- Reduces or eliminates knuckling in dogs that drag their hind paws
- Custom fit for a wide range of dog breeds
- Helps dogs regain their quality of life
- Easy to use and durable in adverse weather conditions
- Complements your dog’s rehabilitation therapy and improves the chances of success
- Restores lost muscle tone for dogs recovering from surgery or accidents
- Can be used in conjunction with underwater treadmill therapy
- Can be used for extended exercise periods as strength and agility return
Knuckling in Dogs: What is it, what causes it, and what can be done about it?
Canine spinal cord injuries comprise a large majority of veterinary visits to the emergency room and eventually the veterinary neurologist or surgeon. Such injuries include spinal trauma as a result of vehicular accidents, intervertebral disc rupture, intervertebral disc disease, fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE), spinal tumors, degenerative myelopathy (DM) and, on occasion, inflammatory or infectious etiologies.
Treatment options are dictated by the diagnostics and include supportive care, surgical intervention and non-conventional modalities of care such as acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, massage therapy, and electrical stimulation. Of the modalities mentioned above, physical rehabilitation has become a key feature of physical rehabilitation and has become a valuable component of recovery and mental well being for both the canine patient and the pet owner. A part of the physical rehabilitation process is the ability to keep the patient’s limbs in a normal anatomic position in the recovery period. There are four phases of spinal cord injury. First, conscious proprioception or the ability to know where the limbs are in space is affected as those fibers that account for this modality are located on the perimeter of the spinal cord. The next function to be affected is the ability to support weight against gravity called the motor system. There are two phases to the motor system when it does not function appropriately. One is paresis or weakness and the next progression is a loss of voluntary motor capability called paralysis. The final loss of function occurs when the patient loses conscious pain perception or the ability to recognize a noxious stimulus.
With this in mind, anywhere along the spectrum of spinal cord injury, the patient regains the above functions in the reverse order (conscious pain perception returns, then voluntary motor activity then conscious proprioception). The rate and level of recovery is based upon the extensiveness and severity of the spinal injury as well as its cause.
Introducing the Canine Mobility Anti-Knuckling Device
The Anti-Knuckling Device* has become an important part of canine rehabilitation as it allows for more fluid motions of the limbs and promotes a more appropriate range of motion of the limbs and avoids the propensity for excoriation of the digits as they are placed in a more anatomically correct position in extension. In essence, as the recovery phase of spinal cord injury continues, the conscious proprioceptive pathway is involved 100% of the time. This is what makes the Anti-Knuckling Device a very important tool in the canine rehabilitation process for the patient.
The Anti-Knuckling Device uses an adjustable elastic cord secured to a material paw strap at one end, and a dog harness at the other. The paw strap consists of a loop that fits around the dog’s two innermost toes (Phalanges) and another loop that fits around the dog’s lower leg bones (Metatarsus).
The unique design of the Anti-Knuckling Device differs from other available products in that it brings the affected leg forward while simultaneously lifting the toes, effectively reducing or eliminating knuckling. In addition, tension from the shock cord as the dog walks promotes the strengthening of atrophied or weakened hind leg muscles. The Anti-Knuckling Device is effective, comfortable, easy to use and has a proven track record of promoting canine rehabilitation in dogs with knuckling and hind leg weakness issues.
Is your dog knuckling? We may have a solution. Click here for instructions on how to measure your dog. To see the Anti-Knuckling Device in action, check out our Gallery page here. Want to get the most out of your Anti-Knuckling Device? Check out our Blog to see our Best Practices Guidelines.
*As seen in Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy – Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice Vol. 45, Number 1, January, 2015
Some of our success stories
Reilly is a 13-year-old Irish Setter with arthritis and intervertebral disc disease and is 15 months post L4-S1 dorsal laminectomy. His knuckling began approximately two months after his surgery when he was able to resume his daily walks. It was heartbreaking to see something he enjoyed and looked forward to be the source of continued pain.
The effects of Reilly’s knuckling are shown in this video. He is also shown in this video, using the AKD on his right hind leg. He had been using the AKD for one year at the time of this video. As a result of his use of the AKD, the muscles that had atrophied during the course of his recovery from surgery were strengthened and he was able to resume walking with a normal gait.
