Dog Wobblers Syndrome is caused when the neck’s spinal cervical vertebrae narrows and/or doesn’t form properly, and then exerts pressure on the dog's spinal cord near the lower neck vertebrae. This causes a mild to severe abnormality in the dog’s gait. It’s important to note, however, that several other conditions mimic Wobblers Syndrome’s symptoms, and that the only effective way to accurately diagnosis Wobblers is through a mylogram procedure, a test where dye is injected into the dog’s spinal column.
Wobblers normally first appears in a dog’s hind legs as a slight uncoordinated gait, and then can escalate to the front legs as well. Severely affected dogs move like they’re drunk, especially when they’re walked into sharp a turn. In the early stages of the disease’s progression, an unsuspecting owner might simply conclude that the dog is just clumsy.
The method now used to treat Wobblers Syndrome depends on the current state of the disease, and can include the use of corticosteroids, a neck brace and, as the last resort, surgery. The surgical procedure used to treat and correct the syndrome typically involves fusing together the two unstable vertebrae, which relieves pressure on the spinal cord. Surgery, however, isn’t always successful, and can cause more stress to occur on the adjoining vertebrae, which can cause reoccurring pain and instability. Dogs that undergo the surgery, on the other hand, usually live long and pain free lives with little or no need for additional treatment.