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Conditions and Ailments

Conditions That Require The Use Of Dog Mobility Aids

With old age and sometimes, outside it, our beloved pets can suffer from paralyzing ailments. As unwelcome as the prospect is, it happens; from accidental injuries or even from genetic predisposition. The situation need not be a death sentence though. Countless of cases of a dog’s loss of mobility have shown that even with the disadvantage, they can go on to live happy, healthy lives.


Below are some of the most common causes of canine mobility loss and some information about them:


Degenerative Myeolopathy or DM

Characterized by progressive weakness or paralysis in the hind limbs, this is a spinal cord ailment of older dogs. This is thought to be caused by an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the dog’s central nervous system leading to the loss of the insulation around the nerve fibers (or the myelin). The damage in the spinal cord then results in the loss of control over the muscles. DM manifests very slowly, having an insidious onset usually on dogs around 7 to 14 years old. Ataxia (loss of coordination) in the hind limbs is one of its earliest indicators. This disease is chronic and progressive, and will conclude in paralysis.



Hip Dysplasia

Although this condition is generally regarded as a polygenic disease, dogs born with normal hip joints can develop hip dysplasia. This disease directly affects a dog’s hip joints, the bone structure that holds a dog’s body together with its hind limbs. As with humans, these hip joints are what allow dogs to move their hind parts freely. This condition starts during a dog’s growing stages and can affect the left or right side of the hip, or even both. Improperly developed hip joints—including ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues—can cause the joints to operate abnormally. This causes improper alignment and leads to extraordinary rubbing and wearing of the bones. Over time, this will lead to arthritis and even actual bone damage that will make movement at first, uncomfortable, and later on, painful.


Fibrocartilaginous Embolism or FCE

FCE is a condition where a foreign substance becomes an obstruction to the blood vessels feeding the spinal cord. This occurs when a microscopic amount of the gelatinous material that acts as cushion for the individual vertebrae gets dislodged; it can enter the arteries and form a blockage. Without blood supply, the spinal cord is starved of nourishment and dies. Generally, this occurrence does not cause the dog pain but it does leave them with some degree of paralysis in their hind limbs, and on rare occasions, on all four legs. While there is no cure for FCE, dogs that get immediate treatment (within the first 24 hours of the injury) have a better prognosis. And, although the resulting paralysis cannot be reversed, it is not known to get worse over time.  The severity of a dog’s paralysis is generally determined by the location and severity of the FCE; some dogs suffer from weakness in the affected limbs while others, total paralysis. There are many success stories of dogs who suffered from FCE and continued on to live full lives with assisted mobility.









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