Wobbler’s Disease


 Another serious disease afflicting young adult Danes is Wobbler’s disease. There is compression of the spinal cord from a skeletal abnormality or instability in the cervical spine. The vertebrae of the neck pinch the spinal cord, causing symptoms of weakness, lack of co-ordination, wobbliness (hence, the name), and a strange scuffling walk. It doesn’t seem to be a painful disease, for the dog at least, though they can be confused or frightened. They seem almost drunk, though they are alert and responsive.

X-rays alone cannot give a 100% diagnosis of Wobblers. A myelogram, which is a fancy xray using a dye to show where and how severe the cord compression is, is both expensive and risky. Dogs can have allergic reactions to the dye, they can suffer damage to the spinal cord, and the cost will be $1000 or more. Deciding whether or not to do this, it is wise to ask your vet that if  the myelogram worth the risk.

Treatment for Wobblers often involves corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation and swelling. Often there is also the use of pain meds, though why I’m not sure unless it is for the arthritic changes in the spine. Spinal surgery is usually a “last resort”, and costs for a dog the size of a Dane runs into the several thousands. If there are complications from the surgery, you could easily shell out $10,000. 

The surgery doesn’t repair the nerve damage that is done–it only prevents more damage from happening. The surgery is not a “fix” nor is it without risk. Some newer treatments include specially implanted beads http://www.durkesanimalhospital.com/Default.aspx , physical therapy, or homeopathic remedies. Each dog is different, each owner is different, so all the various treatment options need to be thoroughly discussed. Please do check out the link in the blogroll to a Wobbler’s support group. They are building a database, and they know the ins and outs of this disease first hand.

I would recommend not being “ideological” about treatments, ignoring traditional medicine in favor of alternative treatments or vice versa. With a disease as degenerative and difficult to treat as Wobblers, take a “whatever works” approach. Combinations of both traditional veterinary care and alternative treatments are what is called “integrated” medicine.

My brother’s sweet harlequin bitch, Ashleigh has Wobblers. She has her good days and her bad ones, being 9 years old. They cannot afford even the cost of routine steroids, but her quality of life is still good. For now. Many Danes with Wobblers will live several more years, even untreated, though the disease will continue to worsen. Eventually, your big friend will suffer near paralysis, forcing you to either provide round the clock care or euthanize.

Like dysplasia, there is a genetic component and an environmental component to the onset and progression of Wobbler’s disease. A diet high in protien, calcium, and phosphorous can severely affect the skeleton of a Dane, and so I will say it over and over: NEVER TRY TO FORCE GROWTH IN A GIANT BREED DOG. You are creating a huge threat to your dog’s life for the sake of having the “biggest dog on the block”. Let them grow slow and steady, and they will reach their full potential size without as much risk to their long term health. And you will still have the biggest dog on the block!

A PERSONAL PLEA: Unless you can verify that the extended family tree of your dog’s bloodlines, both father and mother, do not have the inheritable diseases, PLEASE do not breed them. Wobbler’s disease, cancer, and Bloat in particular don’t generally appear until well past the onset of sexual maturity. Bloat is the number one killer of Danes, and having a parent who bloated increases the puppy’s risks as much as fourfold. And be just as diligent about the dog or bitch you wish to breed with.

These diseases can very quickly become epidemic in a breed, in only a few generations. And in Danes, many inherited and deadly diseases are epidemic, waxing and waning through the generations. Just because your dog or bitch doesn’t show signs of Wobblers, cancer, bloat, or dysplaysia doesn’t mean they don’t carry and pass on the genetic risks. Every single puppy from every single litter carries a 25% chance of developing an illness their parents either developed or carried the genetic risks for.

PLEASE DO NOT BREED DOGS THAT HAVE COMMON AND DEADLY ILLNESSES IN THEIR FAMILY HISTORIES. You as a casual pet owner really do not need to be breeding your dogs, as there are so many unwanted dogs available in rescues and pounds, and also from professional breeders who take great care in producing puppies that are exceptional representatives of their breeds.

Because you love your dogs and think they are terrific, isn’t a reason to breed them.This is especially true if you cannot verify the extended family veterinary history. We as dog owners have the responsibility not to perpetuate suffering in the creatures we love, however unintentionally. And breeders have the responsibility to their puppy buyers not to sell the heartache and sorrow of an untimely lost love along with the puppy. 

PLEASE SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PETS.

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148 Comments

  1. M Klinginsmith

     /  June 2, 2008

    I have a Great Dane 11 mo. old he started a week ago limping one hind leg went to vet he gae him a cortizone shot and it got better for a few days . Then he started limping both back legs and very unsteady he can not stand on our hard wood floors.

    Reading your article I am afraid it is woblers we are having x-rays in two days my vet says they may or may not tell us what is up but he thinks we should try. It is ither that or a very expencive MRI at WSU.

    Reply
    • sunny

       /  July 29, 2009

      I have a great dane! He was diagnosed with Wobbler in age of 7 months. I have put him to small walks only, no other activitys, changed his food to adult dog food (less calcium) reduced his food for 30% and putted 1 meal out (2 instead of 3). After 3 months we started to run and make some exercises, we started the ring dresure and dog shows. He has become some great titles! and I think he is recovered (hope so).

      Reply
      • That’s wonderful! I’m so glad he’s recovered enough to enjoy a full life with you. -Lisa

      • casey

         /  September 21, 2011

        wondering what food it was you tried my dog was just recently diagnosed with wobblers and want to get the best food I can for him
        thanks, and good luck I kow its a hard road!

    • steven

       /  April 27, 2010

      I have a 12month old male dane that started limping about a month ago in his right front leg. We had him x-rayed and the vet said it was wobbler’s disease. I not 100% confindent in what he thinks because he does not seem to sure of himself when he explains to me what going on. Any info that you could provide me with would be awesome.
      Thank You
      Steven malone

      Reply
      • Gail Reid

         /  April 28, 2010

        Hi Steven

        I know it is not always easy to do but I would look for a vet who specialises in Wobblers as it also seems to me this vet is very unsure.
        When we had Dylan an MRI was done and it was this that confirmed it was Wobblers. The vet who refered Dylan to the specialist had also done an x-ray first and said that this would not fully show if it was wobblers or not and that only the MRI would. Although he couldn’t do this himself he recognised it as he is the vet for the GreatDane Adoption Society.
        In Dylan the Wobblers affected his rear legs not his front but when I have read up on this condition it can show in the front i believe.
        As I said I would seek a vet who knows about this condition for then you also know what can be done.
        Hope this helps

  2. Hansel

     /  July 11, 2008

    This mornig we had to take out dane to the vet. They tool us he might have wobblers…but he acts more like he’s dizy or light headed, falling over or stagering, after running normal for 40 yrds or so…..as he staires at you and his head just floats and he looks dayzed…is this wobblers or could this be something else… they also think it could be cardiomyopathy?…dose anyone have any ideas…

    Reply
  3. Oh my, poor guy. The sudden weirdness of gait does sound like wobblers, but usually the dog is still very aware of themselves and alert. Scared or confused by what’s happening to them, but not dazed. I have a couple other ideas besides wobblers for you to ask the vet about if it helps.
    1) does the head tilt at a funny angle? Checking out the inner ear might be worth a try: if the inner ear isn’t adjusting to his running about, he could lose his balance.
    2) brain tumors can also cause sudden spells like this, coming and going unpredictably and sometimes disappearing altogether for awhile before returning.
    3) some forms of epilepsy can cause the dazed look and lack of body control, often setting in during periods of activity or excitement,
    4) and heart issues also can affect stamina, but not affect their awareness, so I would consider small strokes, called TIA to be more likely than cardiomyopathy. (trans-ischemic attacks).
    Hopefully this helps give you other things to talk to your vet about. On the blog is a link to a yahoo group for owners of dogs with Wobblers, who are very knowledgable about the disease, and sometimes Wobbler’s “look alike” illnesses.
    Since some possible causes of your dogs’ problem can be treated, if your vet suggests you take him to a veterinary college and you can afford it, I definitely would. Do keep us updated if you want?

    Reply
  4. Janet T

     /  February 21, 2009

    Truman, my Blue GD almost 11 years, was diagnosed with possible wobblers @ Univ of Fl small animal clinic ,6 years ago.
    I was there treating my female dane for bone cancer. When she passed, I noticed Truman hanging is head, and slipping alot on floor and even collapsing. He was 5 @ the time, & also had a broken leg @ 3mo old. He has a plate W/ screws holing it together. I changed his food to Eagle holistic and cooked for him from that day on. Limited his exercise to whatever he wanted and synomvieG3 granules, thats it. He is still around, but now slowing down & losing weight. Vet put him on prednisone and I see an improvement, but I notice his paws curling now. Knockles to the ground in back, which is where he broke his leg. He eats what I cook for him and only wants to do his business outisde and come right back in. He lays around all day & night except to eat. He was panting some before steriods, & still after. I don’t think he’s in pain, but not real happy. When he is not happy he cries usually, and he is not doing that. I will not put him under anestesia, he has a terrible time with it, but I am sick over what do next for him.
    Since his broken leg @ 3months, he was a cuddly couch potatoe, so he continues living that way, but losing muscle mass and getting weaker. I really don’t know what else to do! :-(

    Reply
  5. angie hamel

     /  May 1, 2009

    Hello,

    I have a 5 year old male Dane named Cosmo. In recent months we have noticed his back legs shaking or quivering. His legs quiver when he first stands up, or if he stretches out when he’s sleeping they will start shaking a bit. It only last for a few seconds. Other than that he seems normal. He is running up and down the stairs, jumping in bed, and rough housing with his sister. His gait is normal. He is not showing any signs of pain either. The shaking is definitely becoming more pronounced. We walk everyday for about 20 min and now people are starting to ask “why are his legs shaking?”
    We are going to take him in for x-rays and blood tests. Anyone out there ever experience this? I really don’t think it’s Wobblers.
    Thanks very much,
    Angie and Cosmo

    Reply
    • lauren v

       /  May 7, 2009

      Hi Angie,
      My 4yr old Dane was diagnosed with Wobblers just over a year ago. He was a very active pup… but had some small issues including being very clumsy and shaking like you are describing. His gait was also a bit off, but it was not until he was 3 that we really started to notice how much touble he was having. He began falling, struggling to jump or go up/down stairs & he couldn’t finish our walks without being exhausted. He was literally dragging his paws on the concrete! If it is Wobblers that Cosmo has, the Xray probably won’t show much. I would ask your vet if they know of anyone who specializes in Danes or Wobblers. We have been able to mostly stabalize our Danes Wobblers with limited activity (let him do only what he can), diet, and the use of steroid treatments as needed. Our vet has been so proactive and wonderful helping us handle this. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • angie hamel

         /  May 7, 2009

        Thank you so much for your input. Cosmo went today for x-rays but unfortunately couldn’t get them, he will have to be sedated and he had just eaten the hour before they were unable to do the x-rays at todays visit. Our vet did an orthopedic exam and didn’t see any signs of Wobblers. Neck good and gait looked normal. She did see stiffness in his hips. At this point if the blood work comes back clean she’s pretty certain it’s arthritis or hip dysplasia. We’ll know more when he goes in early next week for full hip and neck x-rays. Feeling a little better now.
        Thanks for sharing.

    • Dennis Hirstius

       /  May 12, 2009

      I have been raising Doberman for about 30 years and we encounter the same maladies. Dobes get Wobblers, dysplacia and on and on. My only reply to you is that the breeding of theses dogs has increased the occurance of these diseases and there is not much you can do about it. It has been said that you should know the complete breeding history of your line but my experience says that is all but impossible. Impossible because of the greed of the breeders. I have encounted falseifide pedigrees and phony registrations and on and on. The AKC will tell you in a flash that they are a club only and rely only on the word of the breeder. There is no Policeing of the breeding that is truly reliable. You might think that paying thousands for a dog with guarantees removes the risk but that simply is not the truth. Read the guarantee closely, even if it’s enforceable for years to come you will still have only civil legal recourse and that isnt likely to happen. I hate to rain on your parade but the treatment for may of the ills today are only temporary. Steroids are great temporay relief but have you read up on the side effects of steroids. Try reading up on Prednisone, it will scare you. Just because your dog’s legs shake at times does not necessairly mean he has Wobblers. If he does there isnt much you can do anyway, just dont let him suffer. Dont rush to judgement and question everything your vet says. These days the vets are as greedy as the breeders. Dont just go along with every suggestion they make, it will break you and your dog will still pass on eventually. I have two on Predisone right now, I know it wont cure anything but it eases there suffering. About the blood test, why are you taking blood, what are they hoping to find in his blood? Wobbler isnt determined by blood test. Limedisease maybe, do you suspect Lime? Get my point? The vet is going to run as many test as you will allow.
      I wish you good luck Angie & Cosmo and if you like you can respond directly to me. My guess is that you are a young couple and quite attached to your pet. That makes you vulnerable to the pittfalls. I’ll bet no one told you the problems having a Dane you are likely to encounter.

