Wobblers Syndrome in Dogs

Your dog’s abnormal gait may be an indicator of something worse

Although this medical condition has a funny sounding nickname it is actually a very serious pet disorder.

So, it is a disease of the vertebrae in the neck… that makes it bit more clear.

But why nickname it Wobbler’s? There are many diseases named after the clinical signs or symptoms they create. If you were told that a dog was suffering from Wobbler’s Syndrome and then picture that dog trying to walk towards you, how do you think that dog is going to look? Wobbly? Good guess! Part of being a Veterinary Assistant is understanding medical terminology.

Breaking down Wobblers Syndrome technical name, “cervical spondylopathy” gives us more a hint as to what we are dealing with:   CERVICAL SPODYLOPATHY  |  cervical = the neck  |  spondylo = the vertebrae  |  pathy = disease

There are many causes of this condition, all of which are involving the vertebrae in the neck. This can include badly formed vertebrae, displaced vertebrae, cartilage and ligament problems and other issues. These issues cause compression of the spinal cord; interrupting nerve signals to the rest of the dog’s body. This interruption of signals can cause pain, partial paralysis, an abnormal gait (walking), dragging of the paws, stumbling and other clinical signs.

If an owner notices a dog showing any of these signs, or any other physical changes, they should immediately call their veterinarian to schedule a physical exam.

Once the dog is under the care of it’s veterinary team (including a Veterinary Assistant) they will have a physical exam by the DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). The veterinary team may then proceed with x-rays (radiographs), or other methods of taking images of the spinal column. They will also carefully rule out any other causes for the physical changes. A Veterinary Assistant will play an important role in all of these steps.

Treatment of this condition may involve rest, medications, or even surgery. Treatment will be recommended by the Veterinarian after they have diagnosed the cause of the Cervical Spondylopathy.

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