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Wobblers Doberman Questions

Neurological Disorders Resources. Treatment and care for pets having pain or trouble walking or standing due to spinal injuries or neurological disorders like IVDD, FCE and DM.

Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby AtSam » Tue May 08, 2007 4:06 am

Hello All,

I have a 9 year old Dob, who showed some signs of wobblers ( trouble with stair, hardwood floors and knuckling under sometimes) and last week went down and could not get up. We had her into the vets for some x-rays of her hind as she was not using one leg too much. When we got home she was never right and very wobbly and I think she must have fell. Took her to the vets when she could not move and it was recommended to have her put down.

We asked if there was anything that could be done and the answer was not really unless you wished to remortgage the house. She was put on Steroids to see what would happen. The next day there was a little improvement but not much. The second day she tried to stand but fell as she has no balance.

We took her home and now feel we might have bite off more than we can handle. A few question.

Can you bring a dog back from a state like this without spending thousands of dollars. I do not think a MIR is in order as it was around $2000.

We are having a lot of trouble trying to get her to go to the bathroom. I think she still has control and is holding things in. I was able to get her to pee and she does let it go in when she is sleeping. Afterwards she seems very upset and shakes. Very little bowl movements in 4 days. Should I be worried?

Major trouble lifting her up. How do you lift a large dog properly? She is 85 pounds but was in very good shape. Not overweight at all. We have been using a sling but I read on should never lift a dog around the abdomen. I use it mostly around the rib cage is this not OK?

We are taking her to a chiropractor and he feels he might be able to get her back on her feet as she does have movement in all limbs but not much control and zero balance. After four day she is trying to get up but falls over. We are taking turns and have he on 24 hour watch.

Day 5 now and she has shown improvement but how long can we look after her 24 hours a day.

Where can one turn to get advice on the rights and the wrongs. The vet was wonderful but there is only so many things to ask all the time.

Thanks for any help,

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Re: Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby thomas » Tue May 08, 2007 6:04 am

hi there
its so hard isnt it , the way i see it is that anything is possible even if the vets say different, so keep at it ..... but dont turn your life upside down you need to find a way that you and your dog can be happy . the vets said to me to put my dog down but i didnt and even i never expected him to walk again but he is proving every one wrong and it has only been 7mths . you should express the bowel though . sorry i dont have any answers for you. this is all new to me as well
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Re: Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby GabrielDeafBlindPupFamily » Tue May 08, 2007 6:13 am

AtSam, do you know it is wobblers? Sounds like the vet didn't make a definitive diagnosis? I believe if it were me, I'd get a 2nd opinion and ask the doc about bowel movements. They do need to have them.
You feel she has bladder control, if you put a puppy pee pad under her, there is supposed to be a scent in the pad that draws the puppy to it to go.
You can 'towel' walk her, with one of you on each side, with a large bath or beach towel supporting her entire torso with no undue strain on any particular part of it.
Go up top to the products page and look at harnesses - help walk category there are products that you might find useful.
Let us know how the chiropractor goes.
Karen, Andy's ^i^ mom
Lethal White Aussies Rule!
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Re: Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby Debbie-Spain » Tue May 08, 2007 1:25 pm

I know Wobblers is fairly typical in Dobermans but I wonder if the vet ruled out vestibular syndrome? That would affect her balance too and is not unusual in older dogs; the prognosis is generally good although it may take a while to recover.

If you get confirmation it is Wobblers, you could see whether the vet would be prepared to try a neck brace. I know the website below, which is about gold bead implants, we use them here for different conditions that respond well to acupuncture, but obviously that is very much personal choice. However, the site does picture the dog with a neck brace and has some other interesting info:

Wobblers: is there an alternative to surgery?

Here is a site on a great dane with Wobblers that was inspired by the above site:

Hope this helps and that your dog is feeling better soon...

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Re: Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby AtSam » Tue May 08, 2007 6:12 pm


Funny you mention this. Before she went down she was walking around like she was really old. Head down, wobbly, and doing in circles between the kitchen and the living room. Not once did she complete the circle she would turn around and almost fall. Front legs seemed to criss cross. She has a look of being confused and lost.

An hour before in the back yard she keep walked from the door to a gate we have and back without going into the yard. Again very confused , wobbly and lost.

She was put under for the x-rays and it just seemed like she never came out of it.

As for function she is doing better on Day 5 but I notice she does move the knuckle on her front legs. She we stand on command with little or not help to get up but once up we have to place her legs and the look of confusion is back.

I will take her into the vet tomorrow and see what they say.

Thank you to everyone that replied.

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Re: Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby SnowyWhiteGSD » Tue May 08, 2007 10:49 pm

You may not get a chance to read my post until after your vet visit tomorrow, but I hope you do.

I have to be honest, and say that any 'vet' that would recommend euthanizing a dog without further examination by a neurologist would not get a 'second' visit from me with my dog.

If you are in FLORIDA I highly recommend that you contact the University of Florida in Gainesvelle and ask for a consult with Dr. Chrisman. If you are not in Florida, find a NEUROLOGIST that can give you a more experienced point of view. (No disrespect intended to your vet).

I would have a COMPLETE bloodpanel done on your dog, SuperChem and CBC, and ask for a COPY of the bloodwork for your records. So many times an infection will show on the CBC in elevated white cell count.

