I am writing this because my sister made me promise I would. And because my little girl Giselle, a red Doberman, had advanced stage wobbler's and
almost died from it. We went thru hell finding something that actually worked. I am not a vet or an expert, but this is what Giselle and I found out on our
journey. This is Giselle's story.
If you don't want to spend time reading all of this, and your vet has confirmed Wobbler's, bottom line, find a IVAS VET WITH good credentials who
specializes in acupuncture and has successfully treated Wobbler's with the gold bead implants before. Schedule the gold bead implant SURGERY as
soon as possible. Holistic and conventional treatments just treat symptoms, and the disease will progress. Advanced stage Wobbler's can result in
paralysis and death.Don't fool around.
What is Wobblers?
Wobbler's is a genetic condition of the cervical spine. The prevalent theory is that the vertebra surrounding the spinal column doesn't develop correctly
and is too narrow for the spinal cord. I believe that or a birth defect in the cervical vertebrae causes a weak spot in the spine which is vulnerable to
damage and results in repetitive spinal cord swelling.
Wobblers symptoms in Giselle:
Symptoms of Wobbler's are easy to spot. Initially, one of the dogs leg or paw tremors and shakes uncontrollably. It looks like an epileptic fit going on in
the paw/leg. The tremors last anywhere between a minute to an hour, the leg/paw relaxes for a bit, then it starts up again. With Giselle, the tremors
started in her right hind paw, 5 years later progressed to her left hind leg, than within a matter of months began to move into her front right paw.
Though the shaking/tremors happen when the dog is standing, it doesn't seem to last long. You will see it more when the dog is laying down or
sleeping, especially at night. (Make sure your dog is not sleeping next to a wall, the banging will drive you nuts!)
The next recognizable symptom is the paw curl and knuckle walking. Most vets determine the stage of the disease by the degree of paw curl.
Wobbler's is called Wobbler's for a reason. The affected paw (eventually paws) can be curled under. If you are holding the dogs paw, you can easily
push the front toes down until they touch (or almost touch) the back heel of the paw. Dogs use the paw curl when they have trouble walking or running.
They try to steady themselves by curling the paw under and walking on their knuckles or top of their toes. This only works well at first. Eventually they
start to wobble like a tipsy pup and start falling a lot.
As the disease progresses, because of the unsteadiness on their feet, especially when standing up, they begin to develop a two legged push off to
get up and moving. When they try to run, they start using this bunny hop also. Eventually even this fails and they fall over trying to stand. So help them
up when they need it. I would just lock my hands under Giselles stomach close to her hips (or use a towel under her belly as a pulley) and give her a
little pull up to a stable position. Check before you let go that they are not doing the paw curl and standing on their toes. If they are, just turn the paws
the right way down so they don't fall over again.
When they begin falling a lot, you have to do everything possible to keep them from twisting their spine. Ice and un carpeted floors are the worse.
Bad fall can result in paralysis from the neck down. ( O yes you freak out and so want to start screaming but no time). You need to get the spinal cord
swelling down before the paralysis cuts off their breathing. Get prednisone into them right away. Giselle was 75 lbs and 40-50 mg of prednisone
brought down the swelling and stopped the paralysis within an hour and a half (thank you God). Always keep prednisone around.
Also, Wobbler's are the messiest eaters you've ever seen. They gulp their food. Even after you elevate their bowls so they don't have to strain their
necks to get to it. Something to do with the cervical defect I'm told.
Giselle was also a flopper. She could not lay down in the normal way, so she would kind of tip herself and fall over. After hearing her hit the carpet hard
a few times, I always made sure she had an orthopedic doggy bed under her when she was getting ready to lay down.
Great vets can diagnose Wobbler's the first time they meet your dog. Mine did. The leg tremors and paw curl are dead giveaways. And advised me
against traditional spinal surgery which would put my girl, if she survived (not a option right there), through excruciating pain and do little to alleviate the
Wobbler's. And yes I know how lucky I am to have such a great human being as my vet.
I have read of people having extensive testing done on their dogs, thousands of dollars worth. If you suspect Wobbler's, remember the leg
tremors,paw curl, and knuckle walking are dead giveaways and if your vet is clueless, contact a IVAS certified vet who has dealt with Wobbler's before.
The IVAS certified vet would be able to confirm Wobbler's on the first visit and do a test session, then set up a gold bead implant surgery
Have the acupuncture gold bead implant surgery done as soon as possible it is a relatively non invasive surgery that takes an hour or two under
anesthesia. Three months or so after surgery, you should see the Wobbler's go into remission. Most times, almost completely. When I first saw
references to gold bead implants i thought what hooey, It is not. When I woke up one morning and found Giselle next to my bed paralyzed, I knew I had
to find something that worked or I would lose her.
Acupuncture Gold Bead Implants are the ONLY thing that works and puts Wobbler's in remission. You have no idea what it is to see your dog running
around the yard again instead of stumbling and falling and dying a horrible death.
How to Find A Qualified Surgeon.
I first contacted Dr. Durkes one of the leading surgeons specializing in Wobbler's. He was wonderful and got back to me right away (THANK YOU
SIR!!) His Website www.durkesanimalhospital.com/goldbeadimplants/tabid/55/default.aspx is great, as you can see the surgery, x-rays of the spinal
implants, and follow ups of the dogs treated. Dr. Durkes, is located in Indiana. Unfortunately, a long car ride may have paralyzed Giselle again as I
feared she might not survive the drive. Wobblers dogs don't do well in cars. Once they lay down, they can not get back up.
