Wobbler Syndrome in Dogs
If your dog is limping, you’re probably wondering why.
There are lots of reasons why dogs limp, such as hip dysplasia and other conditions that cause general lameness and difficulty moving about. One of these conditions is known as Wobbler Syndrome, which quite literally causes a dog’s hind legs to wobble as he walks about.
Known clinically as cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) or cervical vertebral instability (CVI) – admittedly, both mouthfuls – Wobbler Syndrome is a painful and debilitating neurological disease that’s caused by the compression of the spinal cord. This usually occurs due to a slipped disk or the malformation of the vertebrae.
Risks and Symptoms
Wobbler Syndrome is most common in Doberman Pinchers and in some larger dog breeds, including Great Danes and Irish Woflhounds. The most common sign is a distinct wobbly gait, but other signs include:
- Neck pain
- Difficulty getting up
- Partial or complete paralysis
Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels Diagnosis/Treatment
If your veterinarian suspects your dog might have Wobbler Syndrome, he or she will perform a complete physical and neurological exam and take a detailed history of your dog. Diagnostic imaging is a virtual certainty, so be prepared for your pooch to undergo x-rays, myelograms, CT scans, and/or MRIs. Cerebral spinal fluid analysis may also be recommended. Your veterinarian may refer your furry friend to a specialist for some of these tests or for a second opinion.
To rule out other conditions and evaluate the overall health of your dog, additional diagnostic tests may be run, including:
- Electrolyte tests to make sure your dog isn’t suffering from an electrolyte imbalance
- A complete blood count to screen your pet for infection, inflammation, or anemia and other blood cell-related conditions
- Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other diseases, and to evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine Screening tests to rule out infectious disease
When it comes to Wobbler Syndrome, there are a lot of different treatment scenarios that ultimately depend on the severity of the condition. Some dogs can be treated medically whileothers may need surgery.
If treated medically, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and pain medication. You’ll also be encouraged to limit your furry friend’s activity – while exercise is normally good for dogs, you’ll have to make sure your dog has adequate rest and doesn’t exert himself