How to Care for Your Diseased or Disabled Pet

disabled pet dog in a wheelchair on grass

Caring for disabled pets can be difficult. But it is rewarding. These animals need us to take care of them. And they return our care with all the love and affection in the world. For animals, just like for people, setbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, animals are born with a specific defect or disability. Others meet with injury and must learn a whole new lifestyle halfway through life. Still others simply experience changes as their bodies grow older. Whatever the cause of the disability, each pet must be treated with love and care. Thankfully, Tipp City Veterinary Hospital has plenty of information to help you do just that.

Common Diseases & Disabilities

Complete or Partial Blindness

Blindness is often the result of old age in a pet. If this is the case, the pet may not understand what is happening or why they cannot function like they used to. If your pet is constantly bumping into things, is startled easily, or is having trouble finding their food and water, take these as clues that your dog may be experience loss of sight. The blindness may be full, or only partial; it may be in one eye or both.

Heart problems

It’s not uncommon for animals to experience heart conditions, and they can range from relatively benign to very serious. Heart disease may be caused by a fatty buildup in your pet’s arteries or by a genetic condition. Either way, the heart is weakened, which limits the pet’s ability for physical activity. Heart disease can cause sudden death if untreated. You may notice your pet coughing, wheezing, or even refusing to eat. If this behavior is common, you should get your pet checked out immediately.

Deafness

Similar to blindness, deafness often occurs later in life for pets and can cause disillusionment. Assuming your pet is young, if hearing loss is only partial, it may simply be ear infection or wax buildup. If you suspect that your pet is losing their ability to hear, watch for their responses to various stimuli. If they do not respond to noises (squeaky toys, books banging shut, vocal commands), this is a sign of deafness. Other signs of deafness include excessive barking and being scared by sudden visual stimuli.

Missing Limbs

Many pets are missing limbs due to a birth defect or an accident. While either situation is tragic, many pets with missing limbs can still live a full and happy life. Most pets have the amazing ability to adapt and learn a new way of life. In fact, many animals who are missing limbs forget that they are disabled at all! Devoted, loving care by an owner will make or break the quality of life for animals such as these.

Diabetes

Diabetes in animals is very similar to diabetes in humans. The animal’s body simply does not produce enough insulin to regulate their blood sugars. Thus, the blood sugars become extremely concentrated in the bloodstream unless an insulin supplement is taken. Check for excessive thirst and unusual weight loss or weight gain in your pet. These are common signs of diabetes. Thankfully, diabetes is treatable.

How to Help

Get regular checkups.

Going to the vet regularly is a must for all pets, and even more so for disabled pets. Your vet will help you know which steps to take when facing a disability or disease.

Keep up a regular diet, including any medications your pet needs.

Different disabilities and diseases require different diets. For example, if your pet has diabetes, they will need a diet that is low in carbs and high in protein. They will also need regular insulin shots. Create a healthy routine for you and your pet.

Exercise with your pet.

Many disabled pets are afraid to get up and get moving because they are afraid of getting hurt. If your pet is blind, they may refuse to play or run because they do not want to run into furniture. But exercise is healthy and necessary for all pets. With you by their side to guide them, your pet will be able to play and exercise with more confidence.

Maintain an orderly and “baby safe” home.

Pets love order and continuity. Keep your pet’s toys, bed, litter/pee pad, and food/water in the same place, so they can find it easily. Do not rearrange furniture in the rooms they frequent. Also, baby proof your home, especially for blind or deaf animals. Put gates in front of the stairs so that they will not fall down, secure bookshelves to the wall, so they will not tip, etc.

Help protect your pet’s body from bumps and bruises.

Make sure your pet has the protection it needs. Many disabled pets are prone to stumbling, falling, and running into things. Consider getting your pet a sweater and/or knee pads to wear to protect from bruises. You may even want to purchase back, neck, or leg and ankle braces.

Helpful Products

Medications

Hundreds of medications have been developed to help disabled pets and diseases. Talk to your vet for the best options.

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are an amazing option for animals who have lost limbs. They can enjoy life with everyone else!

Helmets

Whether or not you will be taking your pet out on a motorcycle ride, some animals may need a little extra protection in the home.

Boots and Suits

More protection for your beloved pet! Whether your pet is recovering from a surgery, needs some help while learning to walk on three legs, or anything else, these will keep them from hurting themselves.

Halo Collar

This keeps your blind pet from running into things.

Hearing Aids

These can be pricey, as they have often custom-made by the vet to fit your animal’s ear. But if it is worth it it you, go for it!

Last But Not Least

Remember that you are not alone in caring for your disabled pet. Dedicated and compassionate veterinarians  are on call to help you and your pet every step of the way. Tipp City Veterinary Hospital is ready to field your questions and offer assistance. If you would like to learn more, please contact us. We are more than ready to help you and your pet live life to the fullest!

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james rawe
james rawe
posted 2 weeks ago

Thank you to Dr. Jacob Mathias!! Every visit is exceptional and makes us and our fur babies feel like family. He even takes the time to warm up to our dog who is very nervous around men. Thank you to the support staff as well! I will always refer Tipp City Veterinary Hospital!! You guys are outstanding!!

Anna Burkhead
Anna Burkhead
posted 6 days ago

We've never felt less than welcome here and have always left feeling confident in what was explained to us and any procedure that has been done. We are never rushed and it's easy to tell that everyone here truly does care for your pets and their best interest. I highly reccomend visiting Tipp Vet Hospital for all of your pet's needs.

Emily Davis
Emily Davis
posted 1 month ago

I revisited Tipp Vet after a long stint with my previous vet that ended in me just not feeling comfortable with the level of care my two small breeds were receiving. I definitely don’t feel this way here. They are exceptionally understanding and helpful with all of my concerns, and Dr. Ken even provided me with his email once so that he could help me further understand some test results he had given me. They are very understanding with my small adopted dog that needs to be muzzled when I bring him to them. They work very slowly with him during his visits and keep me updated on his progress there. I can’t recommend them enough!

William Pittl
William Pittl
posted 2 months ago

The staff were very helpful in getting our girl Precious in after extreme vomiting and diarrhea. And also, they have been FANTASTIC on following up on checking to see how she is doing. Thank you so much. It means a lot when you LOVE our baby as much as we do🧡🐕

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