      Reply
      • angie hamel

         /  May 12, 2009

        Hi Dennis,
        Thanks for your input. Cosmo is going for x-rays next week, he has to be sedated. After an orthopedic exam our vet is almost certain it’s hip dysplasia or arthritis.He has noticeable stiffness in his hips. She wanted to do a blood test to check for thyroid and possibly Addisons disease. He hasn’t had his blood checked except for his annual heartworm test so we thought it was a good idea to check for everything. I haven’t even started to check into treatment (meds) for arthritis or dysplasia. She did recommend we start him on Glucosamine. We’ll get the final diagnosis next week after the x-rays.
        Thanks.

    • Heather

       /  November 9, 2009

      Hi,

      I came across your message. I have a 5 year old great dane, Tucker, whose hind legs shake similar to your dog. I was curious if you have an offical diagnosis. Tucker’s hind legs shake most of the time. He doesn’t seem in pain but it seems to annoy him some times. Also, his sister has wobblers which seems completely different.

      Reply
      • Angela

         /  November 9, 2009

        Hi Heather,

        Thankfully our vet was correct in his diagnosis in believing the meds were causing her intestinal discomfort. Per his recommendation, as soon as we took her off the Metronidazole, she was back to normal. I’ve also stopped all the extra supplements (except the joint & Salmon oil supps) and put her on a lower protein food. Sorry, I wish I could have provided you with more as far as input for Wobblers. :(

  6. Elaine

     /  June 21, 2009

    I have a 2 year old (almost 3) male great dane who was diagnosed with Wobblers (or so the vet thinks) when he was around 13 months. Our vet recommended thought that is what he had and sent us to a surgery center that specializes in orthopedics and CVI problems. The vet there pretty much confirmed his condition. He, like most of you have said, did not recommend a mylogram because it is so hard on their bodies. He is on prednisone and it seems to help. I also switched his food to Eagle Holistic Select and I have seen an improvement in his behavior and his movement as well. Does anyone else have any helpful tidbits of information? I would be willing to try ANYTHING that would help him feel more comfortable. The main problem I have with him is that he will not walk on a floor. He fell down (and hit hard) around the time he was diagnosed with Wobblers and to this day.. he will not walk on a floor. We have carpet runners all down our halls and rooms just so he can walk. ANy suggestions?? Danes are such wonderful dogs – it is terrible to see them with this problem. He loved to swim, play ball, and dance with me.. now he is unable to do all of those.

    Reply
    • Janet T

       /  June 22, 2009

      Elaine, I am sorry for your baby’s problem, but don’t let him see your sadness and gloom. Changing his food to Eagle Holistic is great and maybe you can find a holistic doctor to treat with acupuncture, even massage that you can do yourself. Rub his legs up, keeping blood flowing towards his heart. Hip rubs also, my guy loved it. He would wack me when I stopped rubbing. I took his choke chain off also and he didn’t wear a collar for 6 years, not such a great idea if your yard is not gated, but a loose, light collar. Let you puppy be a couch potatoe, no more dancing, but swimming would be helpful with a preserver, just in case. Maybe the wobblers will not progress and be mild, it is possible. I personally think surgery is brutal recovery for them. I don’t like steriods either, but sometimes we have no choice. Check his liver every 3months if he stays on pred. My guy also fell once and was terrified to walk on wood again, so we did the same thing and bought a bunch of runners. He will get use to staying on the runner. They are so smart, he just doesn’t want to fall again. They are more careful than us. Good luck and enjoy every moment with positive attitude. Danes are so sensitive and aware of our feelings, scares me sometimes, but in a good way.
      Good Luck!!

      Reply
    • Thea

       /  July 6, 2009

      My blue dane, Duncan was diagnosed with wobblers about 16 months ago. I opted against surgery and tried accupuncture, massage, etc. I changed his diet to Solid Gold Holistic (basically a low protein). The vet put him on Vetridisc and Dasuquin. Then I bought rug after rug and runner after runner. He was managing, but worried about it all. Then the acupuncturist (who is also a vet) recommended a product called canine corta-flx. It is another glucosamine product, but one that has had successful clinical trials on dogs – is proven to work in other words. Within 3 weeks of using the liquid version, I saw a distinct improvement. He has improved ever since and now the runners are all put away and he chooses to lie on the wood floor again. The vet was shocked when he saw him again last month. He couldn’t believe how well he was moving. It has been a “miracle drug” for Duncan. http://www.corta-flx.com. The bottle says it is sold to veterinarians only. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  7. Sandra Starkey

     /  July 5, 2009

    I don’t have a great dane or doberman but Stella my three year old Saint Bernard just got diagnosed with Wobbler syndrome. She is 140 lbs and was slipping all over our tile floor, finally stopped trying to get up. We got her up, to the vet, and after prednisone she can walk now. I’m hoping for the best but worried. I can’t find much in terms of support groups–I’d love to be part of this one even though she’s not the typical breed for this.

    Reply
    • colleen b

       /  April 28, 2010

      hi sandra, i know you responded a while ago but i have a similar problem. i also have a st bernard just diagnosed with wobblers. i am putting her on prednisone as of tomorrow. i was wondering if you have any news as to what has happened with stella, what treatments you sought, etc… my dog is named bella, she is 21 months old, she alsoo used to be 140lbs, now 120. thanks for the info if you can get it to me.

      Reply
  8. Like I said in the email, Wobblers can affect any dog regardless of breed. I so very much hope Stella gets back on her feet and has a happy life despite her condition. Here’s the link for everyone to the support group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/wobblerssyndrome/

    Reply
  9. Wow, so many false statements left here on this comment list regarding treatment of wobbler dogs that I can’t even begin to address them all. I would just like to put it out there that surgery is a very good treatment option for these dogs. It has a high success rate. I’ve had direct correspondence with people who chose surgery and those who chose gold bead implants. Hands down, the surgical outcomes have been much better off than those who used gold beads. To join a support group for dogs with a variety of neurological issues: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neurodogs I can also be reached at my yahoo email as jwoschultz

    Reply
    • Carolyn

       /  April 21, 2010

      I appreciate your comment. I have a Dane/Mastiff mix who started slipping, falling down in the hind quarters, ‘losing his feet’, and having difficulty going upstairs when he was about 16 months old. I – being the information seeking person I am – started researching his symptoms and took him to our vets right away. We went through the standard exams and one that seems too simplistic before we went in and talked with the docs: they had us walk and run him outside in their yard where the equine borders exercise. The vet explained ‘pacing’ and drew our attention to the sound his feet made on the ground because he was actually dragging them. The vet explained how Wobblers is diagnosed suggested we try certain things first to rule out other conditions before going to the big guns.

      Well, he didn’t respond to treatment over the course of a few months and his symptoms worsened somewhat. Mind you – Truman is a 200 pound Dane with the mass of a Mastiff. He carries quite a massive body on those long Dane legs. We went back to the vet, discussed chiropractic, palliative care and taking him to the University of Tennessee’s Vet School. One concern I had about chiropractic and massage was that Truman had occasional spasms of severe pain that made him howl like he was being torn apart. In my readings, I had seen a warning that if there is anything else going on in that spinal column – like cysts or tumors – these manipulations and treatments could make it worse. I found some people who tried gold bead implant – the closet was about a 9 hour drive.

      So, our vets called over there ( we had been there before with a St. Bernard with congenital heart disease and were impressed with the treatment and kindness). They discussed, took some basic xrays, more labs and in a week or so I took a sick day and we drove the 3 hours to Knoxville. We did the consult, they took him out to the equine stables to weigh him b/c he was too big for their scale. They noted how afraid he was of walking on slick floors. I had bought him boots but my husband didn’t want to embarrass Truman by making him wear them. Anyway, they agreed with what our vet said, reviewed all of the treatment options before introducing the dorsalaminectomy as a treatment option. We agreed to leave Truman overnight so he could fully sedated for the tests, we also gave our permission to proceed with surgery if once they had images, they had a clear idea of what was happening. We left our big baby in their care – and they were tremendous. We drove home and went to work the next day. The surgeon called me at school, explained everything found and that there was also a mass of a cyst growing on either side of the 4th cervical vertebra, which was also the one with spinal compression on the cord. That cyst was the likely cause of his episodes of screaming pain that would come out of nowhere. I told them to go ahead with the surgery. Then I hung up and thought “how the hell are we going to pay for this?’

      We were counseled on what to expect, that Truman would look worse for many weeks while his body repaired itself. That it may take days before he could stand on his own. We were given directions on how to completely limit his movement except to eat and go to the bathroom. HAH! Truman was standing up waiting for them the next morning in the ICU unit and set a record by being released in less than 5 days (most stay 7-10). His recuperation was up and down but we could see in his attitude he FELT better already. This surgery was done in January 2009. Just as described – the damage done could not be undone, so Truman still slips on tile or hardwood floors, struggles with 3 little steps to come in the house, he no longer can make it up on our bed to sleep with us and can’t run for a long period of time. Well – he really doesn’t run! He sashays around the yard.

      At about the 1 year point, we noticed him beginning to hesitate more on the stairs and not going up to our second floor at all. He was taking a little long to bring himself up to a stand from a liedown. The vet started him on some low level anti-inflammatories that helped a very little bit. When we noticed more odd things, we bumped it up a little bit. We were trying to avoid steroids until it is absolutely necessary. Well, nothing was working so we started him on the prednisone – which is a significant dosage at his weight. We did 3 weeks of the protocol until we got to the point of administering 1 dose every other morning. We’ve been doing this for a few months now. We are beginning to see some side effects: unhealthy hair, flaky, thin skin, always thirsty and wow he can pee like a racehorse! A new one is occasional incontinence with bowels but that has been rare.

      I guess this rambling on was to get to the point – there are people who speak to owners in a way that incites a sense of panic or distrust. There is no one treatment that will work for all dogs with Wobblers. We knew that the success rate had just reached 80% at this veterinary school with regard to this type of surgical intervention. To us though, watching out beautiful Truman slowly degenerate and suffer through being crippled was a 100% certainty. I did not have access to many of the alternative methods, I simply can not afford the high standard dog foods. I am a devoted owner who watches my dogs carefully, loves them and seeks out the best people to advise me on their care. (OH – Truman isn’t the only special needs dog we have had) I trust our vets, their techs and assistants. If they don’t have information, they find it or they send us to someone who does. What works for one person on this discussion may not work for others. I read posts in the hope that I can learn about what is to come for Tru b/c it really does seem that prednisone is the only treatment that keeps the inflammation at bay.

      Thanks for reading – and feel free to post replies! I’m on the hunt for information!

      Reply
  10. Dane Lover

     /  August 23, 2009

    I have a Great Dane who has Wobblers and bloated all before the age of 2 years old. His breeder has breed his sister from the same mother but different father. The bloodline has been destoried. The father of my Dane still sells his stud fees on-line and he has the genes. Is there some where to report this so others don’t have to go through the expense and heartbreak of this disease. I would not want anyone to breed with this male nor purchase the puppies that have been recently born from this breeder. Please provide more information if possible. Thanks

    Reply
  11. Angela

     /  August 26, 2009

    I have an 8 month old dobie female who all of a sudden started having a hard time getting up. It seemed she was hesitant to sit up, and more so to stand up. Once up though, she runs, trots, still plays, holds her head just fine, and goes to the bathroom just fine. I have to disclose she is being treated for Kennel cough and Giardia (was at puppy boot camp for 3 weeks), so she’s one three different meds. Could it be gastrointestinal discomfort due to all the meds she’s on? I thought I was doing the right thing by feeding her a large breed puppy food (Wellness), and giving her supplements. But after reading up on wobblers, I’m worried. I’ve contacted her vet and scheduled another appt. Any other suggestions on what it could be if not wobblers?

    Reply
  12. Dennis Hirstius

     /  August 28, 2009

    Angela, I suggest no supplements or meds other than than the meds directly pointed at the syndrome. The food you feed should have all the vitamins necessary and you may be administering so much as to be toxic and aggravate the condition. How’s her weight? Is she heavy…I’ll guess she is. Recently there was some food on the market that aggravated what is being called wobblers. I found that a two week treatment of steriods woked well for my Dobes but be aware that steriods are believed to be carcenogenic. Do your homework (as you are doing now) and don’t let the vet lead you by the nose, if you know what I mean. Vets love to jump to conclusions and run unecessary test. Even if they diagnose wobblers they can only medicate even though some butchers want to operate. Use caution, cut out the supplements and, keeep her weight down and limit her exrecise until she improves is my suggestion. Eight months is too early for this problem to manifest you may have a serious condition. I further suggest that if you have a university in your area that has a vet department you consult them. We have LSU in my area and they are wonderful and not necessarily motivated by the money involved. Good luck!
    DH

    Reply
  13. deva

     /  August 30, 2009

    I have just found out that my great dane has wobblers he is only 9 months old. I thought that he was just clumsy.The older that he is getting the more things are happening,he has just started to walk on his knuckles with his front legs.Its not all the time just every now and then.Sometimes when he is running or walking his back legs go out from under neath him.He is always falling down and slipping on any surface.Is there anything that can help that doent involve the surgury.

    Reply
    • Heather

       /  November 9, 2009

      We had the same problem with our female dane at age 2 and were discouraged with the few treatment options. We tried prednisone and three years later it is still working (knock on wood). She runs and plays with her brother without any stumbling.

      Reply
      • PAM

         /  February 25, 2012

        Heather, my 15 month Great Dane was diagnosed with Wobblers. The x-rays alone were $586.00. I do not want to have her to have the expensive tests. How much prednisone is your Dane on. Will 20mg every other day be too dangerous. What I have found that has really helped her is a soft cervical collar. I refuse to have surgery for her. I am giving her glucosome. She is not in pain and is doing well with the prednisone and collar. I also am looking into doing massage with her which I believe I can do myself. Please I hope you can give me some comfort and positive results.

    • Jacque

       /  March 19, 2011

      I just read your post and I know u posted it awhile ago. My rottie was diagnoised with wobblers and she went down fast. I always thought she was just clumbsy. She had surgery and was able to stand and start walking again. She does underwater treadmill therapy and that helps a lot. I also feed her and my other dog Hill’s J/D in which I saw results in like two weeks. If its fed properly it dont cost much. My rottie is 105 lbs and only gets 3 ounces twice a day.

      Reply
  14. Bev

     /  November 16, 2009

    I have a 7 year old dane with wobblers who has seemed to compensate pretty well with her limitations. She has the choppy, slow walk, falling at times, until she sees a motorcycle and then she’s off like a flash so I don’t think she’s in a lot of pain. The problem now though is a big one. She is dropping stools and doesn’t even seem to realize it. Does anyone know if putting her on prednisone will help this? I don’t want to put her down but after months of cleaning up her bed and floor (which is in the kitchen area) most every day, I’m not sure how long I can do this.

    Reply
  15. Janice

     /  December 2, 2009

    I found your feedback on Wobblers very interesting. We lost our first Great Dane just short of 2 years of a massive heart attack. Needless to say, I was devastated. I had always wanted a dane, and after months of research, we finally chose one from a reknowned kennel, registered, did everything right.

    Anyway, my grief was all-encompassing, then a friend mentioned a great dane litter that she heard about. I said NO, right away, but couldn’t stop thinking of it. Finally, I went to look at them, fell in love with Spencer, brought my husband, and we were the proud parents of a non-registered harlequin boy. Because we live in a rural area, I opted at the same time as he was neutered, to have his stomach sewn in place so that he wouldn’t get bloat.
    When he was 11 months, he developed weakening in the back end. Within a week, he progressed from a slight movement in the back end, to not being able to stand up while pooing , walking like he was drunk and having to be helped up and down the stairs.
    We live in British Columbia, Canada, and our vet urged us to take him to Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for a definitive diagnosis. I took him the next day and they did an MRI on him. He ended up having his neck fused. It was a major operation and recuperation was slow and painful.
    He was 3 years old in September, and is doing well. He does not take any more medication, (I have steroids for him if he gets a flare-up, but it is hard on his kidneys and he goes pee constantly).
    He still has emotional effects from the trauma of it all, and drags his back feet, is clumsy,constantly scraping his legs and feet. He can’t walk on pavement, or his nails bleed. His world is quite small, and he is not socialized very well, but he seems quite happy, and is spoiled rotten.
    I will not ever get another Great Dane, I love the breed, but wasn’t prepared for the heartache at such young ages.
    If you suspect Wobblers Disease, get it diagnosed as soon as possible, because the damage done cannot be reversed, but can be slowed down or stopped for a time.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  December 25, 2009

      I have a 3 year old Great Dane who went down about a month ago. She couldn’t get up at all. After two days with our local vet we took her to the University of Tennessee Hospital. She had an MRI that say and surgery the next. It has been almost a month since her surgery and she still cannot walk. She can hold her head up and has some movement in her legs but she doesn’t have complete control over them. She has been in rehab at UT at a very high daily rate. We had to bring her home for the holidays while they were closed. I was hoping you could give me more details about the length of your Danes recovery. I don’t want to keep putting her through the therapy and discomfort of being down but I also don’t want to give up too soon. UT is telling me that the neuro dept is convinced that she will recover but it will take months. I haven’t seen any improvement in the 4 weeks following the surgery and I am beginning to give up hope.

      Reply
      • Carolyn

         /  April 21, 2010

        Suzanne, I don’t know too much about your dane’s symptoms that took you to UT. I do know that my dog Truman’s recuperation was nothing short of a miracle. The vets and techs there were careful to explain to us that Truman would take months to get back to his best level of functioning. They told us dogs often stay for water therapy, that they need to be crated at all times for safety reasons – sometimes for months. The research I did about this procedure, a dorsal laminectomy, said all the same things. My family was ready for a long haul. It has been, but he spent very little time at that point where recovery is so slow. We were thankful because we are 3 hours from Knoxville and both have jobs that prevent us from constantly taking sick time. I just want you to know that they told us that it could be months before we see any improvement – and that Truman would actually look worse first. He did! I sort of surprised us how awful he appeared but he moved through that phase much faster than anyone believed a dog could. Hang in there, talk to your vets, do some research but don’t let all the scare tactics out there make you second guess yourself.

    • Stephen went

       /  January 12, 2011

      I once said that I would never get another Great Dane after Cassie died of heart failure at six . She was sleek and well maintained and spoiled and absolutley gorgeous. The grief was overwhelming but so is the breed. There is no other dog like a Dane. I am on my fifth and wobblers reared its ugly head at eight months. I suspect unscrupulous overbreeding of the bitch. There are no guarantees BUT wobblers is more prevalent now than ever before and the pros cannot give you a DEFINITIVE answer as to WHY YOUR DOG. Barclays is on Predisone every other day and may be switched to a non-steroidal anti-inflam and I really dont know how long he will live BUT I would get another in a Heartbeat . . .Ill just have to go on giving up the couch ……Stephen

      Reply
    • Jacque

       /  March 19, 2011

      My dog is 9 weeks out of surgery and the only thing that helped her was winstrol and water therapy. It took her over a week to even try to stand up. They would put her in a cart several times a day to help her regain her strength, and it helped so much. She still swings one front leg and drags her front toes a little but she is starting to feel better. We stopped the winstrol for several days and that was horrible. Winstrol helps getting the muscles stronger and imflamation

      Reply
  16. Gail

     /  January 9, 2010

    Our Dane Dylan was diagnosed with wobblers last year and in the March had surgery. Although expected to be in hospital for about 2 months Dylan decided differently and he was up and about within 5days and back home in 10. He was kept on light walks at first but it wasn’t long before he was back to playing wit Gracie our other Dane.
    As Dylan was on steroids prior to his opperation he was weighing in at 15st 10lbs so was put on Royal Canin Obesity Control and did manage to lose 1st.
    He is now on a diet again after seeing an orthopedic vet about his legs joints but is slowly losing the excess weight.
    For Dylan the surgery was the way to go though we were advised it could re-occur.
    Dylan is only 3yrs old and has endured a lot as he also has progressive arthritus.
    I’m not sure if this will help anyone but please if you think your dog has wobblers discuss it thoroughly with your vet the options also the cost. Dylan’s cost £10,000.00 (sorry not sure what this is in $)

    Reply
    • Great news on Dylan! Surgery for our wobblers has come a long way but so many people, general vets included, do not realize that yet. Too many people continue to generalize and say the surgeries are too invasive and have too many risks. Life has risks.
      Try microlactin as a natural anti-inflammatory for Dylan’s arthritis. I use it myself for inflammation and give it to 2 of the dogs in my pack. It really does help with arthritis in their knees due to torn and repaired acls.
      Keep us posted on his progress!

      Reply
      • Gail

         /  January 27, 2010

        Hi There

        Thankyou for you tip on what to give Dylan but unfortunately on the 18th Jan 10 we had to let Dylan go as he had had a spinal stroke.
        Dylan had been having problems with sciatica for a few days which we were dealing with and working a new routine out for as to get him up on a morning as this was his worse time.
        Then on the Monday he wasn’t good and when I got in from work (only 2hrs after my partner left) I found he couldn’t get up, wouldn’t let me help at all and was in a lot of discomfort when he tried. Dylan was also not using his back legs.
        This was comfirmed when the vet came out.
        Good luck to all who have dogs with wobblers and never underestimate them. The vet who opperated on Dylan originally advised having up put to sleep as his arthritus would hinder his progress.
        Dylan had another 10 happy months with us after his.

      • Gail, I’m so sorry to here that Dylan stroked. I’m glad that he had nearly a good year with you following his surgery. You are in my prayers as you adjust to life without your big boy.

  17. I just wanted to let you know that I am starting a facebook group as an offshoot from the yahoo NeuroDogs group. Please join us to discuss wobblers treatments and recoveries and to share your stories. So much for so many to learn from! Now we can be found under the Neurodogs name on both yahoo and facebook.

    Reply
  18. marie

     /  January 27, 2010

    I have two danes, brother and sister. Delilah has been diagnosed with wobblers and has trouble walking on slick floors, going up and down stairs, etc. She licks her front legs until they are red and sore. xrays were done and showed no joint problems or bone abnormalities. Licking makes me think she’s hurting. Is that normal for wobblers or could something else be going on? Just started the vet process. My male, Sampson, has shakey legs when he sits sometimes. If he sits slowly his legs shake but he has no other walking or running problems. Could he be showing signs of wobblers too since his sister has it? The danes will be 6 in three months.

    Reply
    • That’s a late onset age for dane wobbler’s however, certainly possible. Getting a mri would be the best way to determine the extent of her spinal problems. Xrays alone can’t see all the necessary detail. My wobbly boy does lick the front tops of his legs, near where they join the shoulder- chest area. Try to discourage it at all costs so that your girl doesn’t develop lick granulomas. I would bet there is some weird nerve sensation in that area. What area do you live in and are you consulting with a neurologist for her treatment?

      Reply
      • marie

         /  January 29, 2010

        I live in alabama. my vet is trying to get a referral to auburn university and to a neurologist in a nearby town. i live in a rural area in a very small town. i try to keep delilah from licking. she’ll lick even if i put bitter apple on her legs. any suggestions:

      • Try this site. Their signature product is called dogleggs and when these are worn, the dog can’t lick. Might be worth taking a look at : http://dogleggs.com/files/granuloma.cfm
        Another option is to try using a men’s undershirt to cover her up a little. You can put it on her and then cinch it up over her back with a knot or rubber band.

        I am still concerned though that she could be licking due to pain or discomfort so I am glad that you are getting her checked out. Keep us posted.

  19. Rahul Singh

     /  March 11, 2010

    Hi,
    I have a 3 year old Great Dane “David”. He’s tall and well built however when he walks he has walk where in his legs seem as if they are stiff and instead of beding them at the joints it’s as if he runs by sticking his rear legs towards their respective outersides. Apart from this he favours the left hind leg a bit too much and drags both but the left hind leg more. When he stands in one place or walks slowly he has a wide gape between the tow rear legs. I have been to every Vet but all they come up with is bone disorder or poor care in brooding house or “it’s in the genes” and i am sick and tired of telling them to be more specific. I need help pronto. I love him like crazy and i dont want to ever to consider euthanasia. Any lowdown on this would be appreciated.
    regards.

    Reply
    • Gail Reid

       /  March 12, 2010

      Hi There

      In some respects this does sound like wobblers but it also does sound like a problem with the the joints in respect of maybe arthritus. The reason I say this is we had Dylan who had wobblers and have Gracie who has arthritus. Gracie also runs very stiff and doesn’t seem to bend he legs as other dogs do, she is on glucosamine.
      Personally I would see a vet who specialises in wobblers and have an MRI as this is the best way to diagnose if it is wobblers or not.
      If it does turn out to be wobblers don’t despair as there are things that can be tried and which have been succesful just read some of the other stories. Good Luck

      Reply
  20. lauren

     /  June 7, 2010

    Hi all I have a 10 month old great dane who suddenly started to fall on his hind legs we rushed him to the vet where the vet thinks wobblers, or slip disc, he seems to have trouble with one hind leg more then the other. He just showed this yesterday, he doesnt seem to be able to pull his knuckle back into place when puled back and tends to kick like a horse in back leg we are going to a specialist, but Mri is 1800 they want to do x-rays but what will that really show? i was perscribed predisone for colby, cant start it until friday, but i really want to know how well can great danes live without surgery? surgery could run between 6-10,000 which I simply dont have. Anyone that has any advice gor me please let me know.

    Reply
    • Gail Reid

       /  June 7, 2010

      Unfortunately I can’t give advice on how well a Dane can cope without surgey as haven’t experienced it myself.
      Our Dane Dylan showed the same symptoms and was diagnosed with wobblers only after an MRI. This our vet said was the only true way to diagnose wobblers.
      We were lucky and had insurance for Dylan also the support of The Great Dane ADoption Society.
      I am a member of a Great Dane Forum which has a thread about wobblers and there are some on there who haven’t had the op,maybe you could read some of the threads.
      http://www.greatdaneowners.co.uk

      Reply
      • Carolyn

         /  June 7, 2010

        Lauren – I messed up my reply and actually started a new thread, #23. Please check it out.

    • steven

       /  June 7, 2010

      Lauren,

      I have a 13-month-old male Dane that has wobblers. He started limping at around 10 months we took him to the vet and they ran some test and concluded that it was wobblers. I was unhappy with the way diagnose was done so we had a second opinion. We to a vet that specialized in holistic treatments. After a very very in depth exam he concluded that it was not wobblers. He suggested a very rigorous diet and vitamins lots of them. He also told use to give them chicken neck bones for the bone marrow. It has been all most 3 months and Duke no longer has a limp. I suggestion is to ensure that you get a second opinion and seek natural treatments before you get the surgery depending on how fast the disease is progressing.

      Reply
      • Carolyn

         /  June 7, 2010

        Steven makes a good point – there are so many treatment options out there. I researched holistic providers in my area and actually scheduled Truman’s first appointment with a vet who provides chiropractic as well as acupuncture when UT called to tell me they had an opening for Tru. I had to weigh my options. The one caution the vet had was that we had to completely rule out the possibility of any growths or cysts along Truman’s spine before he started treatments or they could cause permanent damage. We had x-rays done and there were no cysts identified, and I told him that when I made the first appointment. I decided to keep that appointment in case the appointment at UT didn’t work out.

        The way it all worked out for Tru, though, tells me that everything happens for a reason. When the doctors did the MRI, they confirmed the deformities in his spine at the 4-5th cervical vertebrae – higher than they expected. I gave permission for surgery and when they called me afterwards, the doctor shared her total surprise at having found not 1 but 2 cysts growing along the spinal column that x-rays and MRI didn’t pick up. Those two cysts were pressing on his spinal column from both sides and it was being compressed at the spinal deformity. If I had not followed the steps in that order, that treatment could have lead to Truman’s death.

        We continue to research every type of treatment that may add to Truman’s quality of life. 18 months later, we have found a balance of supplements, diet and the minimum amount of Prednisone we can give him every 3 days to maintain optimal function. If we stop one of those things, we know quickly because Truman will just stand at the bottom of our 3 steps into the house and look at us as if to say, “Guys, I’m just not going to make it up there today!”.

        Each owner has to weigh so many things: their dog’s overall health; their faith and trust in their vets; treatment availability in their area; stressors on the family for extended treatments – meaning days off work; financial considerations are often overwhelming for any type of treatment; their dogs expected quality of life. It can be frustrating to wade through all of the advertisements for ‘guaranteed benefit’.

        All of that takes time – and if it is Wobblers, each day there is a chance of disease progression. It took us about 2 months to the day of surgery. All of the function that Truman lost in those 2 months has not returned. So, he runs like a Tennessee Walking Horse, looks goofy trying to go up stairs, and he’s afraid of floors without carpets – he’s happy and healthy and living the big life.

  21. Carolyn

     /  June 7, 2010

    Lauren – look for my post about my Dane-Mastiff mix, Truman. I know what you’re going through. There’s so much to think about. I chronicled Truman’s experience (and ours) in a “dog diary” on dogster.com Here’s the link to Truman’s page and when you get there, click on the “I have a diary” spot. I haven’t kept up with it in a while, so let me know if you want more updates! http://www.dogster.com/dogs/909039/in/stroll/

    All in all, it cost about 5,500.00 start-to-finish for Truman’s tests and surgery at the University of Tennessee. I did a fundraiser to help offset costs and that covered about 1/2 of that. It was neat to see all the friends Truman made.

    -Carolyn

    Reply
  22. Alexandra

     /  August 16, 2010

    I have a 7 yr old Blue Dane, and she has been diagnosed with wobblers after an MRI. I was wondering if anyone has heard about stem cell therapy helping with wobblers? I am too afraid to do the neck surgery, and have her possibly loose functionality completely in her rear and then life is over. I have searched on the web but cant seem to find any info.

    Reply
  23. kylie

     /  August 20, 2010

    I have a 6 yo dane who over the last 4 months has developed trembling and weakness in his limbs, he buckles and catches himself occasionally when standing but what doesn’t fit is that his gate is totally normal. Im a vet nurse so we went on the the specialist who was interested in his case as his gate is normal and we did the cervical myelogram which turned up negative for wobblers… so now everyone is shocked… classic presentation for wobblers but not so. Possible electrolyte abnormalities…nuro…alot of big words… list goes on … but now im alittle lost has anyone else out there got a dane like this???

    Reply
  24. Louise

     /  August 27, 2010

    I have a two year old blue male who was diagnosed with wobblers at 13mths. He was assessed for surgery with xrays and myelogram by a small animal surgical specialist but wasn’t suitable for surgery because he had several areas of compression in his neck. We turned to drug therapy and physiotherapy and have had very positive results (you can see him at: http://www.youtube.com/user/lo000u89?feature=mhum ) I know the original post said that wobblers is not really painful… I can say that in our case our dane experienced excruciating pain up until he was diagnosed and we began treatment, at our first consult with the specialist his heart rate was 240bpm which should have killed him – it came back to normal after we started pain medication. As i’m sure everyone with a wobbly dane would know it was devastating for us to know he’s been in so much pain but still behaved like the loving boy he is. If you suspect even a little that there might be something wrong with your dane (in our case he just never grew our of puppy-clumsiness) then get them checked out asap, the younger they are when diagnosed means the more growth-time you’ve got left make improvements.

    Reply
    • Carolyn

       /  August 27, 2010

      Louise,

      I was mesmerized as I watched your dane move through his physiotherapy on your Youtube video. I also couldn’t help but be a little sad for my Truman ( my post on him is wayyy up this comment thread) b/c he can’t lift his back legs like your boy can. Where are you? How did you arrange for the treatment? How much does it cost? I believe one thing working against us is Truman’s sheer size. While his height and long legs are so characteristically that of a Great Dane, his head, neck and entire body are HUGE like a mastiff. We compare him to a hippo on stilts. We watch his weight but he has so much mass, he can’t get below 180 at his lowest. I think his weight makes it even more difficult for him to lift his legs high enough to clear a regular-sized stair. I don’t want to “whistle through the graveyard” but if there is something we can do to work on his mobility I would like to try.

      Reply
      • Louise

         /  August 31, 2010

        Hi, thanks for your reply, even though it’s really sad it is comforting to know that other people are going through the same thing. The specialist said that Marni was by no means the worst case she had seen, so I imagine that’s why he’s still able to lift his legs okay. He does still scuff his nails a bit on a bad day and a bit lately because we’ve had a couple of unrelated set backs as well. I gather that your boys weight in in pounds, Marni weighs about 65 kilos (so around 140ish pounds) we have tried really hard to keep him as light as possible without starving him. In some of our videos he looks quite skeletal because he lost a lot of condition while he was in hospital. We are in Tasmania in Australia, the city we’re in doesn’t have any of the specialists we needed for him but there is one who visits regularly from the mainland so we saw her when she was over. After that we flew him to her specialist practice in Sydney (Animal Referral Hospital http://www.arhvets.com) where he had all the more invasive testing and where the physio first assessed him. Because the physio is also in Sydney we do everything by correspondence which is what the youtube videos are for (her website is http://www.k9physio.com) the therapist we deal with is currently on maternity leave which is why we don’t have any more recent videos. All up the treatment in Sydney cost us about $4000AU, but we got pet insurance when he was little before he developed wobblers so we were able to get a lot of it back, my boyfriend and I are both uni students so there’s no way we would have been able to afford it otherwise. Also Marni can’t really do stairs very well either. He can get up them okay on a good day but can’t really do down and if we do have to get him up or down the back stair its always with one of us helping him.

    • Louise,
      Are those weights on your dogs legs and is he wearing a weighted vest? I wold love to hear more about his therapy and where it was performed.

      Anyone with a wobbler please feel free to join us over at http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/neurodogs/ so we can all hear more about your dogs. We like to discuss the variety of treatment modalities out there for our wobbler dogs – whether supportive care, medical management , alternative treatments or surgery. We are very supportive of surgical options as many of us have had excellent outcomes with dorsal laminectomy.
      Jenny and the wobbly one Zane

      Reply
      • Louise

         /  August 31, 2010

        Hi thanks for the reply, They are leg weights he’s wearing, only about 50 – 100 grams depending on how he’s coping with them, but the vest is just because it was quite cool he needs the extra warmth in winter. The physiotherapist we deal with is from Animal Physiotherapy Services (www.k9physio.com) and she tailored the program to suit him. We live in a different state though so apart from the initial consultation we do everything by correspondence which is why we have all the videos so she can check his movement and how’s he’s coping with new exercises.

    • Alexandra

       /  August 28, 2010

      Louise can you share which vet you saw who put your dog on the physio program – i dont know if it would the right thing for my Blue girl since she is 7 yrs old now, but she had her first acute episode in March this year, and since then we have improved, but if physio would help her futher i would like to find someone to work out a program for her. She is on daily anti-inflamatories now – Meloxicam – and this does definitely seem to help. Acupuncture also helps – we have that about once a month after about 6 weekly sessions – the one with electrodes attached to the needles seems to be the most effective.

      Reply
      • Louise

         /  August 31, 2010

        Hi thanks for the reply,
        The vet who saw Marni was Sarah Goldsmid at the Animal Referral Hostpital in NSW (www.arhvets.com) she runs a specialist practise that works closely with a few other services like Animal Physiotherapy Services (www.k9physio.com) who set his physio program. If I remember rightly Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-imflammatory? Marni is on actual steroids and pain treatment. If your vet has decided against actual steroids then i’d be very pleased if you’re getting good results. The steroids that Marni is on do a great job in making him feel better and move better but they have a myriad of other side effects, we just recently had to rush him to emergency surgery on his leg for an infection that came up in a single day because the steroids inhibit his immune system. He also doesn’t grow hair very well because of them so the areas that he’s had shaved for surgery or even the myelogram in february haven’t grown back properly. I would certainly be very interested in tying acupuncture if only we had it available where we live, flying him to mainland for treatment early in the year was way more stress that i’d ever want to put him through again. I have also read some good things about some kind of gold bead implant, i don’t really have all the details but i think it was supposed to have similar effects to acupuncture but prolonged because they are actual implants.

  25. Alexandra

     /  August 31, 2010

    Thanks Louise. If you cant get Marnie to acupuncture, you might want to look into accupressure which you can do yourself. Instead of needles you use your fingers to put pressure the specific meridians. I have heard about the gold beads also and that they seem to help. I looked into stem cell therapy but so far i have not found any vet or research showing that it has been used successfully with wobblers. I will keep searching and keep an eye on this blog to see if anyone finds anything new. The physio you are doing seems to be working well, so i am going to follow up on that. Thanks for sharing and pray that Marnie remains stable. Cheers A

    Reply
  26. Leigh Ann

     /  October 2, 2010

    I just lost my great Dane Molly at the age of 2 to wobblers. It ended up taking over her whole body, and eventually, het digestive system suddenly stopped working. All the food she did eat went into her lungs. I urge everyone who is thinking of getting a dane to really look into their bloodlines, something that we didnt do. She was a great dog with goof temperment, but there was no fixing her.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry for your loss. How was she diagnosed and what treatments did you try for her? It is very unusual for a dog to progress that quickly to full paralysis. What was the time span from diagnosis until she died?

      Reply
  27. Bill& Robin RAKESTRAW

     /  October 3, 2010

    We lost a 14-month old English Mastiff to Wobblers disease, are they any PRE purchase tests available for a perspective buyer, so we don’t go thru this heart ache again ? PLEASE e-mail responses to :
    billandrobin@insightbb.com
    Thank you
    Bill & Robin

    Reply
  28. LeeAnn

     /  November 12, 2010

    I have a 1yr old male Dane just diganosed with wobblers syndrome .We are so torn on what to do .I am willing to try anything .We don’t want to put our baby through the surgery because there is no guarantee.if there are any suggestions please send them my way.

    Reply
    • Louise

       /  November 13, 2010

      Hi, I’m so sorry to hear about your dane, my 2yo blue male was diagnosed at about the same age. We had him assessed for surgery but he wasn’t suitable due to too many affected areas in his neck. However we have had some really great results with a combination of steroids, pain relief and physiotherapy. We have had some secondary issues die to the steroids but other than that we have been very pleased with the results. I would urge you not to shy away from the idea of surgery just because if doesn’t offer a guarantee, in all honesty no treatment will give you a 100% guarantee that it will work for your dog. If our specialist had told us that our boy was suitable and she thought we would get good results then we certainly would have trusted her judgment and gone with the surgery. Unfortunately she didn’t and she was very honest in telling us that if Marni were her dog she would not want to operate. If you really do not want to deal with surgery and recovery I would have a chat with your vet about what other treatments they’ve had success with and i’m sure you’ll be able to work out a plan for you and your dane :)

      Reply
  29. Alexandra

     /  November 13, 2010

    The surgery will halt the wobblers – for a while, and then he may need another surgery – recovery is very long and unless there are two of you to help him around after surgery you would have to send him to rehab for 3 weeks or so. How bad is he? My girl Blue had an acute episode and so we went and had the MRI to confimr the diagnosis – ortho vet recommend we go for surgery but based on what i learnt about the surgery i decided aginast it. So what i am doing instead for Blusie and she is responding to to this well is: accupuncture, massage, and I am giving her Cosequin Optimized with MSM (this is for horses but works great for GD’s – i give this to both my Danes and it really helps. Also if he is in pain ask ur vet for Mexloxicam – it is an anti-inflammatory & not as toxic as some of the others on the market. If you give him the meloxicam or any other med, make sure to give him some milkthistle to keep his liver healthy. I decided against the surgery because it is very invasive and there are no guarantees – this risks are great – they could come out of surgery paralysed completely – or it may help halt the progress of wobblers temporarily. So for my baby girl Blue Iam focusing on quality of life for her and I have to accept that I will have her for less time than i would have wanted. Just remember no matter what the surgeon tells u, he thinks the solution is surgery because he is biased that way. Hope this helps you!

    Reply
  30. Alexandra- To say that a surgeon is biased and does surgery just because that is what they do is a very inappropriate comment. Neurosurgeon vets do what they do to help these dogs. Many won’t recommend surgery if they don’t think the odds of helping the dog are good enough. There is a myth out there that you and many other people have bought into about “no guarantees” with surgery. Reality check- there are no guarantees with anything in life. We all know that. Please don’t further spread information about risks of surgery when you don’t really know what those are. Paralysis from surgery- yes, a risk but it is also a risk if your dog has sever compression and you do nothing. Massaging is nice and all but it doesn’t fix compression.
    Surgery done by a competent and well experienced neuro surgeon has a very high success rate. I am fortunate to have a phenomenal surgeon for my GD. He looks after my dane no matter what the health issue and steers me in the right direction as needed. He has been by my danes side late at night in ICU and first thing in the morning. He checks in on ICU patients on his days off and is always just an email or phone call away. He does surgery because he loves helping these dogs regain mobility- not because he makes a big paycheck off the surgery and not to feed his ego as a surgeon with a high number of procedures. In 3 years time of caring for my wobbler, I have never been charged a follow up visit or recheck. I have paid for surgeries, hospitalization time, and x rays. I have referred many danes and dobies to him for care and he has been wonderful to every one of these clients and their dogs.
    My dane had severe compression of 3 vertebrae. He has been one of the most challenging cases my surgeon has dealt with to date. He is also an orthopedic nightmare with 2 repaired acls in his knees. He will ahve a shorter life, this I realize, but I would not do a thing differntly at this point. Surgery has been a life saver for my dane- the one that runs and plays daily in his yard like a normal dog :)

    Reply
    • Alexandra

       /  January 12, 2011

      Just saw your response to my post from last year. Please dont try to tell me that i cant share what i learned from our experience. The information i shared is what i was told,. Seems as though your experience was different – thats great i am really happy to hear that your dane is doing well and has great care. People have diff experiences with diff vets and we all have a right to share these. That’s how you make informed decisions – it’s not all one sided – please keep that mind when you respond to people’s comments

      thanks

      Reply
      • Sorry Alexandra, if you feel offended by my comments. I do agree that we should all share our experiences. I just like when people stick to the facts and if they don’t have the facts, then be careful to not potentially spread false info. I have the best interests of the danes and their owners who are seeking information to help make their decisions. People need objective info.
        As for gold bead implants- I have met more people who have found the gold beads to be useless and or detrimental to their dogs health rather than the cure- all that some internet stories claim it to be. I can’t support their use when I have yet to hear of them actually working in a dog that has been scientifically/medically confirmed (via a mri or myelogram) to have wobblers. My Dane was just one of many to have gold beads implanted and not work.
        I love open discussion of treatment options and certainly wasn’t meaning to offend.

  31. Stephen went

     /  January 11, 2011

    My Great Dane Barclay was diagnosed with CVI at eight months and was put on One tablet of Prednisone every other day. He had the abnormailty between the fifth and sixth vertebrae. He has has done a 360 ever since and his condition doesnt seem to have worsened though he his going back for X rays to check up on the progress of the disease. My fifth Dane and the most handsome and human of all my other dogs. He is three now and I know the long term side effect of the drugs could shorten his life even though he only has one pill every other day. What are the options.Thanks

    Reply
    • Alexandra

       /  January 12, 2011

      You might talk to your vet about using meloxicam instead of prednisone now that you boy Barclay is doing well – fewer side-effects.

      Reply
      • Stephen went

         /  January 12, 2011

        Thanks. love But my main concern is the effectiveness of this meloxicam
        as compared to the Prednisone. Can you tell me of the TYPICAL side effects I might expect from this other treatment. Thanks for replying I really appreciate it. Stephen

      • Alexandra

         /  January 12, 2011

        Whenever my dane has an acute wobblers episode my vet and the neurologist use prednisone but once she stabilizes we switch to meloxicam – keeps any inflamation down. so we use pred to quickly get it under control, and the switchafter the pred has been tapered off and stopped. i have not seen any side effects from meloxicam.
        i do know that taking preds fro too long can lead to other problems such as pancreatitis, diabetes, cushings/addisons and liver issues.
        BUT talk to your vet or neurologist and see what he/she thinks. One thing with Wobblers is that sometimes it does not progress – but you cant tell which way things will go. So i do hope Barclay fits into the latter category.

  32. Stephen went

     /  January 12, 2011

    Thanks Alexandra. The specialist at the animal Hospital (teaching hospital)advised against on and off Prednisone treatment. He is either on or off.
    The meloxicam sounds promising, though and if your girl has no Gastro or kidney complaints it might work for Barkers. Long term Prednisone can be lethal. AS WE ALL KNOW Do you think this CORTA-FIX supplement has any benefits for the Danes as they grow older.

    Reply
  33. Alexandra

     /  January 12, 2011

    did the specialist say why he is against the on/off treatment with preds? Just asking since both the neurologist and my own vet recommended this approach. The meloxican has not show any gastric problems for Blusie or my other dane Elsa (i give it o her also as she has arthritis). In addition to Meloxican i give my girls Cosequin Plus (its cosequin plus MSM – i give them the horse powder form and i have to say i have seen this make a huge difference for blusie and Elsa – I have not used CORTA-FIX but it seems Louise had good results with that. From my experience i would swear by the Cosquin Plus powder – i believe this is part of what is really making a diffs for Blue. BTW i wnet for the horse formula at the recommendation of my vet – and it seems to be a lot better that the dog formulas of Cosequin with MSM that i have tried in the past – and its cheaper. If you decide to try it let me know how Barclay is doing. I do hope your boy does well!

    Reply
  34. Janet Shaw

     /  March 21, 2011

    Hi, A friend of mine in NJ has a Newf that she suspects might have Wobbler’s Disease. Does anybody know of any veterinary neurosurgeons in NJ who are familiar with this disease? Red Bank has not been of help as of yet. Thanks. Janet Shaw

    Reply
  35. Abhilash Mohanty

     /  April 12, 2011

    My Great Dane is 14 months old and started having epileptic fits in the 11th month. He is on medication. However inspite of increasing the dose in line with the Doctor’s advice, the attacks keep on recurring and it’s very painful to see him suffer. Can any one suggest a cure!

    Reply
    • Dear Abhilash, Abnormal sodium levels , either too high or too low, or just imbalanced, can be a cause of epileptic seizures. Blood tests will confirm this or disprove it. Either way, it’s one thing eliminated. Cheers.

      Reply
  36. Adrienne

     /  May 17, 2011

    My 2.5yrold boy, Max was just diagnosed by MRI with wobblers. The specialist here in says that he has a 70% chance if we have the surgery. But she also says that his case is very different because he is showing the problems in 4 different places and his bone is growing up from the bottom of the canal instead of the typical way of coming in from the sides. My fiance and I are soo torn. 70% is pretty good but then there is the $10,000.00 surgery cost and the therapy after. We are trying everything we can think of to pay for everything but it is very hard and we don’t know if he will every be able to recover. His life without the surgery would be confined to the garage because we live in a 3rd floor walk-up, I just don’t know what would be best… I LOVE MY BABY!!! and I can’t let him go but I don’t want to put him through something that could kill him, paralyze him, or make him worse. His favorite thing is chasing deer and right now he can still do that. (he tried for one today) If I take away his ability to chase them it would break both of our hearts. Can anyone tell me something to help me decide?

    Reply
  37. Sara

     /  May 23, 2011

    My husband and I have a 2 year old female GD and a 1 yearold male. They are from different breeders. Our female so far is perfect and a joy to have around. We wanted another because of their great temperment. Unfortunately our male,Gunnar, was not so lucky. He has had Demodectic Mange at 3mos, Cherry eye both eyes at 4 mos, a Hygroma the size of an orange on his right elbow at 6 mos and now at 12 mos we were told he has wobblers. He was placed on steroids right away which has helped alot. Even his hygroma is way down. We are concerned about long term use of steroids because of side affects. .We are so sad for him because he has the BEST temperment and is SO loveable. He was clumsy when a pup but has started to slip on our hardwood floors. his back legs seem to be most affected but last night we noticed his front paw looked flat (like it was numb). This morning his paw looks fine so we think he was on his feet to much yesterday. He still wants to run with our female (Bernice) but we are very careful not to let him.He does stairs fine so far.We are seeing vet tomorrow to see what treatment is best for him. He has been a trooper so far with all his other ailments(he was on meds for 3 mos to clear up mange) and we are hopeful we can slow the progression of this disease .Any suggestions greatly appreciated. We love our little man as we call him ( he is 150 lbs) and don’t want him to suffer .

    Reply
    • Louise

       /  May 23, 2011

      Hi Sara,
      My jaw actually dropped when I read your post, my boy Marni (further up the post) also had terrible skin, cherry eye, hygroma and wobblers. Though we had problems with the hygroma after he began steroidal treatment because it became infected (in the space of a few hours) and nearly killed him because his immune system was so compromised by the steroids.
      Marni also was relatively good on his feet and was still able to run around with our other dog but became noticeably slower over time.
      We actually lost Marni last boxing day, at just over two years old and about 11 months after his wobblers diagnosis. We don’t really know exactly what happened, which makes it so much more heartbreaking, and i hope every day that his short life was a good one.
      I would strongly suggest that if your vet says there may be an alternative to steroids for your dane, do it. We had so many problems with Marni because of his steroids and I really do think that over that 11 months they got the better of his system.
      Also, if Gunnar is only 1 year old, he may still have a little bit of skeletal growing to do, so your vet may be able to suggest an alternative diet to help even out the growth of his spinal column and make any potential improvements that way.

      Reply
      • Sara

         /  June 11, 2011

        So sorry for your loss Louise… They are such sweet animals and become a big part of our families very quickly. Gunnar seems to be doing well on his steroid tratment. He gets 20mg prednisone every other day now. He still runs with his sister and manages the stairs quite well. I have placed what i like to call ” Gunnar Runners” throughout the house as we have hardwood floors. The runners make it easier for him to get traction and not slide. Our vet is also providing us with a special diet we hope will help. We do whatever we can to make sure he is comfortable while still allowing him to be the puppy he is. We have taken off his collar so not to put exessive pressure around his neck.We have a harness for him for walking (which he hates..) The vet also reccomended we not let him play tug-o-war with his sister. So far, so good. will keep updated.

  38. Lyndsey Manz

     /  June 19, 2011

    My great dane is 11 mths old, I noticed he started walking weird and kind of just disoriented. I took him up to his kennel and he just started walking in circles. He is kind of dragging his left paw “knuckling” not with every step but with most. I took him to the vet he has been going to since he was a puupy and they didnt have a clue. I took him to another vet they are treating him with antibiotics for an inner ear infection… to no avail the antibiotics are not working. No improvement at all just walking in circles in his fence and runs into sometimes still dragging rear paw. Any ideas? Please help

    Reply
    • Melanie

       /  December 11, 2011

      I realize my response may be too late to help you, but it sounds as if this could be vestibular syndrome.

      Reply
  39. Denise de crespigny

     /  October 6, 2011

    My great dane puppy, ” Henry Higgins ” is just 5months old, and has wobblers. When I brought him home at 8 weeks, I thought he looked very sloping in croup and very angular and stiff in stifle, but, not having has any thing to do with wobblers, I thought he was just an awkward puppy. I’ve had danes for 36 years and have never seen any thing like this. After visiting the vet who said he needed to be anesthetized for xrays , I felt that I did not want that to happen at such an early age, as there are always risks with anesthetics and I was not prepared to take that risk. The vet thought he may grow out of it ! I have changed his diet to a very low protein adult diet with a supplement given to racing greyhounds to strengthen muscles and ligaments. but now he can no longer even sit for more than a few minutes, so , as funds are limited, and he is getting worse with every passing day, and is still growing, although his growth rate has slowed because of his diet, I am absolutely devastated. I live in an Australian regional area, so vet care is limited , but I’ve found this site so helpful. I cannot bare to see him getting worse, it’s breaking my heart, so if any one has any suggestions, I’d be very grateful, as I can see no alternative but to have him put to sleep. I am not young, and could not handle him on my own when he can no longer walk, and it seems that day is not far off.
    Regards Denise.

    Reply
  40. Denise, I am so sorry to hear about Henry. I can only recommend that you get a mri to be absolutely certain that this is wobblers and not another neuro issue. There are other problems that can masquerade as wobblers. My neurologist is fabulous and even most recently when I brought him a dog that very much appeared to be a wobbler, upon mri, another problem of a different origin was discovered. I help people rehome their dogs that they can no longer care for due to extreme medical issues. However, I am in the US, so you being in Oz Land is a bit of a challenge.
    For now, medical management may be HH’s best option and that usually includes using prednisone and limiting his activity level. Stop using a collar for walking & restraining and switch to a harness to eliminate stress to his cervical region.

    I live with a 5 yr old wobbler that I adopted when he was 11 months old- already exhibiting signs of full blown wobblers. We pursued aggressive treatment and he has had several neuro and ortho surgeries. Due to cancer, he lost a leg 10 months ago. He is doing fabulous as a tripawd. It is back breaking work at times to help him around but so worth the joy he brings to my life. He is one of 5 special needs dogs in my pack.

    Feel free to join my FB or yahoo group ‘neurodogs.’

    Jenny & the Z pack in NC

    Reply
  41. taylor king

     /  November 2, 2011

    I have a 8 wk old great dane baby she has bowed out front legs and is “knocked kneed” on her hind legs and her hips swing unusual and she does have problems getting up do u think she has wobblers or is she just double jointed?

    Reply
    • Louise

       /  November 2, 2011

      Was your puppy like this when you bought her!? and what are you feeding her?

      Take her to the vet asap to see if she is only knuckling over or if there is something else going on as well. Knuckling over can be corrected with a correct diet leg splints (especially in such a young dane). Its extremely unlikely that she’s double jointed and if she is that’s a serious defect and you should tell her breeder. The vet should do xrays to confirm either way.

      If she wasn’t like that when you bought her contact her breeder and ask for help, they should be able to recommend the best diet to help her grow normally again and show you how to wrap her legs. If she looked that bad when you bought her call the BEST breeder you can find in your area (someone with an excellent track record in showing is a start) and ask them for help.

      It sounds like she’s in a really bad state for such a young dane, so I hope you’re able to get her the help she needs, good luck!

      Reply
  42. Hi, I have a now 6 year old great dane that we believe has wobblers. She is very clumsy and falls all the time. Has a very hard time with stairs and slick floors. We are giving her Rimadyl and Tramadol. They dont seem to be helping. I’ve heard a lot of prednizone. I was wondering if the steriods might help. She seems to be getting worse quickly and we fear the end is near. If you have any ideas that might help please let us know.

    Reply
  43. The priority would be to get in to see a neurologist for a diagnosis. Any number of spinal conditions can crop up causing these symptoms. Prednisone can help with the
    swelling and inflammation but you need a wash out period of at least 3- 5 days with no rimadyl before starting the pred.. You can not mix nsaids with steroids without the potential for serious side effects.

    Reply
  44. shante

     /  December 8, 2011

    Our vet is pretty sure it is wobbler’s. We didnt do the MRI’s because according to the vet and many others they come back inconclusive. I have read a lot about wobblers and it seems to fit my dog to a t. I’m wondering if the prednisone can help more than that of the Rimadyl.
    Will Wobbler’s continually get worse or can it slow down or even stop? With our experience with Mali she has been declining fairly quickly. We are hopeing to find a Med or something fairly inexpensive that will help her. Surgery is not an option for her at this point. To many negatives on surgery and according to most they dont help and are extremely expensive. If anyone has any other info then please pass it along. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
  45. Actually surgery can help tremendously. Just ask my 3 legged great Dane- or better yet, watch him hop through the yard. Your Dane is a little older so it may not be the best choice for her based on age and other health issues but for a young Dane, it is an excellent option with quite favorable outcomes. An MRI is generally the most conclusive as to the extent of the neuro issues. My neurologist won’t even go into surgery without it first- he doesn’t operate in the dark. Two of the special needs danes that I brought him this year alone, appeared to be wobblers but upon doing the mri, they both showed other neuro issues. Even a myelogram would not have shown the issues these young danes had in their spinal canals. In the 4 years since my dane had his first spinal surgery, the price has gone even lower. It now costs less than an acl knee surgery. It is very unlikely that the condition will improve on it’s own. Prednisone helps by relieving the swelling. Sometimes acupuncture can help in addition to the pred. WS doesn’t generally appear in older danes- more likely a disc issue but a neurologist, not your general vet, would be most qualified to give you answers :)

    Reply
  46. Denise de crespigny

     /  December 8, 2011

    Shante, I can only speak from my own experience, but here in Australia, many of the procedures are cost prohibitive, and even an x-ray costs more than I could afford for my boy, when at three months I realized that there was a real problem. I tend to go ” natural ” as that is my choice, and have found that 1,000 mg of fish oil twice a day, helps relieve inflammation, and a product called ” Joint Guard ” which contains glucosamine and condroitin sulphate, M.S.M. , and other trace elements, is helping a little with stability in the joints including the affected vertebrae in the cervical area. My boy is now seven + months and not getting any worse, but I do give him physio therapy, and he is stable at this stage. Keeping your dane lean, not skinny, will mean less weight on those wobbly hind quarters also. I hope this has been of some assistance. Cheers from Down Under.

    Reply
  47. lwood09

     /  December 9, 2011

    Our 2 1/2 year old rescue dog, Barkley, was given an informal diagnosis (informal b/c we did not pay for the MRI – quote was $3,600) of Wobblers by a canine neurologist about a month ago. We’ve never been certain of his breed, but always thought he was at least part Great Dane Unfortuntely just cannot afford the 8K+ for the MRI and surgery so we’ve decided to go the steriod and lifestyle change route vs. surgical intervention. We’ve had him on steroids along with a couple other drugs to help protect his stomach. We started at 40 mg a day and are down to 10 mg per day now. The side effects are almost too much for us to handle; he is peeing in the house, constantly hungry and begging for food and he is much more high strung. Plus, I worry about the permanent damage the steroids can do to his liver/kidneys. I’ve been researching foods that have natural anti-inflamatory properties and am thinking about changing his diet and using natural supplements instead of the steriods. Has anyone had any success with diet changes and natural supplements to slow the progression of Wobblers instead of using steroids?

    Reply
    • Dear Iwood09,
      Please see my reply to Shante on Dec. 8th. , to see some natural alternatives. Slippery elm bark in powder or capsule form, I’ve found is very healing for the stomach, or to protect the stomach lining from medications . Often what appears to be weight loss, particularly around the hind quarters, is actually muscle wastage , and can be reversed by massage and gentle exercise such as swimming. Including a little extra protein in the diet also can help , as protein builds muscle fibre. Hope this has been of some assistance to you.
      Cheers from ” Down Under.”

      Reply
  48. shante'

     /  December 9, 2011

    Thankyou for all your reply’s. We are unfortunaltly unable to pay the expensive costs of all the tests that the vets need. Our Dane is lean she has never been heavy thankgoodness for that. Although she seems to be getting skinnier since she started having these problems. Expecially in her hind end and legs. I have also heard that some foods can help. Does anyone know which foods are the best. I use to give her Iams but she is now on Purina. I’ve heard so many things on foods I dont know which way to go. Also thankyou to Denise for your advice. I think I may try some of those items. We did try glucosamine at one time, Never tried the fish oil though. I think I will give both those items a go and then just go from there. I’m not to fond of the Rimadyl my dog is on , I have heard a lot of horror stories of some of the side effects. She seems to handle it ok but I still worry about her liver and the damage it can cause. If I hear corectly steroids may not be much better.

    Reply
    • Sara

       /  December 26, 2011

      Our male GD was diagnosed with wobblers 6mos ago ( see May ’11 post ) . He was placed on 20mg prednisone every other day. He is taken for a walk every morning (approx 1/2 mi) and we feed him Blue Seal Active since pup.41/2-5 cups twice a day. I also cook chicken and sweet potatoes and add to food. ( just cuz we spoil our dogs). He is doing very well so far still running and playing with our other dane and able to do the stairs and jump on our bed! We have been able to keep his weight at 150lbs which is about 10 under what he could be. He still slips on wood floors if he is not on runner, and later in evening he is slower gettng his hind legs up to full stand. We feel he is doing better and asked the vet if the steroid dose could be lowered. She agreed and said he should be on the lowest dose he can function and have quality of life on.(we are aware of the dangers of prolonged steroid use, but dont want him to be in pain) He is going to be on 20mg every 3 days and we will see how that goes. Will keep you posted… I hope this information helps others,obviously you and your vet know your pet best and each case is individual.This is just what seems to be working for us now.
      .

      Reply
      • shante

         /  December 26, 2011

        Our dane is now on Prednisone. She is taking 20ml 2pills in the morning and 2 at night. She has been on them for four days now. We have not seen a difference with her , except she is very thirsty and she has peed in our house 4 times already. I dont know if she cant hold her blader or what. we have been letting her out frequently but it doesnt always help. After she is on them for 7 days then we will lower her down to just 1 pill twice a day. Hopefully a lower dose might help. If we dont see a difference in a week then I will most likely take her off the prednisone. There was a about 5 days when she was off her Remadyl and seemed a little more high spirited. Maybe we will just take her off everything all together. Just wishing there was something we can do.

      • Sara

         /  December 27, 2011

        Shante’, just read your post. Our Dane also started on high dose of prednisone. I believe it was also 20mg bid. He also was peeing alot because of the need to drink so much from thirst. Our vet said this was a good thing because they need to drink alot with med. He also lost weight in beginning and we were very concerned about it also. Try to hang in there, it took a couple of weeks before we saw any progress with treatment. We let him out (he was only 11mos when diagnosed) but didnt let him play rough with his sister.After about 3 weeks he ajusted and really started improving. He still drinks more than our other dane,and seems hungrier but he is still very playful and loves his walks.your vet will prob lower your dogs dose eventually too, they may be just trying to treat swelling agressively first then they wean down dose as they show improvement. Good Luck .

  49. debbie taylor

     /  January 5, 2012

    I adopted a pup now 1 yr and I believe he has this. He also has food allergies along with dandruff. I was wondering what food is good for a great dane to eat. At the moment were still trying to find the right food for him so I was wondering if u had any ideas….
    Thanks Debbie

    Reply
  50. Crystal

     /  January 8, 2012

    We have an 8 month old male dane. A couple weeks ago he jumped out of our recliner and when he did he yelped and then began to limp. He would bare weight on the leg sometimes and act like it was fine then have other times where he favored it and wouldn’t put weight on it. Long story short we went to the vet and he was diagnosed with just like a sprain/strain (leg injury). Well now he’s switched legs and has been holding up the other front leg and this morning he was holding up one of his back legs. Do you think he might have a spinal or neck injury or could the jump out of the chair maybe have triggered the onset of wobblers? He’s having trouble getting up when he’s laying down and hasn’t even wanted to stand to eat. I can tell he’s not feeling like himself because he’s just laying around and doesn’t want to move other than to go out and potty. At this point I just don’t know what to do. I’m making an appointment to take him back to the vet because it’s obviously not just a leg injury. Once he’s up and walking he limps a little but he’s not falling/swaying/slipping or anything like that.

    Reply
  51. michelle

     /  January 8, 2012

    I have 2 great danes Isis and Electra almost 11 yrs old. Isis has lost 12 pounds and is now 85 pounds and she has lost a good deal of muscle mass in her back leg(s). They were small great danes about 105 ibs at max . but beautiful all the same. She stopped putting weight on one of her back paws and she has fallen trying to lay down a few times. Reluctantly, I brought her to the vet because she is traumatized (urinates and poops all over the office) and they started her on predisone for approx. 3 weeks decreasing the dose gradually. I have seen an improvement but they want me to take an xray and bloodwork and she would need to sedate her. I do not want to put my dog through that at her age-she may not make it. She can run and shows no other signs. I read your comments and saw videos and it doesn’t seem like wobbler’s (my heart goes out to all of those owners). I realize it may be arthritis or can be hip dyplasia and i would like to know what safe medication can be given (prescription or home remedy) to ease her discomfort. I have massaged her leg and paw to see if anything was broken and she doesn’t cry or show any signs of pain. But, I know this will be progressive process. My other dane, Electra, stands with back legs bent deeply and often squeezed together-again not doing the vet. Their last vaccinations were a year ago and I don’t want any more vet visits for them. I feed them Bil Jac (free feeding) and they were always healthy. I changed to senior food and I want to know with less protein and calcium could this be a problem? Should I change back to Adult or stay with the senoir? Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
  52. shante

     /  January 8, 2012

    I had my great dane on prednisone for only 8 days and then decided to take her off of it. She was so much worse with it, could not hold her bladder at all and all we were doing was cleaning up after her. She was not happy either. She is still wobbly and slips on floors and falls when moving around to much. We have decided to take her off all meds and let it run its course. The meds didnt seem to do her any good and we never noticed an improvement. Now that she’s off she seems happier. Moves around a little better but still very unstable. As long as she’s happy then I guess we made the right decision. At one point we were certain she wouldnt make it past Christmas but she proved us wrong. We are hoping that if she does not get any worse and doesnt seem to be in any pain then she may be with us some more years. (hopefully). We never had her diagnosed by the vet due to lack of money. But we are almost positive it it Wobblers. She fits all of the descriptions and we have watched many video’s on it as well. Our vet said it was probably Wobbler’s or Degenerative Mylapothy. Neither is better than the other and there doesnt seem to be any good options for either. Our great dane never showed signs untill about the age of 4 years old. We noticed she was walking funny with her back legs. She bowed them out when she walked. She did this for about 6 months before we noticed her dragging her back paws every now and then . It slowly progressed into difficulty going up and down stairs and her back end falling when she moved around to quickly. She does not move around to much now. She likes to lay in bed and only gets up when she has to go potty or we try to get her outside for a while. We have also noticed that she droopes a little in her back end, like she cant straiten out her back legs all the way.
    I am hoping that anyone would write down what their danes started doing and what signs you saw.
    This is a terrible disease and I wouldnt wish this on anyone. I hope others have had luck on meds, for our dane they didnt help.

    Reply
  53. Bruce

     /  January 13, 2012

    Hello all. This is a very helpful forum for everyone with larger breeds experiencing this problem. My 5 yr. Old mastiff recently has been diagnosed as well and reading some of these stories is like reading my own. Id encourage everyone with any successful changes theyve made to post and help others. The info ive gathered here has been very helpful from diet to buying throw rugs and i continue to read to try and do more for him.

    Reply
  54. Sara

     /  February 9, 2012

    Just wanted to give an update on how Gunnar is doing. (see Dec 26 post) He has been taking 1 tab 20mg prednisone every 3 days now for about 1 month. He seems to be doing very well. He is taken for a walk every morning (approx 1mi). He runs and plays with our other dane and has even started jumping. We are still careful not to let him get to reckless especially on stairs as he does not have best control over hind legs at times. The vet says if he stays the same , he can be placed on every 4 days.This is encouraging, as we are aware of long term steroid use. He has been on them since he was 11mos and will be 2 this April. Will keep posted.

    Reply
  55. Dennis Hirst

     /  February 25, 2012

    Remember, prednisone has been liked to causing cancer. I use it too but in most cases I wean them off and only administer when symptoms arise. I have one female that hasnt had it in over three years and still no signs of wobbler’s despite vets reckless diagnosis. This same vet thought he could diagnose cancer by simply looking at my female and I think she would have to disagree with him. I’d ask her but she is busy chasing ducks in the pond. My male passed even after much therapy but he lived a good life long life for his breed.

    Reply
  56. Jenny

     /  February 25, 2012

    Interesting comment about prednisone causing cancer. I’ve never heard that one before. Can you provide scientific information to back up that statement?
    All meds have the potential for side effects. It’s important to discriminate between the opportunity for improvement with some meds versus the possible side effects. Prednisone is often used in treatment of various types of cancer.
    No way around it, prednisone can be a life saver for dogs dealing with wobblers syndrome. We always have to keep in mind the ‘quality’ of life over the ‘quantity’ of life. What good is it if we say a dog lived to be 8 yrs old and only the first 2 years were good and active? I’ll take 4 great years with a dog any day :)
    Looks like you have had a very inexperienced and unqualified veterinarian. Hope you’ve switched to someone with better skills :)

    Reply
  57. Dennis Hirst

     /  February 26, 2012

    It wasnt a vet that told me that. And, no I cant offer any empirical evidence that it does. I based my opinion (and only an opinion) on news about the drug from many years ago. When it first came in “vougue” I read and heard a couple of op-eds that it was a known carcinogen. Im sure if I researched it long enough I could find something to substantiate the allegations but I’m not that concerned. I only know what I have read and based on that I chose to believe that I would use prednisone sparingly. It was first recommended that doctors prescribe it as a last resort type of drugs. I’m not talking about vets but medical docs. Now days it seems its handed out like candy for everything from a simple cold to rumathoid arthritis. Id also ask if you can provide evidence to the contrary of my statement of causation.
    As it is most every drug and food we eat is at one time or another accused to be cancer causing. In fact some believe that just the air in my neighborhood is carcinogenic. My only intention is to alert people and stress caution and good judgement which seems to be yours also. I agree with all your statement, especially when it comes to choosing a vet. There seems to be more charlatians out there than really good compasionate vets. Again just an opinion. I’m not one to run to the vet everytime my dogs sneeze and certainly consider all his or her’s opinions and diagnosis many are more concerned with profit that healing.
    While we are at it consider the school of thought about breeding it (wobblers) out of any certain breed. Breeding is not controlled by any agency tht I know of and if you mention AKC…..that’s a joke. All their records are based on the honesty of the applicant. The only way I can see selective breeding controlled is by DNA concept and who is going to control that and at what cost? Anyway, god bless you and your dogs and may they forever be healthful.

    Reply
  58. Stephen

     /  February 28, 2012

    I dont know Dennis, I think I would have to agree with Jenny on the PRED. It does save some Danes from a DEATH SENTENCE depending of course upon the SEVERITY of the wobblers and the progression if there is any. Barclay walks a little funny some days but he is a happy dane.and I would love a life like his if I were a canine. PRED can affect the function of some of the vital organs But you have to be diligent and watch the progress. He is alive and happy and he is simply an extraordinary Dane

    Reply
  59. Marissa

     /  March 13, 2012

    We have a Great Dane who was diagnosed with Wobbler’s when she was 8 mos old. We had noticed her limping on her front legs about a month before, but I was horrified when I went to let her in from playing outside before I went into work and I found her in a pile in the middle of the yard. She was unable to stand steady on any of her legs and had the knuckling of the front paws. Also, her face appeared to be drooping on one side. We ended up taking her down to an emergency vet clinic, who originally gave us steroids to give her, but gave us a pretty bleak outlook. Luckily, they said it was beyond their abilities and didn’t take any x-rays because they told us they would have to be done again wherever we took her. We were originally recommended to take Sammy to Iowa State University or University of Wisconsin vet clinics, but were told that the surgery, at best, would alleviate some of the pressure but her quality of life would not be very good. Not only that, but the procedure would have been extremely expensive. The steroids helped a little, but we had to carry her in and out of the house to go to the bathroom. My husband looked up online and found Dr. Durkes. After reading all of the information we could on gold bead therapy, we decided this was our best option. Not only did it provide great results, but it was a much better financial option. My husband called and made an appointment and the 5 hour trek to Dr. Durkes’ office that week. I am so happy to say that the next day Sammy was up and more playful than we had ever seen her! I couldn’t believe watching her run through the yard, because we had never seen her run and play much before. It’s almost been a year now, and she’s still doing great, despite being extremely mischevious. The only thing we notice anymore is that she knuckles when she gets tired and tends to drag her back feet on walks. We have to be careful because she will file her nails down to the quick and then they’ll bleed. We are so thankful for Dr. Durkes and everything he did for Sammy. His procedure allowed us to keep Sammy and give her a normal, playful life.

    Reply
  60. im stuck in between a rock and a hard place,
    my 2 yr old dobe/rotty felon was informaly diagnosed with wobblers when she was 12 months after she started swaying and stumbling on our daily walk/ dragging her feet till they bled.. so bad i had to get someone to come and pick us up as she couldnt go on anymore..that night she fell trying to get on the couch and let out an almighty cry.. i took her to my vet, (who needless to say, is very intimidated by my felon as she gives him the crazy eyes. she must be muzzled at all times around them as when i had her spayed they left a hole which caused a hernia so she was back in there for emergancy repair surgury, she hasnt liked them since, so he will not physically touch her..) and he told me it was wobblers but i would need to have the xrays and all of that done to really find out., he gave her a two week dose of prednisone that seemed to halt the desiese for a whole year, did alot of reserch during that time, but all seemed to be fine.. she went back to normal .. now about a month ago around her 2nd birthday we had a relapse, so bad she was falling and knuckling everytime she tryed to walk. i am 20 years old and 7 1/2 months pregnant and my partner works full time and i am having to pick her up to go to the toilet / to do anything i basically have to have both hands on her at all times when she is trying to do something or she just ends up knuckling over.. with being pregnant and being alone looking after her during the day makes this exceptionally difficult, so anyway i had to get the vet to come and do a home visit with her a month ago at 9 in the morning and he put her back on prednisone for another two weeks by 1.00pm that day she was up and out of bed back to her complete self.. she was fine the whole two weeks and a week after she was off the dose.. now we are a month on and she has completley deteriorated again. i have read the side effects of long term use of prednisone.. but it seems to be my wonder drug for her, i can not afford the surgury.. and i dont know what to do, is euthinasia the most humane thing to do in this situation or continue with the prednisone if the vet allows it. i love my dog so much and its absolutley heart breaking watching her deteriorate without it.. any advise would be appreciated

    Reply
    • First off, I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I know it’s heartbreaking.
      I would let your dog stay on the pred until you’ve had your baby–don’t hurt yourself or your baby. Then see if there are other vets she will allow to handle her. If she’s just got a problem with vets in general, you might find a trainer to go with you and help you to control her and improve her vet visit behavior. The surgery is expensive and not always effective, so I certainly understand that.
      I’d rather personally leave a dog on prednisone until the side effects are too bad before considering euthanasia. In fact, that’s what I had to do with my two boys Kenai and BB with the neuro/digestive issues they had from chronic Ehrlichia. They’d be on it awhile, then I’d wean them off. When they needed it again, I started it again.
      Hopefully other folks here have some more suggestions I don’t know about.

      Reply
  61. Chelsea

     /  September 21, 2012

    Has anyone heard of the artificial disc implantation as a treatment option or had it performed on their dane?? Dr. Adamo is the founder, but he is located in California. Unfortunately, I am in Ohio.

    Reply
  62. steven malone

     /  September 21, 2012

    Chelsea,

    My name is Steven I have two Danes my male is currently 230 lbs at 2 years old. Because he grew so fast he developed a limp and would have issues walking and even standing at times. We took him to a vet that diagnosed our Danes from a book. He had no experience with this type of dog. He recommend the surgery. We decided to go another route and tried holistic treatment. We have to put him on a strict diet, he received vitamin shots twice a week in his spine and he was on about 10 different vitamins that had to be taken every day. The end results was that he still limps at time but I can take him on short walks to the park and most importantly spend time with him without him being in pain. I also looked into a gold bead treatment I think the vet is located in Ohio or in that area it is defiantly worth looking in to.

    Reply
  63. Jenny

     /  September 22, 2012

    Steven, sounds more like your dane had Pano or HOD. These are growth problems during the puppy year that can continue to flair up for dogs and be very painful :( Limping is not a symptom of wobblers syndrome. Wobblers have a much more unusual movement than a limp.
    As for the artificial discs, I’ve only hear of it from that one doctor in CA. Concerns me that no one else is studying it- must be a reason… Chelsea, Ohio State University does have a neurologist running a study on wobbler danes. Check their website.

    Reply
  64. Chelsea

     /  September 22, 2012

    I have already looked into the study at OSU – unfortunately they already have the 15 affected danes they were looking for. I went ahead and scheduled an appt with the neuro dept at OSU anyways – we will be going on monday… wish us luck!

    Reply
    • Gail T

       /  October 21, 2012

      Chelsea,
      I tried to get into the OSU study as well. I have both a wobbler dane and a “normal” one. They said they would take my wobbler if the the normal one passed inspection, as they needed both. Unfortunately, my normal is not completely normal, I guess, so I couldn’t get them in.
      They suggested I come back anyway, that it would be $1200 to get my wobbler looked at. I cannot afford that. Tried to get insurance on him, but rescued him after the onset, so insurance was denied. Just wondering how your experience was at OSU and how much they were able to help you.

      Reply
      • Chelsea

         /  October 21, 2012

        Our initial neuro eval cost $180. Once we had the xray and lab work done the total came out around $425. The xray was consistent with what they would see in wobblers, so next we had an MRI, which ran us $1600 (including cardiology consult and echo to make sure his heart was good for being put under anesthesia – this was not required, just something i requested as a safe measure). The MRI confirmed wobblers. What they recommended was a tapering dose of prednisone and strict exercise restriction for a month. If this results in an improvement in his symptoms (which it has so far), then they think he would benefit from a dorsal laminectomy. We go back this Tuesday for a follow-up, so we will have an idea as to what comes next, but I am assuming we will be doing the surgery, which they have quoted at $3000-3500. Lots of money, but its just hard to draw the line somewhere, especially since he is only 2! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  65. Jenny

     /  September 22, 2012

    I have a wobblers support group on FB and in yahoo groups under the name neuro dogs. Feel free to join us to hear what others are doing to manage the disease- everything from medical management, to holistic options to surgery. All treatment options can play a role in keeping our dogs as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

    Reply
  66. Gail T

     /  October 21, 2012

    Thanks for the reply, Chelsea. I knew the money would be a lot. I had a bit of email correspondence with the vet there, though, and she sounded great. My baby isn’t even one yet (later this month). I want him to be able to live a long, good life. I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and come up with some money somehow. Maybe they have a payment plan. Good luck to you and yours.

    Reply
    • Chelsea

       /  October 21, 2012

      If it was Dr. Martin that you talked to that is who we saw and she was great! She is the one that is doing the research on Wobblers. I do believe they have a payment plan, so that is definitely worth looking into! I know everytime we go we have to put 50% down, and then pay the rest one you pick the dog up, but i think that is what you can use the payment plan on.

      Reply
  67. Nancy Patton

     /  November 7, 2012

    I have a 4 1/2 month old great dane, Lily
    . I have been taking her for walks nearly every day, and letting her off the leash, so she often runs around a lot. Today she ran around the outside of our house (the side yards are very sloped), and when she got to the front yard she staggered and fell over and acted drunk. I sat there with her until she was able to get up, then she walked up the front steps sideways, acting disoriented. Her hind legs were trembling slightly and I had her stay still for a while. I felt a round bump on her right shoulder. After 10 minutes she gained her composure and walked straight and secure. Now an hour later she is acting normal. What could have caused her wobbliness? What should I do?

    Reply
    • goodsalldesign

       /  November 7, 2012

      Hi Nancy,

      So sorry to hear about Lily.
      Firstly, I have never heard of a Dane this young showing acute signs of wobblers (but I’m not a vet, so that’s not to say such a young Dane couldn’t develop wobblers) also wobblers Danes usually look ‘wobbly’ but they don’t (in my experience) seem to disoriented or confused, that sort of behavious sounds more neurological than physiological. I would be taking her straight to my vet immediately and having her thoroughly checked over, even if it proves so be nothing serious such disorientation would undoubtably be causing her great distress. My dane Marni (way up the comment feed) had acute wobblers, but never let on that he was in pain. After seeing a specialist we were told that he had probably been in agony for some time even though he was still running about and playing with our other dog, so making sure lily isn’t in any pain is a priority.
      On a more positive note, if it is a growth abnormality lily still has more than 12 months of growth time, so you may be able to correct growth problems by altering her diet, again this is something that your vet would be able to help you with,

      Hope this helps,

      Reply
      • Nancy Patton

         /  November 7, 2012

        Thank you for your detailed response regarding Lily. Fortunately after a few minutes of being unsteady, she recovered and was acting normally. I appreciate your info. about your dane and his pain tolerance. We will keep a close watch on Lily. As far as her diet, we feed her Innova Large Breed Puppy food. My daughter had done research and found that this food didn’t have as much protein as the others and was oog for danes. I am still trying to find a vet in the Charlotte, NC area that has familiarity with great danes. Thanks Again!!!

  68. Jenny

     /  November 8, 2012

    Hi Nancy,
    I live in the Charlotte area. My Danes see Dr Sheehan at Atrium Animal Hospital. If your dane does end up having any neuro issues, you are in a great area. We are fortunate to have Dr Bergman a fabulous neurologist right at Charlotte Vet Specialists in Matthews. He cared for my wobbler dane for 5+ years. I wouldn’t take a dane with neuro issues anywhere else. I have a wobbler support group on yahoo and FB called neurodogs.

    Reply
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  70. Tammi

     /  April 30, 2013

    I have a 3yr old dane. he woke up one morning at 0400 with both rear legs very unsteady, by 4:30 that afternoon when I got him to the vet. both rear legs were paralyzed. he has not had any injuries to cause this; my vet as no idea what the cause of this could be, xrays and blood work showed nothing. It has been two weeks since this occurred, he is now finally able to stand very unsteadily on his own using the right rear leg, but the left rear leg is still not working. He has deep tissue pain in it as the vet calls it but that is all. My vet has suggested maybe just taking the left leg has a dane can function on three legs, but if this is wobblers would that be a wise decision or is putting him down the better option for him. I do not want my puppy (yes he is still my puppy to me) to suffer. please any suggestions will be appreciated I’am at a loss.

    Reply
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  72. Allison S.

     /  August 12, 2013

    We have a 10 week old mantle puppy who has some harlequin spotting. We got here at 7 weeks (long story – a bit out of my control), but everything has gone well, and she is a beauty. She is 20 pounds, and I am feeding her Natural Balance Duck and Legume (22.5 protein / 11.o fat – this is what my older Dane/Rhodesian mix eats (he is allergic to EVERYTHING) and she is doing very well on it – lean and growing.

    At what size/age can I move her from three feedings a day down to two? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  73. John Chambers

     /  October 28, 2013

    I have a male Great Dane who just turned 3 years old 150 lbs, twice he has lost coordination, usually only in the morning and months apart, the first time he was in the kitchen and just fell on his butt, he then was able to get up and be normal, then yesterday a month later he was standing next to me and fell on his side, I picked him up and he followed me downstairs only to fall again, but then he was fine the rest of the day, I went and bought him Glucose-amine tabs and changed his food from pedigree adult to Pedigree large breed, what else can I do and why is this happening, he does not drag his feet or hold is head low and its not all the time just 2 isolated incidents as of now, he has just had these 2 occurrences which have me very worried, any suggestions or thoughts?

    Reply
    • Janet Tregerman

       /  October 29, 2013

      I agree, go to vet immediately. Don’t suggest wobblers but give all details of these 2 occurrences. Get a better food if you can, grain free! Facebook has a Great Dane group and they are very helpful. Good luck!

      Janet Tregerman 305-298-8515 😊🌴

      >

      Reply
      • John Chambers

         /  October 29, 2013

        Thank you for your input, he has an appointment for the Vet Friday

  74. Alexandra

     /  October 28, 2013

    Hi there – I don’t know if this is wobblers – what you are describing does not quite fit wobblers – i.e. it does not seem like falling over is related to spinal issues – sounds more like balance issue. He may have an ear infection and is losing his balance – or something else going on with his ears. Go to the vet asap and get this checked out. Don’t wait.

    Reply
    • John Chambers

       /  October 29, 2013

      Thank you for your input, he has an appointment for the Vet Friday, I also think and hope it is an inner ear thing, he had to have drops for his ears when he was younger but they also made him dizzy.

      Reply
  75. Taylor

     /  April 4, 2014

    I have an 8 week old great dane puppy. She’s on blue buffalo for large breed puppies, 3 times a day. I want to be sure she isnt getting to much protien because she was diagnosed with “angular limb deformity” earlier today. I had noticed her front left paw was angled inward a bit and it was shaking when she would put any kind of pressure on it. She is Not in any kind of pain whatsoever, but she does limp when she runs around after my other dog and my baby sister. I want to correct her diet and exercise to ensure she doesn’t have more problems in the future. Which brand of food would be good? Also her stoole is very runny. She has been de wormed a few times already, but even in between the de wormings her stoole is still runny. Thanks :)

    Reply
  76. Alex

     /  April 4, 2014

    You should not feed her puppy food – you need to feed her adult food. The best food in my opinion is Orijen or Acana – they are grain free diets and have de-hydrated raw food as well. I have a Dane girl who just turned 1 and she is doing great with the mix of dry and dehydrated. You could add some probiotics to balance out her stomach – best one I have found is PROVIABLE DC made my nutramax. My girl also had runny stomach issues till I started using the Orijen mix. Its not cheap but its worth it.
    You should also give her joint support supplement – I give my girl Synovie G5. And don’t take here for long walks – short walks until she is about a year old. hope this helps!

    Reply
  77. Our Great Dane had many of these symptoms and we found out it was actually Addison’s Disease.

    Reply
  1. Prudence “Pru” is very sick and in the Hospital « One Shan
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