Wobbler's Syndrome and Dog Wheelchairs
|Great Danes and Doberman Pinchers are breeds that are most often seen afflicted with Wobbler's Syndrome. A K9 Cart may be helpful during rehabilitation or in more severe cases who are not eligible for surgery.|
It is time to talk about serious enemies lurking out there in the lives of large breed dogs, especially in Great Danes and Doberman Pinchers. This is a condition know as Wobblers Syndrome or Cervical Vertebral Instability. There are seven cervical vertebrae or bones that make up a dog's neck. In Wobbler's syndrome, the last three cervical vertebrae, i.e., five, six, or seven, are the culprit. Wobbler’s Syndrome is well described as evidenced by a wobbly gait. It is assumed to be caused by a genetic deficit seen in mature Great Danes and Doberman Pinchers, but nutrition may also play a role in enhancing the expression of the disease in these breeds too. The condition has a subtle onset caused by a progressive instability of these lower cervical vertebrae.
|The fifth to seventh cervical vertebrae or bones of the spinal cord in the dogs neck have instability in Wobbler's syndrome.|
How does Wobbler's Disease Progress?
Nature attempts to correct this instability by building excessive connective tissue over the unstable intervertebral space (or space between each vertebrae.) Connective tissue plays a vital role in joining bones in the neck and muscles to our bones. But too much of anything can be a problem. Alas, the buildup of this connective tissue bulges into the cervical spinal cord or the pathway that provides nervous connections of signals from the brain to the limbs. The result is functional loss in front followed by loss of the lower motor tracts or nervous connections that are supplying the commands for the rear limbs as well or vise versa. Fortunately, cervical vertebral instability is typically not painful. More often than a dog with Wobbler's syndrome will have a wide stance in back and swinging gait or movements that resemble a drunken sailor.
How Is Wobbler's Syndrome Diagnosed?
Wobbler's syndrome should be suspected in Doberman pinchers and Great Danes with gait abnormalities and no signs of overt neck pain. X-ray images of the neck can be helpful, but a definitive diagnosis is made either by an X-ray imaging study injecting dye into the spine called a "myelogram" or with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies of the neck.
How to Treat Cervical Vertebral Instability?
Medical treatment is of limited success. Surgical decompression is effective providing it is done before permanent damage to the spinal cord has occurred. Specialized surgical treatment by a veterinary surgeon or neurologist is necessary for a successful outcome. Nursing care often extends over a long period of time and is complicated by the size of the animal and the support system needed during convalescence.
How Can a K9 Cart Dog Wheelchair Help?
A K-9 Cart fitted properly is invaluable in recovery by maintaining a level of function and mobility while healing progresses. The support provided by a two-wheel or quad dog wheelchair gives these animals a better quality of life, regardless of any whether surgical treatment is performed or not. Pet owners who are faced with these problems no longer need to grunt and groan every time they need to take their pup out for a walk. A cart eliminates the need for awkward towels and harnesses used by owners struggling to help their beloved pets achieve even the smallest amount of mobility.
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