Dog Wobblers Syndrome
Dog Wobblers Syndrome
Great Danes and Dobermans are the dogs most affected by Dog Wobblers Syndrome, although it can affect any other dog breed. It first appears as the affected dog being unstable on their feet, almost as if they are ‘wobbling’ – hence the name. It is a disease that involves the vertebrae in the neck area of dogs. This will cause a malfunctioning of their spinal cord. Consequently the name spondylomyelopath is a very accurate term for the instability of the bones and the consequent damage to the spinal cord.
Signs and Symptoms
While both of these breeds can be affected by this syndrome, the symptoms that do manifest in each breed may well be very different.
In Great Danes you may notice clumsiness on wood floors or slippery surfaces. It may seem as if they are dragging their toes and they will have some obvious difficulty in turning. Initially the back limbs are the most affected by Wobblers Syndrome. This leads to abnormalities in their gait, which will eventually progress to their front legs as well. You may also notice some reluctance in your dog to bend or stretch their neck, although this is not an indication of pain.
Dobermans will also likely develop severe symptoms during their middle years of life – usually between five and seven years of age. They will, on the other hand, have neck pain and symptoms will occur in all four limbs, oftentimes being mistaken for early onset of Dog Arthritis. Dobermans typically respond best to surgical intervention rather than present with cases that have a slower onset of symptoms.
Considering the fact that these two particular breeds are affected by this disease leads scientists and veterinarians to consider the potential for genetic predisposition. Another possible factor may be diets that contain too much calcium and/or protein. Great Dane and Doberman owners need to have an in-depth consultation with their veterinarian to discuss the correct amount of calcium and protein in their Dog Diet.
There are other problems in the neurological family that may present with the same symptoms. By performing a very thorough diagnostic examination, your vet can determine if in fact it is Wobblers Syndrome. At the same time these tests can determine if there may be infections or a disease or otherwise a traumatic injury sustained to the bones in the dog’s neck. When questions arise concerning the diagnosis, an additional myelogram may be necessary to ensure an accurate diagnosis is reached.
Treatment of Wobblers Syndrome
Working closely with your veterinarian will assure proper and adequate treatment for your dog, if he does indeed have Wobblers Syndrome. Mild cases may well be treated with rest and a neck brace, whilst more severe cases may require surgery. There are also times when the paralysis cannot be stopped by either of these common treatments. Again, in order to be sure that your dog with this syndrome is properly and adequately treated, you must maintain a close relationship with your veterinarian.
Another point to consider is the fact that there may well be a genetic predisposition to this syndrome. Until that is either confirmed or denied by the medical community, it would be best said that those dogs with Wobblers Syndrome should not be bred. This is the only way to avoid passing down the genes to future generations. The key to responsible breeding is veterinary clearance for this and all other potential hereditary disease processes. Until the cause is known or a cure found, it is best to refrain from breeding a dog that may pass this disease on to its puppies.