Wobbler's syndrome, or cervical vertebral instability (CVI), affects doberman pinschers and other large, fast-growing dog breeds. Wobbler's syndrome is painful and makes it difficult for the doberman to walk.
Older dobermans and young Great Danes are the most frequent victims of wobbler's syndrome. The condition occurs when malformed or unstable neck vertebrae compress the spinal cord.
Dobermans with CVI have a wobbly gait, especially noticeable in their hind legs. They may also walk with their heads down to alleviate neck pain. In severe cases, dogs may have problems standing.
Dobermans with untreated wobbler's syndrome may eventually rupture a disc, leaving them unable to walk.
To prevent wobbler's syndrome, doberman owners should use a harness rather than a leash on their dogs. This precaution prevents neck pressure and injury.
If your veterinarian suspects your doberman has wobbler's syndrome, she will order diagnostic tests. They could include x-rays or a CT scan to assess damage to the neck and spinal cord.
Your veterinarian may prescribe up to a month of restricted activity or cage rest for your doberman, as well as pain and anti-inflammatory medication. If your dog's condition does not improve, he may order surgery.