Wobbler Syndrome in Dogs
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 and Symptoms
- Wobbly gait
- Neck pain
- 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 Pinscher, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds and Basset Hounds.
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 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 Wobblers 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
Other Spine Issues in Dogs
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Lumbosacral Syndrome
- Degenerative Spinal Stenosis
- Curvature of the Spine
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Spondylosis Deformas
- Hypoplasia of Dens