Topic: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

We have had my dog jake, a mostly black lab with a touch of pit bull mix, for about ten years. He was 3 when we got him, so he is roughly 13 now. Maybe 14, but no younger than 13 based on his teeth. 5 years ago, he blew out his acl in his left leg. We had it surgically repaired, and while it was his weaker leg, he got around quite well on it. About a month ago, after coming inside from doing his business, he was just walking down the hallway towards his bed when he just collapsed and yelped very loud at the same time. i had a feeling I knew what happened right off the go, but we gave him a few days because it was memorial day weekend, then took him to the vet first thing monday. they upped his dosage of arthritis meds and gave him tramadol. in the meantime i have to carry him (70 lbs) anytime he has to piss or shit, as he cannot walk. he can barely squat only because he cant put weight on the most recently injured leg.

Anyways, we went in for the two week check up and nothing has improved. I still have to carry him outside to do his business at least 2 times a day (he weighs 70 lbs). They did xrays and all that, then tell me he blew out the acl in his other leg.

So my options are;

put him down, even though he is a happy alert dog, he stands, he eats, he cuddles on the bed. he just can't walk. My dad is in favor of this, and I must admit I am thinking this way even though it hurts me inside to even type that

get him a wheelchair? i see these things, but he is a 70 pound dog not a chihuahua. he would get stuck in the hallways of my house in like 5 minutes. they seem great for outside, but i would still have to pick him up and put him in the apparatus each time if I were to take him out after each use; which i would have to if it wont function indoors

surgery on his other leg?  5 years ago we got the cheapest option and it was still almost 2,000 dollars.

Stand pat, carrying him everywhere.


I love this dog, you guys must understand, and he is my daughters dog since we got him. Im willing to do what it takes. But I have never had back pain in my life, and after a month of picking him up and carrying him several times a day, my back has been hurting most of the day, and having just missed out on a big family vacation (so my wife and daughter could go) because someone had to stay home to take care of the dog.


The lovely sorry dad I can't make it convo:


{Dad} Why can't you come to the vacation house, son?
{me} Jake hurt himself, he can't take care of himself at all. Someone has to be home to take care of him because the boarders and dog sitters wont watch an injured dog. Liabilities and all. And I don't want [my wife] or [my daughter] to have to miss vacation.
{dad} so you are saying he can't walk?
{me}pretty much. he can barely put enough weight on his leg to scrunch up and take a shit. You carry him outside and help him stand, ho hobbles a step or two and does his business. Takes him 2 squats now instead of 1 to get it done. But he is alert and happy
{dad} dogs are like horses. if he cant walk and shit, he needs to be put down
{me} I understand, but its not just my decision to make. besides, he is alert and happy. he eats and drinks. he just cant walk
{dad} if i couldn't walk and you had to carry me to the fucking bathroom 2 times a day, I would rather be dead. You think he wants to be carried around everywhere just to piss, then lay in a bed for 12 hours?
{me} i don't know dad, I just want to explore all options before I go that route





So the juxt of my post is, do any of you have a dog in a wheelchair, or experience with dog mobility? Anyone can google "dog acl" and whotnot and come up with a bunch of stuff, but does any of it really work? My vet claims the braces just get chewed off, and only a wheelchair would work in the long run. She said surgery would possibly "work" but his age makes surgery more difficult.

"We've been divided, we've been bled,
Like a chicken without a head.
Running frantically amuck
Taking but not giving a fuck."

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z18/ickmcwang/ickmcwang.gif

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

I feel for you man. I've been a huge dog person my entire life and they are like family to me. I've had beagles mostly but I also had a black lab/boxer mix. Right now I have an 11 year old beagle and a 10 year old australian shepard/Collie. I don't have the specific experience you need but I have had dogs whose legs gave out toward the end of their lives.

The black lab boxer I had named Raven (which I'm sure is pretty similar to yours) died pretty young at 7. She just got really weak all of a sudden. I had to carry her out for a time because it was just too hard on her. But she was just not herself and you could tell she was hurting. So when we took her to the vet and found out she had cancer it made the decision a little easier. I've never had to deal with something like what you are, where the dog is handicapped but otherwise pretty happy.

I know that didn't help at all. It's a shitty situation you are in. But I think you've done your job by giving him a comfortable happy life. I think if you decide to put him down, at least he will go out on top, not being sick and miserable.

"Flowers are cunts basically." - Guana

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

My family dog suddenly got really sick one year after Christmas.  Vet thought he wouldn't survive the night, he did.  They did exploratory surgery (we think it was the stomach flip thing), but couldn't find anything.  But he came out of the surgery without the use of his back legs.  He was a near 100 lb lab, and our 100 year old house never would have fit a wheelchair for him, and we had to put him down.  It was over 10 years ago and I still get really sad and choked up thinking about it.  He was only 8.

