Friday, September 21, 2007

What is Wobbler's Syndrome anyway?

Wobbler's Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects primarily Great Danes and Dobermans. Other breeds can be affected by it but it predominantly shows up in Danes and Dobies. Signs of Wobbler's often show in the early "growing" years with Danes and in the middle years with Dobies.

Clinical definitions and the textbook signs to look for didn't always measure up with the symptoms that Zane was exhibiting.

In Zane, here's what Wobbler's looks like:

  • Walks with his head down....generally in line with his back, doesn't carry his head high and proud.

  • Rear legs don't move in sync with his front legs and looks very clumsy. When running, it looks like his back legs aren't keeping up with the front legs. He will use a jumping motion with the back legs to keep up with the front.

  • Tips over easily. Poor center of gravity. Loses balance while running and falls flat on his side.

  • Knuckling over with paws on any of his legs.

  • Difficulty coordinating his motions when tired. Has trouble getting in the van once he is tired. It's as if he doesn't know which foot to move next.

  • Incomplete head shakes. He does an abbreviated form of head and body shaking. He doesn't get a full ear flop going. He can't shake the water off after a bath or dip in the doggie pool.

  • Ineffective scratching....just can't get his leg to connect with that itch.

  • Holds head at a tilt.

  • Toenails are angled outward and worn down from dragging on the ground when he is knuckling over. They are hardly ever long enough to trim.

In the midst of all the symptoms, Zane still runs around and plays like any other dog. He gets into mischief, by digging up my plants and trees. He loves to dig holes under the deck and lay in the fresh wet clay. He will play chase the Pointer with the ball and terrorize the Lab looking for bunnies in the woods. Counter surfing is Zane's specialty and he always knows when we have, by accident, left something within his reach. His favorite grab was a huge apple pie that flipped over on the way down to the floor. Bad dog!

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