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Wobbler Syndrome in Dogs


Big dog in a walking wheelchair

 

Wobbler Syndrome Overview


Wobbler syndrome, or cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) is a spine disease that occurs when compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots in the neck region leads to neurological issues, most notably a wobbly gait.

 

Signs & Symptoms

 
  • Wobbly gait
  • Neck pain
  • Weakness
  • Short-stride walking Inability to walk
  • Muscle atrophy in the shoulder area
  • Worn or scuffed toenails from uneven walking
  • Difficulty getting up from lying position

 

Commonly Affected Breeds

 

It is most commonly found in large breed dogs. Breeds that appear to be predisposed to this condition include Doberman Pinchers, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds and Basset Hounds.

 

Diagnosis

 

Wobbler syndrome is diagnosed via visualization. That means your dog will need to undergo X-rays, CT scans and MRI imaging, which will allow your veterinarian to view the spine and vertebrae. X-rays are used to rule out bony disorders while CT scans and MRI’s are used to visualize the compression of the spinal cord.

 

Treatment Options

 

Treatment will depend on the location of the spinal compression and the severity of your dog’s condition. The most common and effective treatment for Wobbler Syndrome is surgical repair. This will alleviate the compression on the nerves and reduce the symptoms by fixing the underlying issue. Surgery involves implanting an artificial disc (cervical arthroplasty) in place of the affected disc space to correct the issue. Physical therapy, medication and even diet changes may also provide relief.

Fortunately the prognosis for dogs with Wobbler's has improved drastically over the past decade due to advancements in technology and surgical treatment. Unfortunately, spine surgery to treat Wobbler Syndrome costs thousands of dollars.

Cost to Treat: $5,000 to $6,000

 

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Other Spine Issues in Dogs

 

Related Content

 
 
 
 

Common Pet Health Problems

 

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