I think at this point you need to think of the dog's quality of life.  How much extra time will the surgery get him, and is that worth the cost?  It's a bit of apples and oranges, but my current dog has horrible allergies.  Rips his front legs apart bad.  He's on meds now that keep him in check but that's running $150 a month because of his size.  We're going to do the more expensive treatment that'll get him off the meds, but it's going to run us a couple grand. But he's also only 2 and a half, so in the long run, it's the cheaper option.  It sucks to think of reducing your dog's life to those kind of thoughts, but I think sometimes it's necessary. 

I also hope you're lifting from your knees and not your back.  Maybe look into some kind of sling or lifting helper that'll make it easier for you to transport him without placing the brunt of the burden on your back. 

It's an awful situation and I don't wish to be in your shoes.  I keep telling my dog that he's going to live to be 18 or I'm going to die first.  I'm not sure what I'd do if I were in your shoes.

4 (edited by Bettie_Rage 2016-06-29 16:25:07)

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

I'm so sorry to hear that, Icky. I can see you really love your dog and I applaud you for that, especially since most people opt to put dogs down first thing. If you DO decide to put him to sleep, from experience, it's a very hard decision and traumatic experience. Though it's equally traumatic watching your pet struggle and I know exactly what that's like. What  me, as well as many other pet lovers, say is would YOU like to be put down first thing or be made as comfortable as possible? I HATE humans but I consider animals as people as most of them actually act like people. Obviously, finances are a big factor as well  but personally we've spared no expense, even when he don't really have the money. My problem is I love way too hard when it comes to my dogs so whenever they pass, I literally go hysterical...not joking.

I don't like talking about this but you're Icky so you're an exception: We once got my mom a Scottish Terrier weeks-old puppy as a birthday present. Originally it was meant to be her dog but I grew very attached to her as well and I named her Mylo (yes after the dog in The Mask). THAT was one dog that acted so much like a human even went as far as to sit up in the couch with one arm on the arm of the couch and the other on her stomach just like Al Bundy.  My mom LOVED that dog and typically they live to be around 12-14 years old. Eventually this mass appeared on her side and it got HUGE, but she was still able to walk and function. We later found out it was a tumor and it couldn't be removed because of its size. The vet referred us to an oncologist where we found out she had lymphoma. Of course they gave us our options and we opted for chemo because, I guess, we couldn't let her go and wanted to make her as comfortable as possible; in all we spent around $10,000 and regret nothing. I don't wanna go into details but we slowly had to watch her waste away. It did get to a point where we had to help her around because she just didn't have it in her. It was the most painful thing I've ever experienced to watch her go from this lively diva-esque dog to just a shell. Ultimately we had to put her down because she began having blood in her stool and for the first time since her sister died I saw my mom break down and just bawl since I lost my shit when we took her and they told us that. I would NOT let her go...literally, I held her and buried my face in her fur and refused to let her go. I was crying so hard. We didn't get her ashes because that cost $700 and by that time we were tapped out. That was the worst day of my life, I can honestly tell you.   I had to take a week and a half off school when I had to put my dog down because I damn near went catatonic. But she wouldn't be suffering anymore because she has deteriorated so rapidly. That was 4 years ago and neither my mother nor I have fully gotten over it.

I know it's a hard thing, Icky, but you've gotta really think on your options and what you are capable, both financially and physically, of doing for Jake. I've only personally known of one person who got their dog a wheelchair and they said it takes some getting use to for both you and your dog but it worked out fine. I don't think they're very pricey. The hard thing to do is put Jake's feelings ahead of yours despite your love for him. At his age, arthritis is common as 2 of mine, particularly Rufus who is now 9 and pudgy, has it and take Rimadyl for the pain and Rejuvenate joint supplements the vet gave him. He's fine until it gets a bit cold outside or the off chance there's actually a winter here, then it flares up pretty bad to where he starts having troubles. He can't make it up the stairs or around that well so I have to pack him up to my/his room. As far as the lifting, as Cappy said, maybe you could look into a lifting mechanism? It's a difficult situation but do what you feel is best for Jake but also consider your own realities financially and physically. Hope this helps -hugs-

Edit: Also, you could maybe look into orthopedic beds? The can be a bit pricey but they do have some reasonably priced ones. I paid around $50 for Rufus' when it was on sale. They may sound silly but it does help as far as comfort and some mobility. Since I got him the bed, Rufus has no trouble getting up out of it.

"Hey evil, why don't you eat my butt?"

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

My cousin's dog got bad arthritis around age 14 and they had the same dilemma. The dog could walk fine, just not upstairs and it couldnt stand up on his own. Super alert and smart still despite the handicap. They went two years helping the dog up everytime it needed to move. Then he started to have indoor accidents on a semi-regular basis and thats when they decided it was time to put him down.