So back to Yahoo search for "Veterinary Acupuncture"< which led me to the IVAS (International Veterinary Acupuncture Association) website and a
listing of IVAS certified vets:Http://www.ivas.org
On the bottom right side of the page click on the "search for vets" button, Then select your state. Bring up a list of IVAS certified vets and call to find one
who does the gold bead implant surgery and has successfully treated Wobblers before.
I called around until I found a vet who had actually done the surgery MANY times before. Dr. Leonard Blissfield Veterinary Clinic in Blissfield Mi.
517-486-4395 if you are in Mi. or Ohio. Dr. Leonard did his initial evaluation and a test electronic acupuncture session. This ran around $150.00. The
test electronic acupuncture session, which was interesting to watch, did very little to alleviate the Wobblers symptoms, though I could tell Giselle felt a
bit better the rest of the week. The test session was used to verify nothing else is going on that the surgeon should be aware of. I have read of
"specialists" trying to string owners along with multiple acupuncture sessions before (and if,most have never done) the surgery. Drop these clowns
and find a real vet who is not endangering your dogs life to finance their kids college education.
After the test session, I set up the gold bead implant surgery. The surgery ran around $300.00. It took about an hour or so, the after surgery recovery
session perhaps another hour. I got to stay with my girl the entire time and watch the procedure.
After Giselle was put under anesthesia, Dr. Leonard felt along her neck and spine and injected the implants in tender and spasm-ed area's and nerve
junctions. The implants are injected with a large needle (Think polio shot size). He injected at least 2 or 3 packs, think maybe 12 - 20 in each pack. I
pointed out area's that I knew applying pressure while massaging her back (especially behind her shoulder blades) had helped calm the tremors.
While the dog is still out but coming out of anesthesia, Dr. Leonard gave Giselle a electronic acupuncture session to help her recovery (what a nice
touch!). Before leaving the office, make sure to pick up any back pills you give the dog for two weeks after surgery. Think they run $12.00 (i paid $20.00
just in postage to have them sent because I forgot to pick them up at the time. Sometimes I'm such a Yutz)>
Giselle was a bit groggy on the way home, her eyes were red, but within hours she was up and about and you knew she was feeling better. She got
better and better over the next two weeks. I saw maximum benefits in about three months. During which time I weaned her off the prednisone and
stopped all meds.
Tremors occur on rare occasion now when she's sleeping but nothing like before, much less intense, much shorter duration, and not all over like she
was having an epileptic fit. She does NOT wobble any more, runs like a normal Doberman with all four legs going ( instead of the bunny hop). My dog
can walk again. My dog can run again. It is truly amazing. Thank You God for such a miracle.
Dealing with Wobblers before Gold Bead Implant Surgery.
Carpet everything. Bare wood, cement, and tile floors are like ice skating rinks to Wobblers dogs. (Added bonus - the right patterned carpet is so much
easier and I am no longer scrubbing white kitchen tile and hallway floors every weekend.:).
Build ramps into and out of the house. And Over stairs. Wobblers dogs can not do stairs. Again, added bonus, moving heavy items in and out of the
house is so much easier on a ramp then trying to manhandle over stairs. Elevate food bowls. If you had a neck problem, you sure would not want to
bend over to eat.
I also give Giselle Healthy joint Formula, A glucosamine-MSM-Vitamin suppliment. Chondroitin can make a dog sick so I use a glucosamine only
supplement. I order this by the case.(around $60 - $80) from Petraport and give a bottle to any dog owner I see whose dog is in hip or joint trouble. In
the initial stages of wobblers, this helps control the disease until it progresses as the dog gets older or into the tripping stage. Petraport Healthy Joint
Formula 201-854-6157, ask for Mimi. ( Nope i don't have anything to do with the company or stock or profit. This is just wonderful stuff that doesn't
make my dog ill).
If your dog is having a bad spell, brace their neck (softest towel you have wrapped around the neck secured by duct tape does well if you can't find a
neck brace). Use prednisone to alleviate spinal cord swelling ( i used 5-20mg on Giselle), and robaxin (generic name methocarbamol) as a muscle
relaxant for spasms and tremors. Robaxin is used in humans after back surgery. Rimadyl was a waste of time, plus it gave my girl the up chucks and
diarrhea after 5 days. Tramadol for pain management. The antibiotic Keflex also helped... Not sure why. We think maybe a low grade spinal infection
from constant inflammation might be part of wobbler's.
My regular vet, Dr. Monica, Oakland animal Hospital, Rochester, Mi who originally diagnosed Giselle and supervised her conventional treatment and
pain management, was so amazed when she WALKED in, (not tripped, not carried), after the implant surgery that he started attending some of the
IVAS conventions (Again, what a exceptional doc he is.) Doc tells me they are now using acupuncture to put a liver and kidney in remission. Amazing,
Once in a blue moon, we have a real chance to fight these death sentence diseases. Never rule out anything that works.
My beloved Giselle passed away two years later, 1/31/2011 of sudden heart failure. Not wobblers. She never tripped or fell again after surgery.
This is a testament to the bravest, most non-complaining trusting soul I have ever met, who belonged to the finest breed in the World
she was my heart.
Debi & Lance