Resources for Dogs with DM
Dragging or Knuckling
Many owners find booties or some type of paw protection to help throughout the disease. This is especially important as the dogs drag their feet which files the nails down and can cause bleeding and infection. With knuckling, sores can begin to develop on their feet. A few booties recommended by us or other owners include:
Walking or Standing
As the disease progresses, many dogs will need assistance standing and walking. For Bubba, we used a variety of these resources at various stages or just depending on how he was feeling that day.
Anti-slip pads, along with Booties, can help on hardwood floors or other slippery surfaces. As the disease progressed, booties seemed to trip Bubba and make it harder to walk so we moved to anti-slip pads indoors. We tried many varieties but what worked best for us was using the paw adhesive from the PAW Friction kit to glue on VALFRID Dog Paw Protector Anti-Slip Grips. Without the adhesive, the grips alone seemed only last a few hours.
Harnesses can help lift dogs by their shoulders and hips to not put pressure on any one area of the body. Bubba wasn't a fan of the harnesses so thankfully my husband and I were able to lift and carry him. However, many other DM dog owners have found the Help-em-up harness or other types of slings to be most helpful.
Wheelchairs can help dogs continue to exercise and stay mobile even when their hind legs are immobilized. There are many different types of wheelchairs such as Walkin' Wheels and K9 Carts, but, caution, these wheelchairs can be expensive! Luckily, there are several nonprofit or community organizations out there to help. Bubba is Tyson's Wonder Wheel's #474 wheelchair donation! Below are a list of a few places that will help with cost either through direct financial help or through a wheelchair loan program.
- Tyson’s Wonder Wheels
- Gunnar’s Wheels
- Joey’s Paw
- Corgi’s Aid (Corgi specific)
- Wheels to Help Me (DM Specific)
- Bandit’s Band-aid
Rehabilitation and Therapy
Let us first state, there is very little research or data on the effectiveness of various therapies and their success treating DM. Once the diagnoses is given, the focus shifts to strengthening the existing leg muscles and creating muscle memory to offset the nerve degeneration before the paralysis sets in order to keep the legs strong for as long as possible. For us, a combination of underwater treadmill or ocean water-wading and chiropractic care has seemed to prolong the onset of more severe symptoms. For other pet owners additional or other modalities of therapy such as laser therapy, doggie massage, and/or acupuncture has been anecdotally proven to alleviate symptoms and strengthen muscles.
We strongly believe that our focus on strengthening muscles and providing rehabilitation is giving us months with Bubba that we wouldn't have had. Bubba's Buddies is dedicated to providing financial assistance to owners who would not other access rehabilitative treatments because of financial restraints. To learn more on how to apply for assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.