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Genetic Health Education Last Updated:

Wobbler Syndrome in Dogs

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doberman pinscher wobbler syndrome in dogs

Wobbler Syndrome in dogs—also known as cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM)—is a common disease of the cervical spine in large and giant breed dogs. Presently, the genetic basis for Wobbler Syndrome is unknown. 

Although the condition mostly affects Doberman Pinschers (~5%) and Great Danes (~4%), it can also occur in Mastiffs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Borzoi, and Poodles, among other breeds. 

Affected dogs may develop a ‘wobbly’ gait as young adults—which can progress to paralysis. 

doberman pinscher wobbler syndrome in dogs

What we know about Wobbler Syndrome in dogs

Wobbler Syndrome can be caused by cervical spinal cord/nerve root compression due to congenital narrowing of the vertebral canal or protrusion of intervertebral discs (disc-associated). In young giant breeds, it can also be caused by abnormal bone growth into the vertebral canal (osseous-associated). 

Clinical symptoms of Wobbler Syndrome vary according to the severity and duration of spinal cord compression. The most common sign is an uncoordinated gait, with a tendency to stumble. This may begin in the back legs and progress to all four limbs. Many dogs also experience acute neck pain.

Diagnosis requires an x-ray, an MRI, or a CT scan. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment may range from physical and laser therapies to disc removal and/or replacement surgery.

Great Dane Wobbler Syndrome in dogs

 

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