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Wobblers Syndrome: What large breed dog owners need to know

“Regan is an 8-year-old Weimaraner, and he presented for weakness in all 4 legs and some pretty severe neck pain,” explains Dr. Rose Lemarie.  “He was ultimately diagnosed with a syndrome called Wobblers Syndrome.

“It’s called Wobblers Syndrome for a reason because they usually are weak and they usually do wobble to some degree. They are uncoordinated and don’t really know where their legs are. Depending on the severity of the spinal cord compression they may or may not be able to walk at all.

“It’s something that happens in large breed dogs almost exclusively and we see it predominately in Doberman Pinschers and also in Great Danes.

“What Regan has is more Doberman like Wobblers Syndrome which means that he has an unstable spine that has resulted in protrusion of the disc up where it’s compressing his spinal cord.

“There are different procedures for Wobblers Syndrome. What Regan had was a decompressive laminectomy.  His two sites of compression were at C5/6 and C6/7.  He had a dorsal laminectomy to decompress his spine at that spot.

“In animals that are severely unstable when they have a lot of instability between their verterbrae we’ll have to do a stabilization and fusion procedure.

“There’s definitely danger. It’s a very, very risky surgical procedure because the cervical spinal cord is an area that’s not very forgiving to trauma and pressure and damage.  And we use electric drill so we’re generating heat, so we’re manipulating the chord to remove the disc material that’s pressing on the chord.  It’s a very, very risky surgical procedure.

“He’s been in recovery mode since surgery and he’s actually doing very well he’s able to take some steps with assistance.  We’re actually able to walk him and he can go outside and he’s getting stronger every day.