Can a dog place weight on the rear legs while rehabilitating in a dog wheelchair after ACL or CCl surgery?
This is a great question!
Recently, I spoke with a Corgi mom who was concerned after she was told by her vet that her Corgi would need 8 weeks of crate time after a CCL surgery. Her vet also recommended staying away from a rear support dog wheelchair, as he said she wouldn’t put enough weight on her leg with the dog wheelchair.
This woman’s instincts told her that her already overweight Corgi was going to have an awful time rehabilitating after this surgery. Her instincts were correct in this situation. This is what I told her.
Ultimately, your vet has the final word on her ability to use a wheelchair after surgery. Please follow his or her instructions, as we are not qualified to give medical advice. However, with our experience, a dog wheelchair has been proven to speed recovery time after CCL surgery. Furthermore, being down for 8 weeks is a long time! After a recovery period this long, she will also need to build her stamina from from lack of exercise for that long!
I like to use analogies to describe how a dog wheelchair works in a rehab situation such as this. A dog using a wheelchair as a rehabilitation device is similar to using a crutch for a human. You are being supported, limiting the chances of re-injury to the area. A crutch also keeps you from falling down. 🙂 However, you can put pressure on the leg to build up strength, and allow to heal properly. Another analogy that I like to use is a baby walker. The baby is supported in the rear, but learns to place the feet, one in front of the other, with the right amount of pressure.
The height in the wheelchair is adjusted in 3/4″-1″ increments by moving the wheels up and down. There is further adjustment in the support sling, allowing you to fine tune the height up and down by moving the buckles up or down the ladder strap. It’s an awesome way to adjust the pressure on the surgical sight.
Here’s a testimony from a woman with a dog that had ACL surgery. Elizabeth was also recommended to crate her 70 lb dog for 8 weeks. She said no way…
“I’ve been meaning to write you an update on Toss-Up. She is fully recovered from her surgery and back to 100% mobility due in large part to her dog wheelchair! The vet was amazed at her recovery! He said her bone healed perfectly, adding that it was the best he had seen! He said the dog wheelchair had to be the reason! We were so excited! Also, Toss was able to regain her ability to walk the full 4 miles within three weeks after her release from vet restriction because she was able to exercise during her restriction time post surgery. I have my friend back! She runs, jumps, and plays as she did before her knee injury! Thank you for your care and support as we adjusted. You two are the greatest! ” Truly, Elizabeth
I hopes this helps you make your decision. If your vet ever has questions that you can’t find on our website, please have them call me. An update on Taffy was sent 17 days post surgery. Taffy loves her dog wheelchair, is able to get exercise, and has lost 2.5 lbs since the surgery as well!