|Posted on March 15, 2010 at 1:25 PM|
Limb paralysis is a very common condition in dogs which can occur both in fore leg or hind leg, but more common in hind legs. Various reasons for hind limb paralysis are trauma due to accident or fall from height or fight among animals. Other common causes are old age, neurological and degenerative diseases, tick paralysis and nutritional hind quarter weakness.
Due to the paralysis or hind quarter weakness dog is unable to walk and bear weight on its legs which leads to recumbency. Recumbency has several complications like muscle degeneration, disuse atrophy of the muscles, neuronal degeneration, soft tissue damage, pressure sores and decubital ulcers. In addition to this, the blood supply to the area gets disturbed. As veins are superficial seated, they get blocked due to the weight of the animal whereas arteries are deep seated and initially blood continues to pool which causes marked swelling of the area (odema). Later, production of super oxides damages the cells and local tissues which take the form of a vicious cycle causing further production of free radicals and more damage. The blood supply will eventually stop leading to the death of the limb leaving to no other option but to amputate the leg of the animal. In addition to trauma, neoplasia can also lead to the amputation of the limbs/legs. If treated properly at an early stage the complications of the recumbency and amputation of leg can be averted for which proper ambulation and rehabilitation is very important. Earlier, when more than one leg was lost (amputated), then there was no other option available, especially in India and the animal was put to sleep (euthanized). But now the conditions have improved markedly in India and such animals can live further with proper treatment.
Animal should be lifted from the ground and should be given proper treatment as early as possible so that the blood supply to the area becomes normal. Rehabilitation and physiotherapy should start as they increase the rate of recovery. To facilitate the standing of the dog, devices are now available in India in variety of forms like slings, two wheeled wheel chair/wheel carts and four two wheeled wheel chair/wheel carts. In addition to this, orthotic and prosthetic devices are available in India at nominal cost (http//www.innovationindia.webs.com) which can markedly improve the living pattern of the animals. An orthotic is defined as devices used to support or protect an injured limb like braces (e.g. knee brace). A prosthetic device is designed to replace a missing limb or body part (e.g. artificial limb). The products available in India have several advantages for the pet lovers and owners the most important of which is the reduced cost. In addition to this, the products are custom made i.e. product is made individually for each animal/dog.
Slings may be strapped around the body or fitted for the fore limb or hind limb or both. Straps are long hand held to allow handler support the dog. Slings help in transitioning a recumbent pet to standing position.
Whereas, in certain cases, a combination of fore limb and hind limb devices becomes necessary for total body support, to prevent decubital ulcers and complications of recumbency. Wheel carts also known as canine wheel chairs or simply carts are such device which are beneficial to provide support, allow independence fro the owner and the dog and prevent the deleterious effects of recumbency. When placed in the wheel cart/chair, the dog needs some days to get habituated to the device. For a few initial days, the dog should be supervised so that they don’t fall or get struck in some object. Also they should be able to eat and drink in carts, for this, their feeding bowl may be elevated from the ground. These wheel carts with two or four wheels are designed for dogs which are permanently disabled, according to the need of the individual animal, now in India (http//www.innovationindia.webs.com). With little hard work, care and love the life of these speechless animals can be improved, so let’s join our hands together to make this happen.