As dogs age, they begin to slow down and there can be notice visible differences in a senior dog’s strength, balance, and overall ability to walk. But mobility loss can happen at any age in fact, there are many mobility conditions that can affect even a young dog’s ability to walk on their own. Whether affected by disease, paralysis, or a condition that impairs rear length strength here is everything you need to know about pet mobility loss.
Early Signs of Pet Mobility Loss
Many mobility conditions begin with small signs that are easy to miss. Being aware of these changes in your dog, monitoring and recording these changes, along with quick action can help your Vet to diagnose and treat your pet effectively and quickly.
- Difficulty rising and standing
- Dragging toenails intermittently
- Sudden loss of balance
- Tiring easily
- Struggling to jump in or out of a car
- Hesitancy to use the stairs
If you see any of the above symptoms, it’s important to let your Vet know immediately. Proper treatment may help slow down the progression of their condition. Not to mention, getting your pet the help, they need may help them to maintain and even build up their strength to help keep them active.
Common Canine Mobility Conditions
DM is a progressive spinal cord disease that start with rear limb weakness and dragging paws before progressing to total paralysis. Degenerative myelopathy is a hereditary disease that greatly impacts the German Shepherd breed although it does occur in other breeds as well. All DM dogs will eventually lose complete use of their back legs, and as the disease progresses up the spine will eventually impact the front legs as well.
Intervertebral Disc Disease impacts the discs between the vertebrae of the spine. Intervertebral discs can degenerate, bulge outward or rupture leading to pain, nerve damage and even paralysis. IVDD can occur in many different breeds but is most common in dachshunds.
Back pain, crying out, dragging legs, paw knuckling, and hind leg weakness are all signs of IVDD.
Many neural conditions can look like IVDD, if your dog is showing any signs of IVDD or spinal pain call your Vet immediately. IVDD treatment can include: crate rest, surgery, a back brace and even wheelchairs for continued mobility.
Hip dysplasia can affect any pet at any age and varies in severity. In dogs with hip dysplasia the ball and socket joint in the hip does not fit and instead of moving smoothly they rub and grind. This causes joint deterioration, hip pain, decreased range of motion and can result an inability for the joint to function properly. You can limit your pet’s hip pain and increase mobility by working with your pet professional to develop a multi-modal treatment. This plan may include pain relief, joint supplements, hip support, and strengthening exercises.
One in five dogs will experience arthritis in their lifetime. As dogs age the cartilage in their joints begins to thin and die, causing painful inflammation in their joints. The most common form of arthritis in dogs is Osteoarthritis which causes joint instability and painful rubbing of the joints. Canine arthritis can affect a pet’s hip, elbows, lower back, knees, or wrists. Left untreated arthritis can greatly impact a pet’s mobility.
There are a range of neurological disorders than can affect a pet’s mobility. Disorders affecting the brain can lead to seizures, tremors, and blindness. Spinal cord conditions can lead to an unsteady gait, paralysis (in front, rear or all legs) and a loss of feeling in affected limbs. Vestibular disease, Cerebellar Degeneration, Wobbler Syndrome, and IVDD are just a few of the most common neurological disorders.
Dog Mobility Aides
Walkin’ Wheels wheelchairs help pets affected by disease or conditions that impair their strength in their hind or front limbs. This life-changing tool allows pets to enjoy their daily walks, play fetch and regain their independence. A pet does not have to be paralyzed to use a wheelchair, even pets who are still able to walk can benefit from the extra support and stability of the Walkin’ Wheels. A dog wheelchair a wonderful addition to a pet’s rehab program and can adapt to a pet’s changing mobility needs with the addition of a front wheel attachment.
Improve a paralyzed pet’s indoor mobility and keep them active all day with the Walkin’ Scooter. This easy to use mobility device is perfect for around the house, allowing pets to move easily around tight corners and all different types of flooring.
Easy to Use Rear Support – The Up-n-Go Rear Support Leash is perfect for pets who struggle to stand up or need hind end support for quick bathroom trips outside.
Mid-Body Support – The Walkin’ Support Sling replaces the towel, over light support to the center of the body. Perfect for dogs in early stage mobility loss who need a little extra help.
Hind End Support – The Walkin’ Lift Rear Harness is fully compatible with the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair, not only does it provide a comfortable seat in the wheelchair it’s a great way to give your dog a boost outside their wheelchair.
Full Body Support – The Lift-n-Step Harness supports both the front and rear legs. Allowing pet parents to lift and support their pet while recovering from injury or surgery.
Progressive Support for Changing Mobility – The Walkin’ Combo Harness provides support throughout a pet’s mobility loss. Especially created to fit large breed dogs, purchase the front, rear or both to customize your pet’s level of support and the harness even adapts to fit a rear or quad Walkin’ Wheels when its needed.