine, keep your dog dry and let them get the rest they (and you) deserve.
I’ve written a lot about using a harness, dog wheelchair, cart and stroller to move a dog with a spinal condition or injury from one point to another. But no matter how many devices you have there will be times when you have to manually lift or carry your dog.
When those times happen pet owners need to know the Dos and Don’ts of lifting so you can protect your dog’s spine. Learning the right way to lift a dog who suffers from arthritis, IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), Degenerative Myelopathy, FCE strokes and other forms of paralysis will prevent further injuries.