Wobbler’s syndrome is a pinching of the spinal cord in such a way as to result in an unstable gait to the hind end. Unlike vertebral disc disease this condition occurs when there is an instability of one vertebra to another rather than an instability of the cushion between the vertebra. However, this syndrome is similar to disc disease as both conditions place pressure on the spinal cord and result in weakness to the rear legs.
The typical stance of the Wobbler is the “saw horse” stance of the rear legs. This condition can have a variable degree of severity, can occur at any age and in either sex, and is most likely to occur in the Doberman Pincher breed.
When a diagnosis of Wobblers is suspected radiographs should be taken of the lower neck region to confirm the syndrome. This is done under tranquilization or anesthesia with the neck bent down in a severe arch so as to luxate the vertebra if it is abnormal. If you are still unsure then a myelogram dye study can be done to confirm the condition.
Treatment of this syndrome will vary with the severity of the symptoms. If the symptoms are mild then elevating the food and water bowels, using a harness instead of a collar, avoiding rough house play sessions and possibly wearing a neck brace may stabilize the condition enough to make life comfortable. In the severe cases’ surgery is performed to fixate the vertebra and thus stop the damage that is done from instability.
There does not appear to be any reliable means by which to avoid this syndrome. Although somewhat fatalistic in nature, I feel that if it is meant to happen in a certain individual due it’s genetic code then it will happen sooner or later.