|Wheeling Around - Innovative Thinking Gives Dog a New Way to Roam|
Missy is a 14-year-old Sheltie dog owned by Marie Basler of Stillwater, Okla. Missy suffers from severe arthritis in all of her limbs.
"When Missy was about 5 years old, she hurt her right front leg," explains Basler. "She spent 3 weeks with her leg in a cast until the tendon healed. After that, she would sometimes limp a little on that leg. About six years ago, she started to go lame in her back legs. Gradually she went down on her hocks in the back."
Missy's veterinarian referred Basler to OSU's veterinary hospital. An OSU Student Union employee, Basler knew that the veterinary hospital was open to the public and had brought dogs in for treatment before.
"We tried physical therapy and leg braces. The therapy helped loosen her joints a bit, but she never could get used to the braces," says Basler. "Missy is a spunky little dog and managed to adapt to walking on her hocks."
Sadly, Basler reports that about three years ago, Missy's right front leg started to turn inward and within a year, Missy gradually began to go down on her front legs as well.
"Of course, we were giving her medicine to help with the joint pain. Then in April 2011, Missy developed an abrasion on her right front leg that bled and oozed liquid similar to a burst blister," adds Basler.
A trip to the veterinary hospital resulted in Dr. Lara Sypniewski, community practice veterinarian, treating Missy for a sterile infection for the next three weeks before the spot healed.
In the fall of 2011, Missy developed another sore on the same spot—so back to the veterinary hospital went Basler and Missy.
"I was told that Missy could have surgery on both front legs to straighten them and possibly help her get back up on her feet," says Basler.
Unfortunately, the timing for Missy's treatment could not have been worse. Basler's other dog, Al, was hospitalized for a stroke-like condition and kidney failure. As Al's condition deteriorated quickly, Basler made the tough decision to euthanize him. Having a sick pet in the hospital is a significant emotional, financial and time investment for even the most dedicated owner.
"Taking that into consideration along with Missy's age and the cost of the surgery, I decided against surgery for Missy," says Basler. "I asked Dr. Sypniewski if there were other treatment options to help heal the sore."
"We wanted to help Missy. It was time to think outside the box," says Sypniewski. "Laura Moorer, certified canine rehabilitation practitioner on staff, suggested that a cart might help. Missy actually walked in it the first time we sat her in it."
Moorer photographed Missy's little legs and took lots of measurements before ordering the cart. When the custom cart arrived from Doggon' Wheels, Moorer put it together and fit it to Missy.
"Missy still has a little trouble going in a straight line because she favors her right front leg," smiles Basler. "It has helped her foot to heal and most of the time Missy is able to go around the house all by herself—even with her crippled legs.
"I encourage people to never give up on a dog and look for as many options as you can find to help them. I think we have some pretty amazing veterinarians, students and staff at the veterinary college who are very creative thinkers and patient with owners. Missy and I are very fortunate they are on our side."