Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carts for dogs and kitties (Aka Wheelchair)

I recently got a call from a client wandering if I carried a certain brand of wheel chair. She wanted one for her elderly dog who needed help to get up. It took about 20 minutes on the phone to let her know that it was unfortunately a bad idea for her situation. Carts are great for dogs (and kitties) with paralysis, arthritis, deformities, amputation, severe multi joint arthritis, etc. However, people need to understand their limitations. The client who called me wanted to leave her dog all day in the hind leg wheelchair. Here is why you can’t:

-For 8 to 10 hours, the dog could not lie down, or only on his front legs. Some of my elderly patients can barely stand up for 5 minutes.
-Most dogs will likely get caught in furniture or the cart may tip over, meaning you need to supervise your dog at all time when in use.
You need to view the cart as a way to be able for your pet to follow family members restoring a sense of belonging, and to exercise outdoor. Small dogs may do very well in the house if there is enough space to maneuver around, but they still require supervision.

There is more, not all carts are good for all dogs. There are several cart companies out there. The choice of one as well as add-ons will depend of:
-How tall and heavy your pet is
-How much support is needed; is your pet unable to move, or need a little support
-What are your physical capabilities? Some wheelchairs have removable supports other you need to lift the dog’s legs into the cart. Regardless, there is some lifting involved.
-Is your pet going to be outdoor crazy or just take a 5 minute walk? There are different wheels depending of how active your pet is. Some dogs go skiing/swimming… so be warned!
-Belly strap might be needed for those with weak core stability.
-The height you place the dog in the cart depends if they can use or not their legs.
-Booties might be needed
-Wheels will be placed under the dog depending of their mobility issue(s). Put them at the wrong angle and you will place undue stress on certain parts of the body
-some dogs have progressive disease and a versatile cart is needed to accommodate the changes so you do not have to buy a new one every few weeks/months (like in DM).
-Measurements are so important; it may even take 2 to 3 people to do so.
-A custom cart might be better then a one size fit all, for example a dog with a large lipoma on the side of its chest need a space on the side bar to account for the space taken by the mass.
-And more depending of your unique situation.

There is also the issue of introducing your dog/kitty to the cart. I have seen so many clients just buying one without any professional help, spending the money to get a custom fit cart, and then be disappointed because the dog refused to be put in it. Patience is the key, and trained people in this area can make the transition so much easier.

So the bottom line: let a professional guide you in the choice and fitting of a cart to increase your chance of success. This will end up into a happy dog/kitty that will be comfortable. And let’s face it, they may outrun you! Just check my facebook page for all the fantastic stories about the wheelchair dogs, or should I say the wheelchair that gives them wings…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pet-A-Palooza October 16-17

The So Cal Pet Expo organization puts up several fairs in OC to help place homeless pets. I had a booth in the one organized in OC: The Pet-A-Palooza last weekend. I took a picture of this lovely Chihuahua with a deformed leg and with the sweetest personality. If you want to adopt her (picture below), please e-mail the No Stray Left Behind group at . OK, so I have a bias towards Chihuahua if you haven't guessed it yet!
I am soooo cute!
We were treated to several entertaining shows, and the ones I had to pleasure to look at were the dog stunt show ( ), and a dock diving competition.


These gatherings are also a great opportunity to meet a person like Lorrie Boldrick DVM, who’s the veterinary supervisor for Freedom Dogs. The organization offers custom-trained specialty service dogs to wounded members of the military returning from armed conflict (

Bone Cancer Group talk October 22

This last Friday I was part of something very special. Last year, I was asked if I would talk to the Bone Cancer Dog group annual reunion. The group is composed of dog owners who lost their dog to bone cancer or pet owners interested to hear about it. They give information about bone cancer- (treatment, how to deal with amputations, etc, etc), and function as a support group. When I put my talk together, in concert with Nicole, we settled on holistic OSA-osteosarcoma- prevention and holistic pain management. Little did I know how big this group was. It was an experience well worth being part of.

When I got to the meeting place, well ahead of schedule, I met some of the members and got to know more about the Bone Cancer Group ( When I asked one person where they came from, I was surprised to see how far some were from. Not only they came from all over the US, but one person flew from Canada. For the last 6 years the group has been getting together once a year to meet, pay tribute to the loved ones they lost to bone cancer, do a memorial (so touching, each owner had a rock with a paw print and their name on it) and hear about what can be done for this raging and devastating disease. Even more impressive was when I talked to Ana Cilursu. She is an MD and is making sure people are helped in the best of way, making sure the information is the most scientifically accurate and helpful. So much information is out there, internet and all, and takes advantage of people in a dire situation promising cures. As usual I will tell you that if it sounds too good to be true, run away. OSA requires a multidisciplinary approach, and not one thing will take care of it.

When I was done with my talk I was delighted to answer people’s questions and hear about how they’ve been dealing with their situation. I was touched when Nicole presented me with a gift bag for the talk I gave them. One of the items in the bag was a book written by one of their member, Doug Koktavy: “The legacy of Beezer and Boomer” Lessons on Living and Dying from my canine brothers. In a world that might underestimate how attached we become to our pets, this book is welcomed. I already started to read it. A lot exists on how to deal with our beloved pets when they’ve passed away, but Doug felt that nothing was written about how to prepare you with the inevitable. He hopes this will be helpful to other owners.

Can I ask a question?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd. Recalls Limited Production Code Dates of Dry Dog Food Because of Possible Excess Vitamin D

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 8, 2010 - Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd., recalls certain dry dog food because of possible excess Vitamin D that can affect the health of some dogs. The Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd., is recalling certain packages of its Wilderness Chicken, Basics Salmon and Large Breed Adult Chicken dry dog foods sold under thc "BLUE" brand which have the potential to contain excessive levels of Vitamin D. To read more: 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Elisha's latest

Elisha is coming along fine. He had surgery 17 days ago. Last weekend, we took him out. He is on exercise restriction for another week. Part of his rehabilitation right now are range of motion and stretching of all 4 limbs, laser therapy around his surgical sites to improve healing and decrease pain, as well as electrical stimulation of his hind legs muscles.