Do you know a dog in a wheelchair? We sure do. It’s a topic that has come up a few times at Labrador Life Line. In fact, it can be a more common occurrence than ever, these days, as people are more willing to treat their canine companion’s ailments, and make them as comfortable as possible. Although it’s not a main focus of our organization, we have seen a few applicants come through seeking the help of “wheels” for their labs, and it’s got me thinking – there are many people using the aid of wheelchairs after a spinal cord injury, but there is also an incredible amount of research done every day to find new ways to reverse, or heal those injuries. Do we invest that time and money into the health of our injured dogs?
Well, apparently, we absolutely do. Check out this pretty amazing article over at the Science Daily about how research at two universities will perhaps change the fate of our wheeled-pups – and maybe one day, save their human owners, in return.
The science is as complex as you’d expect, so I’ll leave it to the experts in decoding Science talk to explain it with a bit more clarity (it’s not a regrowth therapy, but one that “mitigates” the old injury, etc. – I told you this was best left for the left-brained…) But what struck me about the article was really the sweetness and caring in it. Normally, when reading about research and the involvement of animals in testing, I’m left with a rather uneasy feeling about how my animal friends might be treated, but this really seems like a wonderful thing. To quote Professor Linda J. Noble-Haeusslein, “We are in a unique position of being able to treat a dog population where there are simply no current therapies that could effectively improve their hind limb function.” And to boot, if the research proves helpful to the dog population, humans may also benefit – the injuries caused by ruptured discs in the spinal cord are most similar in dogs and people.
So, yet again, dogs prove to be our very best friends. And, might I say, I’m glad we’re at a point in time where people are really treating their dogs with the kind of respect I’ve always felt they deserved – to receive a second chance through love, attention and top-notch medical care. I’m proud our dogs are members of the family. Aren’t you?
If you want more science and dog related news, I’m a big fan of Science Daily – their section on dogs has some excellent articles (a great one on the feeding habits of German Wolves has my interest peaked right now, actually). And if you’re interested in reading about more of our handicapable dog friends, check out our front page for a story about Maui, Harrison, and their shared wheels.
Until next time,
LLL Intern, Science Geek and Dog Lover