Reilly was the first dog to use the AKD and was the dog that it was initially invented for. To read more about him and his journey, click here.
Reilly using the Anti-Knuckling Device
Jag using the Anti-Knuckling Device
Jag is a 5-year-old Alaskan Malamute who suffered a fibrocartilaginous embolism in early 2016. He was paralyzed from the waist back initially but after extensive rehab he regained the use of his tail, bladder, and right hind leg. His left leg remained paralyzed though and he was only able to drag it behind him when he walked.
Jag was fitted for the Anti-Knuckling Device in April of 2016, as well as a retrofitted UltraPaws Boot, which he used for several months (instead of the paw strap component of the AKD) in order to protect his paw and prevent abrasions. As Jag became stronger, he began picking up his paw when he walked, and at that time the paw strap component of the AKD replaced the boot. Jag is shown in this video taking his first steps immediately after making the transition from boot to paw strap in June of 2016.
Jag still uses the AKD and walks very close to normally. He enjoys a great life with his loving parents and his numerous Malamute packmates.
Seamus is an 11-year-old Golden Retriever with Degenerative Myelopathy. Initially he was dragging only his left hind leg and he started with a single Anti-Knuckling Device. As the disease progressed, he began dragging the right hind leg as well and he began using a second AKD on that leg.
Seamus continues to be mobile using bilateral AKDs and he enjoys a good quality of life. He is happy, alert and embraces each day as it comes.
Seamus using single Anti-Knuckling Device
Kirby using the Anti-Knuckling Device during a therapy session in an underwater treadmill
Kirby is a 14-year-old Labrador Retriever who fell on the ice several times in February, 2014 and was favoring his left rear leg. An MRI showed spondylosis at T13-L1, bridging and multiple disc protrusions, and osteoarthritis of some facets, specifically L3-4. Kirby knuckled occasionally but could still go on walks. He subsequently received underwater treadmill and laser therapy and acupuncture for 2 years.
In early March, 2016 Kirby’s back legs gave out and he was only able to walk short distances. There was moderate knuckling and/or dragging of his hind legs on these walks. His treatments in the underwater treadmill were discontinued.
Kirby began using bilateral AKDs in April 2016 and was able to resume therapy in the underwater treadmill. As shown in this video at Veterinary Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, he started with short sessions with increases in the number of minutes on each weekly visit.
Gus is a nine-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback who has been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) and intervertebral disc disease (L7-S1). With great effort he is still able to walk on his own although he knuckles on both rear paws and has developed “wear sites” on his toes. He continued to knuckle while using an Eddies Wheels and he experienced episodes of bleeding of the nails and on the tops of his paws.
Gus is shown in this video using his Eddies Wheels cart. The cart takes some of the weight off his hind legs and allows him to continue walking with all four legs. He has, however, continued to have problems knuckling and dragging his hind legs.
In this video, Gus has bilateral AKDs affixed to his Eddie’s Wheels cart to prevent him from knuckling. The shock cords are attached to the cart’s frame on either side of Gus’s shoulders instead of the typical arrangement in which they are connected to a harness. He had been using the AKDs for one month at the time of this video and a noticeable reduction in the frequency of his knuckling can be seen.
Gus using bilateral Anti-Knuckling Devices with an Eddie’s Wheels Cart
I compared watching Gus walk without the Anti-Knuckling Device, and figured he would knuckle about 85% of the time during our walks (even while within his cart). When the device was attached to his paws, there was a tremendous swing of improvement — perhaps about 80% to the positive. Efficient in its purpose, easy to use with no worries, canine adaptability a true plus, the Anti-Knuckling Device serves a dog well.
— Rob Dewing
I have been very impressed with Jeff VerHoef’s Canine Mobility Anti-Knuckling Device and have recommended its use in a number of patients. Decreased proprioception and paresis is a very common problem in older dogs and unaddressed will commonly lead to damage to the dorsal aspect of the rear paws. The dogs that I have seen fitted with the device have had immediate benefits in that their paws are placed correctly as soon as it is applied. Additionally, it helps improve their stride and leg lift.
