Wobblers syndrome, what's that?

On Christmas eve Zeus the Bouvier des flandres was chasing a ball in the backyard as he always loves to do. After picking up the ball on one occasion, his owners noticed him walking very wobbly and it looked like he was in pain when moving his neck. He could not even bend down to eat or drink.

Zeus' owners brought him straight in to see us. The veterinarian examined Zeus and found that he had acute neck pain, which was causing him to be ataxic (wobbly in his hind legs). His treatment was to keep him strictly confined and on anti-inflammatories for a week.

A week had passed and Zeus was no better. He still had pain in his neck and he was not walking any better. His veterinarian suggested to see a specialist (Neurosurgeon) at the Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre.

The specialist examined Zeus and suspected he had "Wobbler's syndrome". Wobbler's syndrome is a condition which can be caused by disk instability or disk protrusion. The specialist suggested to have a myelogram performed.

A myelogram is a diagnostic procedure where a radiopaque dye is injected into the spinal canal. Radiographs are then taken which can pick up disk disease, narrowing of the spinal canal and even tumours.

Zeus had to be anaesthetised for this procedure. The myelogram showed that a disk had herniated and was pressing against Zeus' spinal cord, causing him pain and not being able to control his hind legs.

Surgery was to be performed to relieve the pressure on Zeus' spinal cord. The surgery consisted of drilling out a part of the problem disk until pressure on the spinal cord had been relieved.

Zeus' surgery went very well. He still has to be confined for 6 weeks after surgery to make sure he heals well but it could take several months until he fully recovers.