The Wobbler syndrom comprises a number of conditions of the cervical vertebral column, which lead to impairment and/or damage of the respecitve portion of the spinal chord. The term is derived from the unsteady gait often seen in affected dogs.
As with many diseases which may have a lot of causes, the symptoms are likewise extensive. It can be said that the symptoms of the Wobbler's syndrome arise slowly. Normally, the animal has at first problems with standing up and bounces slightly when walking. In many cases the dog slides with the front extremities on the ground, an increased abrasion of the claws will result. Within the course of the disease the symptoms become stronger and stronger, the animal shakes while walking. With advanced cases, symptoms in the area of the forehand of the dog appear, the front extremities and the neck ankylose. Attention: In many cases the early symptoms are misleadingly misinterpreted as accessory symptoms of an excessive growth of the pup.
The Wobbler's syndrome may be caused by a variety of factors. Inherent abnormalities, defective positions in the area of the cervical, herniated vertebral disks as well as abscesses or tumors may condition the syndrome. Particularly Great Danes and Dobermans are predestined breeds of this disease. In case of dogs that anyway grow fast, an excessive feeding has favorable effect on the development of the syndrome. The prognosis of this disease depends on the cause, it is however rather unfavorable.
The diagnosis is normally made with the aid of X-ray photographs, neurological examinations and MRTs (magnetic resonance tomography) or CTs (computed tomography). Depending on the cause of the disease, the veterinarian may choose between different therapeutic measures. In most cases operation is indispensable. There are two procedures which can also be used in combination. Basically, the affected vertebra region shall be released and stabilized. For that, however, the cause needs to be clear and diagnosis be made exactly. In milder cases and with symptoms being very slightly developed, due to the risky operation a conservative therapy would be appropriate which above all provides for restrictions of movement and nutritional measures.
The unstable walk being typical for the Wobbler's syndrome can be determined particularly well when the dog is running in circles or tries to turn around quickly. In case your dog shows the symptoms indicated before, you should call a veterinarian and agree upon a date. In case the consultation hours elapsed, then you may also call the next day, explain the situation and agree upon a date. This disease is quite painful and unpleasing for the dog. Please consider that your dog grows quickly in puppy age, you should not feed it extremely too much because this would further promote the growth and support the degeneration. In case your animal suffers from this disease, you should treat it particularly carefully. Pay attention to avoid abrupt movements. Rather use a harness than a leash. Support your animal in getting over huge heights (stairs, car, etc.).