— Michel R. Jolivet, DVM
Jeff, thanks again for this great device! As you know Klaire suffered from a FCE and was completely paralyzed from the waist down for 2+ weeks. After extensive rehab at WSU she came back to us with pretty good mobility and functionality of her right leg but her left leg was only about 5% of what it used to be. She could barely advance her leg and was able to put only small amounts of weight on it. Most of the time it just dragged limp behind the rest of her body. The Anti-Knuckling Device has allowed us to resume walking her as it helps to advance her left leg and keeps her in good position throughout our walks. Walking is something she has always loved and to be able to resume this activity with her means the world to my wife and I and, of course, to Klaire.
— Kieth Hobart
This is Sylar, he is a 5 year old Utonagan.
On Friday 11th October 2013, I took Sylar for a walk; we were only a few minutes into the walk when Sylar’s back legs collapsed when he squatted down to go to the toilet. Sylar was rushed to the vet and was x-rayed, his hips and spine appeared fine, I was advised it was probably a muscular injury and was told to leave him at the vets for 24 hours rest. I had a phone call that afternoon, it was the vet calling to say he had reviewed the x-ray and Sylar’s prostate was abnormally enlarged. A biopsy was taken and I had to wait until Monday to see if was cancerous or not. I collected Sylar that afternoon; his hind legs were totally paralysed. I couldn’t believe I went out with a boisterous active dog that morning and returned home with a paralysed dog. Over the weekend Sylar started to use his right hind leg however the left leg remained lifeless. Sylar had no feeling in his left hind leg and when he walked his leg dragged behind. It was at this point I learned about “knuckling”.
It was heartbreaking to see what was once such an active dog struggling to walk, dragging his “knuckle” behind him, the friction if it had continued would have worn down to his bone. It was terrible seeing his paw swollen and bleeding. I researched the internet and I discovered the Canine Mobility website. This is the only place on the internet that I found a device that would prevent Sylar from knuckling. I emailed the owner of the site, (Jeff VerHoef) about my predicament and he replied almost immediately, offering me as much advice and assistance as he could. I purchased the anti knuckling device and it arrived just over a week later (I am in the UK). I had been bandaging Sylar’s foot up each time he went out which was a timely chore, not that I minded but when you have a dog so eager to go out, he just wants to go. After quickly reading the instructions, I put the anti knuckling device on Sylar’s paw and within a couple of minutes had the device hooked up to his harness and we were good to go.
I can’t explain how much joy it was to see Sylar’s paw stepping forward instead of dragging behind him. It was so simple to use and caused him no discomfort. The device assisted in forcing him to use his foot correctly. We were told by the vet that when the communication between a dog’s brain and leg is broken, a dog will forget how to walk. The device assisted Sylar in getting back into the correct rhythm and motion to enable him to use his leg ‘normally’ again.
Sylar can now walk without the anti knuckling device, he has not completely recovered as his leg turns out slightly but the main thing is, the knuckling has stopped.
If it wasn’t for Jeff, Sylar would have been put to sleep by the vet, the vet had not even heard of such a device and even when the biopsy came back benign, he did not hold out any hope for him.
— Samantha Phillips, UK
I have been meaning to send you these photos of our girl, Alexandria, wearing this wonderful invention you made. I love it. She has progressed far since the spinal embolism 2 months ago that left her paralyzed in both of her back legs. We started her with at home therapy, using range of motion exercises and a solid firm cast to support her lower leg and paw in proper position. In my research to help my girl, I found your invention on the web. I thought it was exactly what we needed to help our girl’s brain connect with her paw, so she could learn to walk again.
I can’t say enough about how this anti-knuckling device has helped her. We have been able to add more distance to our walks each day with the assistance of this adjustable and wonderful device you have designed. Thank you Jeff.
I highly recommend this device for all pets learning to walk again. I thought at the time, the price was steep but the results are well worth every penny!! I am an individual pet owner who stumbled on this site when trying to assist my dog. I am glad I found it!
I just want to thank you again Jeff, I really can’t thank you enough.
