Here are two good news stories about amazing handicapped pets to ring in Spring 2017. I have to admit that I am happy to say goodbye to winter. I am also ready for some good news and hopefully you are as well. [Read more…]
There was some exciting news in the world of paraplegic pets this week when the winners of the 2017 Paralyzed Pet Calendar Contest were named. Twelve dogs in wheelchairs and one disabled lamb made were awarded the prestigious title of calendar girls and calendar boys.
The popular contest is sponsored by HandicappedPets.com. Information about purchasing the 2017 calendar will be released soon.
If you aren’t already familiar with HandicappedPets.com, the company was founded in 2001 to support the caretakers of senior, injured and disabled pets. They offer a wide variety of products that make daily life better for pets with paralysis and other special needs.
Congratulations to all of the winners from Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog!
I am proud to say that Sophie had only two major Urinary Tract Infections during the 5 years she was paralyzed. UTI’s are very common in disabled pets, but they can be kept to a minimum if you as their caregiver learn some key points.
The first time Sophie had a UTI I missed ALL of the warning signs and she ended up suffering a severe infection. The first sign I missed happened when I tried to express her bladder. I found the process more difficult than usual, as if her body was fighting me. It also seemed like the urine was more concentrated in both color and smell, but I chalked it up to her deteriorating condition. Finally one day when I took her to the lawn to express her bladder, a mixture of urine and blood came pouring out and I knew we were in big trouble.
Sophie had to go on some pretty potent antibiotics for a month to clear up the infection. The veterinarian gave me these warning signs to prevent another episode:
- Keep your dog on a strict bathroom schedule. Our schedule was to take Sophie out three to four times a day: before breakfast, midday, after dinner and before bed.
- Learn how to express your dog’s bladder. Some paralyzed dogs leak urine or dribble and others, like Sophie, are unable to urinate altogether. Expressing their bladder will help in all cases.
- Make sure your dog’s bladder is completely EMPTY. This is one of the major causes of infections because small quantities of urine collect in the bladder and bacteria forms.
- Watch for a change in the smell of the urine. A strong ammonia smell could spell trouble.
- Watch for a change in the color of the urine. Bright yellow points to a dehydrated dog and dark urine could indicate an infection or blood in the urine.
- Be on the lookout for any discomfort your dog shows while being expressed. While Sophie didn’t have any sensation of pain, her body certainly sensed the infection and was protecting itself by resisting me when I pressed on her belly.
Paralyzed pets are also prone to urine scald on their skin. This happens when urine hits the sensitive skin on their lower bellies due to a bladder that overflowed or because of constant dribbling. Keeping that skin clean and dry with a soft towel will prevent the condition.
Learning how to express a dog’s bladder can be tricky, but it is a necessary skill. The basic tip is to find a bump that feels a lot like a furry tennis ball and then press on the sides of that bulge. Sophie and I used a standing up method, but there are many types of techniques available. Don’t give up hope if it takes a while to master and please enlist the help of your veterinarian.
Let me start out by saying that this “wordy” Wordless Wednesday story shouldn’t be read by anyone with a weak stomach or anyone who has never changed a diaper. This story deals with doggie poop! As you’ve probably (hopefully) read in earlier Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog stories, when our dog Sophie became paralyzed she also became incontinent. At first, her bladder leaked so Ken (husband) and I used doggie diapers. Later in Sophie’s disease, her body went in almost the opposite direction turning her muscles to concrete. That’s when we threw out the diapers and learned how to push on her bladder to express it. Even our veterinarian was perplexed by the restrictive nature of her bladder. I remember being told that most paralyzed dogs had weak muscles and that is why they leaked urine. [Read more…]