My suggestion is to look into proper heavy lifting techniques and to be conscience of your back's posture throughout the day. A little mechanical adjustment to how you move your back can go a long way. I hate to say it but since the dogs in double digits the end is near regardless. Help the dog have another enjoyable year or two before you put it down. having more time to prepare will make coping with the loss easier for you and your daughter.

"I pop punk, not pills"

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

Thanks guys. They actually sell dog wheelchairs on amazon (what the fuck do they NOT sell at this point besides guns, bombs and tobacco?). From most of what I have gathered, a dog wheelchair for his size is 400-600 bucks or so. They make much more expensive ones as well. Im probably going to look into that option.
$250. Cheapest one I've seen, but it seems you get what you pay for by the reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Large-Wheelchair … wheelchair
400+/-  Much higher reviews. My dog is right in the inbetween med/large and just large size, so I would have to do some careful measuring to see if its better to be on the very high end of med/large, or the very low end of large
https://www.amazon.com/Walkin-Wheels-Do … wheelchair

As for his bed, I kinda rigged him up a decent thing. He has his normal xtra large pet bed, but while on a delivery just before all this happened, I was at an apartment complex and someone must've gotten something very fragile and huge delivered to them, because right at the top of the dumpster sticking out were giant pieces of very thick eggcrate-type foam. Like 4 inches thick. So I took a big chunk of it, and it sits on my floor in my bedroom and I put his dog bed on top of that.

"We've been divided, we've been bled,
Like a chicken without a head.
Running frantically amuck
Taking but not giving a fuck."

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z18/ickmcwang/ickmcwang.gif

7

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

My parents dog has cancer near his bladder. He now wears a diaper all day. He has treatments for it monthly. It's expensive but he's still enjoying life so they won't put him down. The other dog got cancer after. He got put down. Mom and pops couldn't afford to put both through treatment.

I know they wish the first dog had gotten cancer second because they absolutely adored the one who had to be put down.

All of our dogs have lived great lives.

Dog was cancer now is a trip, he's ocd, can't turn left, always does the same shit. Strangest dog I've ever met.

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

I get what your Dad is saying Ick, but animals have completely different expectations to humans, they're a lot more pragmatic and a hell of a lot more adaptable, unless they're in constant pain I wouldn't worry about their inconvenience.
The wheelchair is definitely a good idea, Cappy's right when she says to watch your back, when your back is fucked it's fucked for life, the pain always come back eventually no matter what treatment you have. (You're no spring chicken either wink )
As long as you don't mind the additional work involved, the cost is reasonable and your dog is happy, then this isn't too bad a situation.
We want pics though if you do buy it a contraption.

jello biafra ..... jello biafra ......... JELLO BIAFRA !!!!
Fuckin sex pistols mad

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

How's he doing, Ick?

"Flowers are cunts basically." - Guana

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

He is hanging in there. I carry him most of the time, he can hobble around on carpet or grass but most of my house is tile, and he just slips and falls on that. My wife got him used to being "wheelbarrowed" as she calls it, where she kinda lifts him under his bag legs and he just uses his front legs to direct where he wants to go. Her success with that method is encouraging me to try a wheelchair. At the very least, some kind of harness thing to hold his rear up from a standing position rather than bending over to "wheelbarrow" him.

"We've been divided, we've been bled,
Like a chicken without a head.
Running frantically amuck
Taking but not giving a fuck."

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z18/ickmcwang/ickmcwang.gif

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

Had a dog where eventually both her back legs went and selfishly we kept her around too long and in hindsight we should have let her go(not saying you're doing that ick but bear in mind it's easy to do)
Also as guana said the backs a funny thing i have extensive nerve damage across my shoulders the nerves poke out through muscles and become trapped through doing manual labour and not using correct techniques(before the health and safety craze) and it's never getting better infact i'm told it's only going to get worse i'm effectively on a countdown to totaly fucked..but i still carry my three year old on daddys shoulders because thats what dads are for so i get why you carry the pooch..not sure i'll be able to carry the grandkids though..think on that one maybe?

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

If traction is an problem, you can also look at dog booties.  There are plenty with grippy soles to keep dogs from tearing up their feet while hiking or walking on hot cement.

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

I hope he's still doing okay, ick...

"Flowers are cunts basically." - Guana

Re: Anyone have experience with a "special needs" dog?

He is about the same. he can hobble around a little bit but I have been carrying him inside and out every day 3 times a day since Memorial Day. The whole routine is taking a toll on all of us to be honest, but we carry on.

"We've been divided, we've been bled,
Like a chicken without a head.
Running frantically amuck
Taking but not giving a fuck."

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z18/ickmcwang/ickmcwang.gif