Well, it looks like the “little problem” might be bigger than I thought. Leslie from Eddie’s Wheels unfortunately has been less than helpful. First she suggested I try “compressing” his bladder in the cart to get a stream flowing, since part of DM (degenerative myelopathy) is losing sphincter strength. I reminded her that Alec has IVDD, not DM, and explained that he has full bladder control and has not needed to be expressed in over a month. I also let her know that it’s basically impossible to express a dog who has control of his bladder muscles. I told her the only “accident” he had was the day after he got his cart because he was not able to urinate in it (despite the fact that I had no warning of this potentiality). And I said it was my understanding that dogs could urinate and defecate with no problem in these carts and that I would have considered different designs had I known this might be a problem. Finally, I let her know lifting his tail had worked a couple times, and not worked a couple times.
Her reply: “Most dogs can urinate with no problem in our carts, but a small percentage of males do have problems. I am sorry that your dog is one of them. Usually shifting the dog in the saddle solves the problem.”
Well, gee thanks! I only spent $500 on a cart that my poor dog, who has been through so danged much, can’t even urinate in (a serious problem given that a not-empty bladder virtually guarantees a urinary tract infection), which might be fine except for the fact that it says this on their website:
“Your pet can easily relieve itself and perform its normal bodily functions while in the cart.”
No mention of the “small percentage” of males who have problems, which of course would be helpful for customers to know before purchasing their cart, a rather expensive item. I can’t believe they would not even mention this “little problem” – a potential risk that the cart will pinch his urethra, thereby making it impossible for him to continue to urinate normally. And then act like it’s MY problem after they sell me the cart! Rrrrr. Yes, I am pissed off. Because Alec has had to deal with so much already and I really thought the people at this company actually cared about their clients’ companion animals. I guess once the sale is made, things change.
Luckily, Juli the rehab specialist is an angel and has been so helpful to us. She encouraged me not to return the cart – which they were only going to refund 2/3 the price of anyway…if I returned it in “new condition.” After paying shipping costs, I probably would have gotten $20 back. Not to mention no more walks for Alec until I ordered another cart and that we wouldn’t be able to move out of the office for several more weeks…ugh! Juli is convinced we can make it work and she even offered to come by tomorrow to see what she can do. We are so grateful for her. She is so much more helpful than the people who actually sold us the product. Thank you, Juli!! Tonight I shifted him around some and he was able to get a stream going, so maybe I will be able to fix this problem on my own. I hope so. No thanks to you, Eddie’s Wheels! I really hope they add a disclaimer to their website so other people will be aware of this potential problem before they put their dog in it.
Photo: A much happier moment right after the cart arrived, before I knew the thing would squish his urethra! Ali is enjoying a flying saucer filled with peanut butter, which successfully distracted him while we put him in the strange new contraption for the first time.
Some things just sound better in French, n’est-ce pas? Anyway, after my exuberant post of last night, I realized we had a potentially serious problem. Alec had not been urinating well in the cart, and I thought he just “needed time” to adjust. Well, that was a bad call, as I noticed he had peed all over his bed, literally right after I posted about how great everything was with the cart. He has not had an “accident” in his bed in over a month, ever since he started going to the bathroom outside… I even took the wee wee pads off his bed last week (is the universe smiting me for letting my guard down?). So it was a giant mess and all over him too. I could tell he felt really bad, he didn’t want to go in his bed; his bladder was just full. And of course he was reacting to my distress. I didn’t get angry but I did almost start crying – it was just such a mess and I felt so bad! Not to mention confused. Why is he not going? He pooped fine so it’s not some psychological “I don’t want to go in this weird contraption” type thing. And I noticed he was going over to his usual spot and lifting his tail (which I have come to recognize as the bladder pump), but nothing was coming out. Juli said she never had a problem with a dog not urinating in the cart (of course!) and that maybe it needed adjusting. She suggested I call Leslie at Eddie’s Wheels for their advice. So I emailed Leslie photos today of Ali in the cart and she said it did look like a perfect fit, which I was happy to hear. But that means nothing to adjust in order to fix the problem. She said they “occasionally hear of male dogs who cannot urinate while in the cart. We suspect that their urethras are being pinched off by the way they fit in the saddle. The usual solution is for you to gently lift the dog’s rump – using the tail is ok -and see if he can urinate when you elevate his rump a little bit.” So I tried that this evening and the first time it didn’t work, but the next time it did… althought I don’t know if he was able to empty. I will keep trying. If this doesn’t work, I don’t think anyone has other suggestions… and he just has to be able to urinate in his cart.
The better news is that he is loving his wheels and enjoying his short walks outside. If only we can solve this little problem…