A spinal disease affecting the cervical (neck) region, Wobblers Syndrome is most commonly seen in Great Danes and Dobermans. Primarily affecting large and giant breed dogs, Wobblers Syndrome is known by approximately a dozen different medical terms and names including cervical spondylomyelopathy and cervical vertebral instability (CVI). Wobblers Syndrome (the most common name) refers to the wobbly gait that is commonly seen in early stages of the disease. Depending on the severity, Wobblers can progress rapidly and even result in acute paralysis in all four limbs. Cervical vertebrae become unstable and apply pressure to the spinal cord causing neurological symptoms ranging from irregular gait in the rear legs to buckling in the front legs; pain is also a major factor in Wobblers Syndrome. Diagnosis can be determined through physical and neurological evaluation often followed by radiographs or MRIs. Treatment can include pain management with medication and numerous surgical options. Your dog’s veterinarian and a neurological specialist will weigh the options to determine the best plan for treatment. Prognosis varies depending on severity; however, the average lifespan for a dog with Wobblers Syndrome is approximately 4 years. Owners of Wobblers patients are encouraged to elevate their dog’s food and water dishes in order to decrease neck strain. Decreasing activity and using a neck brace to provide stability may also be options which can be used in conjunction with your four-legged best friend’s treatment plan.
Ask us at Animal Central for more information on Wobblers Syndrome or visit: http://vet.osu.edu/wobbler-syndrome
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff