View Full Version : i have a question, i hope someone can help........

05-19-2006, 05:12 PM
:? hi there i am new to this site, could someone please help me out here? does anyone one know what they mean by a choppy gait, it has to do with wobbler disease, i think my 12yr old dog has it, so could someone tell me what it means? thanks bunches

05-19-2006, 06:35 PM
Wobblers syndrome is caused by a narrowing or malformation of the spinal cervical (neck) vertebrae which causes pressure on the spinal cord by the lower cervical (neck) vertebrae due to either a malformation of the vertebra or a malocclusion (when the vertebrae do not come together properly). This causes anywhere from a mild, to a severe affect in the dogs gait.. Other conditions can mimic the symptoms. The only definitive diagnosis of Wobblers Syndrome or Spondololithesis, is a mylogram where dye is injected into the spinal column and then the neck is flexed and x-rayed.
Breeds affected: - Dobermans and Great Danes primarily - young Danes more commonly affected. Dobermans - young and old, can grow through the problem as youngsters, more commonly seen in middle aged to older Dobermans (3 to 9 years of age) Other breeds who have a similar if not identical syndrome described include the Boxer, Basset, Bull Mastiff, St. Bernard, Weimeraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Irish Setter, and the Borzoi. Males are affected more often, in a ratio of 2:1

The cause of Wobblers Syndrome is unknown, although a link to fast growth and genetics is suspected. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, "The cause is unknown, although rapid growth rates and nutrition, mechanical factors, and genetics may be implicated." Some breeders say that there has been a marked decrease in the incidence of not only Wobblers Syndrome, but other diseases that occur during the early, fast growth stages of Great Danes, when weight is kept down and growth rate has been slowed nutritionally.
Symptoms usually appear first in the rear legs as a mild uncoordination in gait (ataxia) and can escalate to involvement of the forelegs as well. The severely affected dog moves like a drunk and the uncoordination shows up most when the dog is walked and then moved sharply into a turn. An unsuspecting owner might simply conclude that his older puppy was just clumsy. Overly clumsy young Great Danes should be Wobbler suspects.
In Great Danes, Wobblers Syndrome most commonly appears from 10 months to a year and a half of age although it can manifest as old as 4 or 5 years, and as young as 5 weeks. In Doberman Pinschers it usually doesn't appear until the dog is 4 or 5 years old.

A veterinarian will do a neurological work up on the dog and this often includes not only cervical spine x-rays, but a mylogram x-ray. A mylogram is not only dangerous to the dog, but is expensive. The owner should thoroughly investigate the advisability of this procedure, especially since if it is Wobblers Syndrome, surgery may not be the best option.
Treatment of Wobblers Syndrome can include the use of corticosteroids, a neck brace and surgery. The surgery fuses the 2 unstable vertebrae which relieves the pressure on the spinal cord. Unfortunately this also puts further stress on adjoining vertebrae which can cause instability to recur in them. Many Wobblers can live a long and pain free life with little or no treatment. Others deteriorate quickly and euthanasia then becomes the only kind choice.


As far as choppy gait goes.........gait often refers to a dog's stance, how well the joints work and so on and so forth. So a choppy gait could reffer to his joint movement being "choppy" (weak, misplaced, etc, etc)

Canine locomotion can be compared to a symphony orchestra playing a composition. "All parts must blend into a harmonious pattern, from the gentle sway of the head and tail for balance to the coordinated efforts of each limb and body muscle to accomplish its special function. Conversely, also like an orchestra, if all movements are not attuned to the whole, a major fault should be evident" (Roy 1971) .
The canine structure is divided into segments when analyzing motion. The axial vertebral column is made up of many joints and is divided into anatomical segments. The cranial segment is the head, followed caudally by the neck (cervical), thoracic, abdominal (lumbo-sacral), and tail. The appendicular segments are the front legs and the back legs. These are subdivided into smaller segments by the leg joints: shoulder, elbow, carpus, hip, stifle, tarsus & phalanges. Locomotion as a whole is a result of the individual movements of these segments. Gait analysis is used to assess the movement of each of the individual joints and how they affect locomotion.

05-19-2006, 06:43 PM
Thank you "just another dog lover" i did'nt understand what they were talking about when they said gait, but now i do, thanks so much!