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Cervical Spondylomyelopathy (Wobble Syndrome)

Cervical Spondylomyelopathy, commonly known as wobbler syndrome, is a neurological disorder that affects a dog's spne at the neck area. It is primarily a disease of large and giant breed dogs, only occuring very occasionally in small breeds. Dobermans and Great Danes are the most commonly diagnosed breeds, but Cervical Spondylomyelopathy can also occur in the Rottweiler, Irish wolfhound, Basset hound, Mastiff, German sherpher, Weimaraner and other.


The exact cause of Cervical Spondylomyelopathy isn't entirely understood, but the disorder is thought to have a genetic linkage. Some ecperts  believe that certain nurtritional excesses or deficiences may play a role as well. WHen Cervical Spondylomyelopathy occurs, spinal cord compression is the underlying cause of neurological symptoms. Compression of the vertebrae, spinal nerves, and/or nerve roots leads to the pain and neurological problems associated with the disorder.


The name "wobbler symdrome" refers to the condition's primary symptoms: a wobbly, uneven, or abnormal gait that is usually seen in the hind limbs. Neck stiffness, pain and general weakness are also possible. As the disease progresses, difficulty getting up from a lowered position, muscle wasint (atrophy), and partial or complete paralysis of all four limbs may occur.


First, your vet wil perform thorough physical and neurological examinations to determine the nature of the affected dog's condistion. Other possible causes of symptoms (spinal cord diseases, bone disorders, tumers, etc) must be ruled out. X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and other techniques will be used to definitively diagnose a case of wobble syndrome by visualizing spinal cord compression.


Treatment of wobbler syndrome depends on the severity of the condition. For dogs with a mild form of the disorder, medical treatment may suffice. This will involve anti-inflammatory medications, activity restriction and possible physical therapy. Dogs who are more severly affected will likely require surgery to correct the spinal cord compression. This can be accomplished wit various types of surgeries, and the best option will be chosen based on the affeced dog's overall health, severity of the disease, the nature of symptoms and other factors. Surgery to correct wobbler syndrome has a success rate of approximately 80%. Post operatively, dogs will require restricted activity, physical therapy and possible dietary modifications. Generally, the prognosis for dogs with wobbler syndrome is good with either surgical or medical treatment. It is possible, however, for the symptoms of wobbler syndrome to recur. In these cases, further treatment will be required.