I thought this article could be useful to people with dobermans who are suspected to have CVI or Wobblers. "When Good Discs Go Bad
By Dr. Becker
Intervertebral disc disease is a serious condition seen more often in dogs than cats.
Intervertebral discs are cushioning pads of fibrocartilage that sit between most of the vertebra of the spinal column. The discs have an outer layer of tough fibrous tissue and a center that is more of a gel-like substance. They act as shock absorbers for the bones called vertebra in the spinal column.
Unfortunately, intervertebral discs are subject to degeneration, bulging outward, and even bursting or rupturing. When something goes wrong with a disc, the material inside escapes into the spinal column, pressing against the spinal cord or nerve roots, which causes pain, nerve damage, and sometimes, paralysis. This is the condition known as intervertebral disc disease or IVDD.
Depending on the location of the damaged disc, problems can occur anywhere in the animal’s body from the neck to the rear limbs.... Symptoms of IVDD
There are a number of symptoms that can occur with intervertebral disc disease, but they’re also seen with other conditions, which is why an accurate diagnosis is needed.
Signs you should watch for include reluctance to move the neck and head or a lowered head -- some animals only move their eyes to look at you. They don’t want to move their head or neck because it’s painful. An animal holding his head low and shifting just his eyes to look at you is definitely suspicious for IVDD.
Other symptoms can include back pain, stiffness, crying out unexpectedly when touched or while moving, abdominal tenderness or tenseness, an arched back or hunched posture, incomplete or inappropriate urination, dragging one or more legs, toeing or knuckling over when walking or standing, weakness, stiffness, an odd or tentative gait, reluctance to sit or stand, or an unwillingness to jump.
Some dogs have anxiety, because they know it’s going to hurt when they move.
Other signs: reduced appetite or activity level, loss of bowel or bladder control, trembling or shaking, a loss of general coordination, paralysis in one or more limbs, or, in a worst-case scenario, sudden collapse..... Importance of Physical Therapy for IVDD Patients
During this time of complete rest, there are some very important therapies that can speed healing and improve your pet’s chances of a successful outcome.
Acupuncture and electroacupuncture, which is sending a microcurrent of electricity to and from acupuncture points (which are really big nerve bundles), can be very beneficial at helping to re-establish the nerve connections in the body. Massage
with or without medical-grade therapeutic essential oils is very good for disc patients as well. Massage of limbs and axial muscles not directly involved with the site of the injury and passive range of motion exercises can help improve circulation and assist with lymphatic drainage.
Physical rehab technicians are trained to use gentle joint compressions to help maintain patient comfort and reduce pain. Also, these techniques help to maintain limb strength and muscle mass. Laser therapy
at the surgical site or over the area of injury will promote a more rapid healing response, and neuromuscular electrostimulation will help slow muscle atrophy from disuse.
When healing is far enough along, underwater treadmill therapy or swim therapy is an absolutely amazing tool for helping the body recover from neurologic trauma..."
For the complete article: What is Intervertebral Disc Disease?