— Sincerely, Alexandria and Barb
Thank you SO MUCH for getting us Liberty’s device so quickly, we ordered your device and the harness within minutes of each other. Received your device the next morning: (Awesome Customer Service) took another 5 days for the harness to arrive from the other place, and as they say; the proof is in the pudding. Liberty is walking better than she has in a long time, your device is centering her once sprawling hind legs, and has completely rid her of the knuckling problem she had. I cannot begin to express with words the joy in our hearts to see our “Queen Liberty Dane” walking so well without the complications!!! You’re a Godsend for our 11-1/2 year old Great Dane Liberty!!!!!!!
— Bobby and Kelly Wilmoth
I have a proud parent moment to share. Our Jaguar, 3 1/2 year old Champion Alaskan Malamute was stricken with and FCE on February 2nd of this year. He was completely paralyzed from the rib cage back. Very slowly he regained his ability to pee and poop without assistance. His right leg has come back on board, however he still drags his left leg. Yesterday I took Jag to the park on my lunch hour, just like I always do. After he had pooped, I cleaned it up and put him on a stand stay while I threw it in the trash about 60 feet away. You can imagine my surprise when I turned around to see this 100 lb dog RUNNING, full tilt towards me! Totally unassisted by a human with only that bungee cord device keeping the left leg moving forward. This is a HUGE landmark on his road to recovery! Thank you Canine Mobility! This device is the best money we’ve spent since Jags release from the hospital!
— John Dewing and Ron Dysart
Very good news! Milow is doing good and still improving – unbelievable. We are so proud…..
We take him to… PT every two weeks. In the last months we did not use the underwater treadmill, we did intensive proprioceptive workout, laser therapy and electrical stimulation treatment. A few weeks ago Milow started to make single steps without the shock cord. That’s why we tried the underwater treadmill again this week and it was fascinating. We saw him walking for ten minutes, he used his left hind leg almost as normal! Nine months after FCE! It was the first time in my life I thought about having a good drink in the middle of the day…
We will do water therapy once a week now, I will keep you posted!
Greetings from Germany
Deuce just got his device and the first time he wore it in the water treadmill, he used All Four Paws and Legs to walk! The rehab therapists that have been working with Deuce these past two years were equally impressed as to how much of a difference wearing the anti-knuckling device – for the first time – made during his session. Jeff, the inventor, is an amazing person that has really worked hard to ensure we had the right fit for Deuce both when he is just in his harness or just in his chariot. If your beloved companion is having problems with DM, Jeff’s invention will make a world of difference in improving your quality of lives!
Jeff has been so responsive trying to get just the right things to work for our 95 lb black lab Kirby. We are in contact every few days. Jeff really is a caring person who loves what he is doing to help doggies and their owners!! What a great device he made for his beloved Reilly!!
— Carol Crew
Seamus, my 12 year old Golden Retriever has hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy that causes knuckling in his rear feet. It really bothered me to watch him try to walk, so I searched and found the Canine Mobility website and ordered the anti-knuckling device. I am so happy and thankful that I found this device that lets my boy enjoy walking around again. Thank you Canine Mobility.
Today, my heart is SINGING! For those of you who are unaware, Chase Bottorff and I adopted a 165 lb Great Dane back in 2011 named Apollo, knowing he had sustained nerve-damage while in the care of his previous owners. The nerve damage in his spine causes his hind paws to “knuckle-over” and it has only been getting worse the older he gets and it pains us to watch him trip/drag his legs/walk on the top of his feet whenever he walks. Granted, he couldn’t feel it, but he was having such a difficult time getting around. I found Canine Mobility LLC through posting on Great Dane Rescue, Inc and within a matter of DAYS met with the owner (Jeff) who luckily ALSO LIVES IN SEATTLE! Here is the “after” footage to show you just how much this “anti-knuckling device” is helping Apollo walk ❤❤❤❤❤?????
— Christine Burgett and Chase Bottorff
I got this yesterday!!!! and as soon as I got this, I put on my Subaru to walk!
I could walk with him 30 min yesterday!! Thank you !!!😆
I was feel so bad for my dog Subaru because I have 3 young dogs.
Every time when I ready to walk with 3 young dogs, Subaru wanted to come with me…
But I had to leave him….
But yesterday, I only took Subaru walk!!! (and 3 dogs are left…)
He was enjoying walking!!!
He needs to get use to it…but I can rehab him daily now!!!
Like I said, I always rescue senior dogs!!!
Thank you very much.
I will keep update his recovering too!!😁