If your dog is currently on pred, some of the liver enzymes will no doubt be elevated, but still I would have the blood work done.

Now my next statement is not meant to be 'harsh' but after 9 yrs of local companionship, consider the cost of her exam to be for 'time well spent'. Having said that I will tell you that my 12 yr old German Shepherd had to have spinal surgery that was near 5 grand, but after TWELVE years of loyal companionship, never costing us a penny for medical help you can see how easy it was to justify the cost to help our Snowy. It works out to be a little over a DOLLAR a day. She WAS paralyzed and is now walking under her own power, quite well I might add. It sounds like your devotion to your dog is equal to her devotion to you or you would not be here.

With regards to harnesses, with a large dog, I STRONGLY recommend that you get a harness of some sort, to help your dog AND to help you. We have ALL of the harnesses that are listed on the products page, save for the one listed on the link below, and I wish I had seen this one FIRST. I think it is what you need to help get your dog up and around without further harm.

It is meant for larger dogs (a german shepherd is shown), it doesn't put stress on the spine or neck, and I am going to get this harness for my other dog (just in case I need it) Putting pressure on the 'wrong spot' on larger dogs can have its own consequences.

Defecation: Depending on how much your dog is eating, not being able to elminate can have DIRE consequences as well. When Snowy first 'went down' she did not defecate for almost 5 days, but she had little if anything to eat, so we were not concerned. BUT, with any LOWER spinal compression, their ability to defecate on their own is compromised. If she is 'eating normally' please have your vet show you how to stimulate to allow for defecation. Passing urine is even MORE important, as is making sure that they are drinking enough to stay hydrated. Not drinking enough will cause confusion just like it would in a human from dehydration.

I am also a HUGE fan of accupunture, and the gold bead implants are highly recommended for many medical conditions. Don't overlook this type of treatment, or even acupunture for that matter.

Once last important note, even though you are on '24-hr watch' be sure to restrict her movements, so she doesn't do further damage to herself. There is also a 'sleepPEEtime" bed that you can get (or make) that will keep her 'dry' at night. There are also 'underpads' that you can put where she sleeps to absorb any 'accidents' or even a diaper to help. If she is elimating when she sleeps, she is losing some bladder control, and needs to be 'expressed' during the day. Remember, don't try to express her in doors. A house trained dog won't be able to 'go' easily, since they are house broken. We made this mistake with Snowy the first day after she paralyzed, but once we walked her 'outside' and tried to express her, she 'went'.

Also, if the 'disorientation' happens soon after eating, she can also be hepatic encephalopathy caused by her inability for her liver to process protein. Bloodwork will tell you what her liver enzymes levels are (ALT, ALKP and BUN Blood urea nitrogen) BUN will tell you if lethal levels of Nitrogen are affecting her brain.

I am not a vet, but I'll tell you that unless YOU insist on the diagnostic test being done, many vets won't even suggest them. From their standpoint .. you are a DOG lover, if something happens to this one, chances are you will get another one (and another client will exist). I know I cynical but I have seen this happen SO many times it is truly sad.

I have cared for special needs dogs for over ten years, and the JOY of seeing them recover and surprise the 'doubting thomas' FAR outweight any costs to care for them. Some don't fully recover, but their JOY for life amazes even me! I am not a vet, nor do I want to be one, but many of the vets in my area now ask ME what I doing to help these dogs. Our attitude helps our dogs more than we can imagine. They truly draw strength from us, as long as we are willing to give it.

God Bless.
Saving one dog may not change the world, but it WILL change the world for one dog!!
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Re: Wobblers Doberman Questions

Postby AtSam » Wed May 09, 2007 11:51 pm


Thank you for such a detailed reply. I have read everything you wrote and do not disagree with any of it.

She has complete control of her bowels which was why she would not go. In the morning we moved her outside onto the deck and I fed her, gave her water and her pills then just let her enjoy the early morning. After about 40 minutes she did her business all by herself without me trying to do anything for her. She is not fond of peeing on herself but I wash her up afterwards.

Since this worked in the morning we tried it again at night. It worked again but was more like 1.5 hours after she ate. She is even trying to get up just before she goes so I know now she has everything working in this area. She just would not move her bowels in the house. The peeing is different she has let that go a few times. We are working a setting up a better schedule for that.

I did not take her to the Vets today. There did not seem to be any reason to as she has everything working down below.

Now the good news. Tonight I seen a major change in her behaviour. She barked very loud when my daughter came in the house. There was no notice of anyone coming and going unless they talked to her. She is sleeping with her paws over her face again like she does. She is trying to move more and flipping her hips from one side to the other.

I did take her to the Chiropractor and he worked on her spine for about 15 minutes. All the way there and home she was trying to look out the windows. I am now thinking she might come back to us as the dog we knew.

I do not have anything to keep her in to control her movement. We will have to get something as she is too big for her cage (house as we call it). We have not had the door on it in years. She used it during thunder storms and if she was in trouble for something. Something like a safe haven. It is the biggest they sell and she sticks out the front. I will come up with something in the morning. Not sure just how long she is but I know she has no trouble looking on the kitchen counter to see what is there.

Thanks again for all replies, the weekend was very trying but as we learned what to do things started to calm down.
Steve in Toronto, Canada

Spice is a gem of a doberman. 9 years old
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