Meet Mickey and The Padded Bum Gang! July 23, 2015 15:10

Mickey is an English Bulldog that was born with Spina Bifida. "He was the product of a backyard breeder that we assume didn't make sure the mother was properly nutritioned/supplemented during her pregnancy.

The breeder never took the time to have Mickey diagnosed, he just listed him on Craigslist as "having problems". Once he was rescued, the veterinarian was able to diagnose.

In addition to the spina bifida, Mickey has hyper extended back legs (they don't bend). The breeder told his rescuers he didn't have knee caps. That obviously wasn't the case" says Selina - Mickey's adoptive mother.

During gestation, the vertebrae typically form around the spinal cord. When they fail to complete this developmental step, the spinal cord is left exposed at birth causing Spina Bifida. 

Veterinarian's believe this is caused by a lack of folic acid in the mother. It's most common in English Bulldogs but can be found in other breeds. Ensuring the mother is taking a daily dose of folic acid can reduce the risk of giving birth to a puppy with this condition.


Mickey is joined by three English Bulldog sisters who also have spina bifida - Minnie, Lilo and Bessie. They were all rescues from either NorCal or SoCal Bulldog Rescue. Together, the four of them make up

"The Padded Bum Gang".

Since spina bifida is a neurological condition and effects the dogs ability to feel in their hind quarters, it causes incontinance requiring them to be diapered.

Much like babies, their diapers need changed frequently (around four times a day) to avoid diaper rash and other complications. Their mom let me in on her routine that she has found to work the best:

- A bum bath in the morning with anti bacterial soap

- Petroleum jelly on their underside to prevent urine burn

- Gold Bond powder to reduce irritation.

There are many degrees of spina bifida in puppies. Mickey's looks the most severe because he has the additional hyper extended leg issue.

 

A puppy with spina bifida will present with hind leg weakness, incontinence, poor muscle tone, clumsiness and a "cowlick" on their back. The "cowlick" is actually where the spina bifida starts - it's where the vertebrae didn't develope properly.

Here is a photo of Minnie's cowlick

Is Mickey the only dog with a cart?

Yes, Mickey is the only one that uses a cart. He can get around in the house without it, however, since he drags his feet, he uses the cart outside to make sure he doesn't injure his feet or legs.

How long was the process of getting him one?

It took a total of 6 weeks once we placed the order for his cart. We ordered it from Eddie's Wheels which makes nice, sturdy carts for dogs (and other animals) of all sizes.

 

www.eddieswheels.com   Facebook:  Eddie's Wheels

 

Are they all able to scoot? Do you have to have special flooring in your home?

Our house is completely tiled and that decision was made prior to adopting our first special needs. We put leggings on Bessie and if Mickey is playing hard we'll put socks or shoes on his back paws to protect his feet.

We adopted Bessie last July at the age of 9. She had lived her entire life in a corner of a backyard. She was born with 2 club feet in the back and her owners had one surgically repaired, but not the other.

The repaired leg is actually now fused, so it doesn't bend. The other leg just drags. She learned how to walk by carrying her weight on her front end which caused severe bowing in the front legs.

Most of the time her back end drags but occasionally she can get on all fours and has the cutest shuffle/walk ever!

A few months after we adopted her we had a friend make her a set of "training wheels" to determine whether or not she'd use them before we ordered her a cart from Eddie's Wheels.

While she did get around in the wheels, she got around better without them and seemed to be freer without them. At this stage of her life, we let her do what she feels most comfortable.

We recently discovered she could wear toddler's leggings to protect her little legs from getting scraped up when she walks, so we're now having fun expanding her wardrobe!

Minnie and Lilo have back end weakness but can run and play like any other "normal" pup. Lilo's back paws actually point outward when she's in a standing position so she uses her front end a lot for balance and stability.

These guys are very "normal" despite their birth defect. That's the message we try to portray on Mickey's Facebook page.

Minnie had been taken to a vet by her breeder and the vet advised that Minnie be euthanized since she would be "a lot of work" throughout her life.    

Lilo was taken to a vet by her breeder to be euthanized, however, the vet couldn't do it and reached out to rescue.

Fancy Pants!

There are severe cases of spina bifida where the spine is actually exposed and the pup would require more veterinary care.
The opening in the spine creates a higher chance of continuous infections but in cases like Mickey's and the Padded Bum Gang, they're living proof that they can live full normal lives!

 

"These babies can live happy, normal, healthy lives if given the chance! Taking care of a special needs animal is not for everybody. They are work and it can become costly, however, providing good food, supplements and doing a lot of preventative care can keep your vet visits down to a minimum." - Mickey's Mom, Selina