My 3 year-old Great Dane cried out when she shook her head, and then held her head và neông chồng very still after that. I took her to the veterinarian and was told that she has “wobbler syndrome”. What is this condition?

Wobbler syndrome is also known as “cervical spondylomyelopathy”, which is actually a more accurate term.

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Wobbler syndrome is a disease of the neông chồng (the cervical spine) that is seen in large & giant breeds of dog. These dogs experience compression of the spinal cord và the spinal nerve roots, resulting in nervous system deficits and/or neông xã pain. Approximately 1/2 of the cases of wobbler syndrome seen in dogs occur in Doberman pinschers, và other breeds commonly affected include the Weimaraner, Great Dane, Rottweiler, và the Dalmation. Despite certain breed predilections, any dog breed may be affected, including small dogs.

"Despite certain breed predilections, any dog breed may be affected, including small dogs."

Most giant breed dogs with wobbler syndrome are diagnosed before the age of three, although symptoms may emerge later in life. Doberman pinschers and other large-breed dogs with wobbler syndrome usually present khổng lồ the veterinarian for clinical symptoms when they are a bit older- the mean age of onphối is 6 years. Slightly more males than females are diagnosed with wobbler syndrome.

What are the clinical signs of wobbler syndrome?

Many dogs with wobbler syndrome develop a progressive sầu, uncoordinated gait in the rear limbs. The incoordination may progress khổng lồ include the front limbs as well. These dogs can chiến bại muscle mass in the rear legs as well as over the shoulder blades. Their toenails may become worn because they tover to drag their feet.

Some dogs with wobbler syndrome will instead develop very axinh tươi signs, including neông xã pain (which can be quite severe), & axinh tươi weakness. The weakness can be so severe it can hinder walking altogether.

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What causes wobbler syndrome?

At one time, excess protein, calcium và caloric intake were thought khổng lồ be the cause of wobbler syndrome in Great Danes. However, nutrition does not appear to lớn play a role in the development of wobbler syndrome in large-breed dogs. Body conformation was at one time thought to be a contributing factor, but studies found no correlation between body dimensions and the occurrence of wobbler syndrome. Finally, too-rapid growth was proposed as a cause, but has never been confirmed.

How is wobbler syndrome treated?

If a dog with wobbler syndrome can be treated medically, rather than surgically, their treatment is generally conducted on an outpatient basis. Conservative sầu, non-surgical treatment consists of managing pain and restricting activity for several months. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are generally prescribed lớn decrease inflammation of the affected tissues và reduce pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerve sầu roots.

"Physiotherapy may contribute khổng lồ maintaining muscle mass và speeding recovery."

Non-ambulatory dogs are kept on soft bedding & turned regularly lớn prsự kiện “bed sores”. Their bladders và bowels must be emptied manually on a regular schedule. Physiotherapy may contribute khổng lồ maintaining muscle mass và speeding recovery.

Surgical treatment of wobbler syndrome involves fusing the segments of the cervical spine that are unstable. Surgical patients will remain in the veterinary hospital during their initial recovery. Activity restriction following surgery must be complete and consistent for at least 2 – 3 months following the procedure in order khổng lồ facilitate fusion of the involved cervical segments.

What is the long-term outlook for dogs with wobbler syndrome?

For dogs with wobbler syndrome who are treated surgically, there is a 1 – 5% chance for significant complications related lớn surgery, và approximately 20% will have sầu a recurrence. Those dogs treated medically will need management for the rest of their lives, and their treatments will change as their symptoms progress. Approximately 25% of dogs treated without surgery will remain stable.

Contributors: Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP., CRPP

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