Thanks to DVM Artem Rogalev , physiotherapist and director of the Alforme animal rehab center (www.alforme.fr) based in Maison Alfort, the European Veterinarian School for his help in writing this section of the web site
In most Veterinary universities where the Kerdog is used, it is targeted at healing both animals that are in post-op surgery or elderly ones suffering from motricity handicap
Post-Op surgery : spinal cord or Slipped disk
By far the kerdog is commonly used after slipped disc surgery either to shorten the walking recovery process or to maximize the surgery benefits through giving the maximum chances to deeply handicapped animals to partially or fully recover their walking capabilities.
It’s pretty common in those vet universities to see dogs or other animals being equipped no later than 2 or 3 days after the surgery. The goal here is as early as possible to maintain and redevelop the animal’s muscles while keeping their joints soft and ready to handle again their moving functions.
The typical therapeutic Kerdog protocol starts with the so called “PULL” phase 1 step where the kerdog driving wheel mobilizes the animal hind limbs, forcing them to move and react to the excitation. Once the animal has recovered enough tonicity it is able to push hard enough on the pedals acting then as a break and stopping the driving wheel. This is a very good sign in the recovery process and then the pedal system is deactivated maintaining the capability of the dog to wander around while allowing him to push on the pedals and start recovering walking coordination; this is step number 2 so called the “PUSH” mode.
When starting this phase 2 step, from time to time the kerdog is put in its phase 3 mode so called “WALKER” mode where the pedal system is completely removed and the animal has just its weight being supported allowing it to start walking on its own; this means it has partially or fully recovered its volunteer movements.
Eventually, the dog won’t need anymore the support of its Kerdog and will then be able to walk again fully autonomously.
During phase 1 step so called the “PULL” mode, if it happens that the animal has a deep dissymmetric handicap with a very strong hind limb and the other one being very weak, the stronger leg can be able on its own to block the pedal system. We can then use an asymmetric pedal system where the weaker leg keeps being mobilized with the pedal system being in the “PULL” mode while the stronger leg is put in the “PUSH” mode.
After slipped disc surgery, most of the dogs recover their walking capabilities in less than two weeks.
For the other ones, after an average of 3 month use of the Kerdog, we have observed on around more than 400 dogs that around one third of them is then able to walk fully autonomously without any further need of the Kerdog, the second third is able to walk partially on its own with limited time and on limited distances. Many times, those dogs stand upward and walk a little bit for catering or for relieving themselves. Usually those 2 groups of dogs are then fully continent.
The remaining third group of dogs, still need their Kerdog as they haven’t got back their walking autonomy. On some dogs of this group using their Kerdog of up to more than 3 years, we have observed an usual very good condition of life regarding some illnesses usually contingent to the handicap; seldom escarres, good blood return, agile legs and joints, “happy” to live dogs…..
Kerdog is also used from time to time after surgical operation on cruciate ligaments. The same therapeutic protocol then also applies on those animals meaning using the Kerdog in “PULL”, “PUSH” and then “WALKER” mode. This latter mode can be used in the first place when dogs have already recovered their volunteer movements and only need some weight support to facilitate their recovery.
FibroCartilagenous Emboli (FCE)
This illness usually applies to big dogs and can show an asymmetric handicap on the hind limbs with one of them being weaker than the other. In that case an asymmetric pedal system can be more suitable than a regular symmetric pedal system. The therapeutic protocol is similar to the one described for healing the dogs suffering from slipped disc, meaning using the Kerdog in “PULL”, “PUSH” and then “WALKER” mode.
Elderly dogs with walking handicap
Kerdog is also used for those dogs suffering either from arthritis, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia or other diseases that limit their walking capabilities over time. For these types of illnesses the goal is to maintain their remaining walking capabilities as long as possible. This means that usually the use of the Kerdog starts in its “WALKER” mode in order to just support the dog’s weight and allow the animal to keep exercising its volunteer movements. Then, once the illness has made further progress we move to the “PUSH” and then “PULL” mode in order to mobilize as much as possible the hind limbs of the animal.