Reilly, my beloved Irish Setter, came into my life on July 2nd, 1999. He was eight weeks old and a handful. For many years he has been my faithful friend and companion and we have a good life together. Despite some arthritis in his shoulders that was diagnosed when he was about eight years old, he has always been a happy dog and in good health.
One day when Reilly was 11, he suddenly collapsed. He was unable to walk. Our regular vet advised that his problem was likely neurological and referred us to a specialist. He was then examined by a neurologist at an animal specialty hospital north of Seattle and underwent tests over the next couple days. He was found to be in generally good health, but X-rays suggested and an MRI confirmed that he had a spinal injury at the L6 disk with bilateral nerve root compression. In layman’s terms, he had a bulging disk in his lumbar spine that was compressing the nerves where they exited his spine. A surgical L6-S1 dorsal laminectomy (the removal of the posterior arch of the vertebrae) was performed a week later.
After a couple months of confinement and restricted exercise, I was able to start walking Reilly again. The first thing l noticed was that he was doing what is commonly known as “knuckling” with his right hind leg. He was able to extend his leg backwards when he walked but when he tried to bring it forward, he was unable to keep his toes elevated and he would place his paw on the ground “toes down” instead of “pads down”. We tried physical therapy, water therapy, medication, alternative medicine and therapeutic devices. Nothing seemed to work. Reilly lived for his daily walks and trips to the park and yet these simple activities were causing him continued pain.
Finally, out of desperation, I set out to design and create a customized strap for Reilly that when connected to an elastic shock cord, would both move his leg forward and at the same time elevate his toes and prevent him from knuckling. It took weeks of trial and error to come up with a version that worked. Many months of testing and experimenting with different materials followed resulting in a combination that was comfortable for Reilly to wear and would also hold up in the soggy northwest weather conditions. The result of my efforts is what is now known as the Canine Mobility Anti-Knuckling Device™.
At the suggestion of other dog owners and veterinarians, I am making the Canine Mobility Anti-Knuckling Device (patent pending) available to the general public. If the quality of your dog’s life is being negatively impacted by knuckling or dragging of either or both of the hind legs, it’s possible that the device could change both of your lives. Talk to your veterinarian or send me an email here.