Wobbler syndrome, or cervical spondylomyelopathy, is a disease that affects the cervical spine. Compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots causes neurological symptoms. While wobbler syndrome can occur in any dog, large- and giant-breed dogs are at greater risk. In addition, some breeds do show a predisposition.
Wobbler syndrome causes an altered or wobbly gait, neck pain and stiffness, weakness, partial or complete paralysis, shoulder muscle loss and unevenly worn toenails. Your dog may experience difficulty getting up from a seated or lying position.
Given that wobbler syndrome is more prevalent in large and giant breeds, fast growth is suspected to play a role. The two breeds with the greatest incidence of wobbler syndrome are Dobermans and Great Danes. Typically, Dobermans develop the disease later in life while Great Danes show symptoms around 3 years of age. Other breeds showing predisposition include Rottweilers, mastiffs, Weimaraners, German shepherds, Irish wolfhounds, basset hounds, Bernese mountain dogs and Swiss mountain dogs.