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Discussion Starter #1
Last night I got to thinking about CVI and wondered why breeders don't xray their breeding stock for it. When my dobe and her daughter had CVI it showed up very plainly on the xrays.
It looks like this could be something that could be checked for before breeding. I know it is not proven that it is hereditary, tho I believe it is a very big part of it, if not the direct cause.
 

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Last night I got to thinking about CVI and wondered why breeders don't xray their breeding stock for it. When my dobe and her daughter had CVI it showed up very plainly on the xrays.
It looks like this could be something that could be checked for before breeding. I know it is not proven that it is hereditary, tho I believe it is a very big part of it, if not the direct cause.
It is an interesting thought. I've always been told that CVI can be very difficult to see on an x-ray even when they are accutely affected with it. I guess it really depends on the dog. I don't have too much experience with it although my first Doberman was diagnosed with it at age 5. She lived to 11 and occasionally had flair ups with it but we could always get her symptoms calmed down with a shot of pred. In retrospect, I've always wondered if it were actually something else that was misdiagnosed and maybe could have been helped with acupuncture or some other therapy. Those were the days when I just accepted what the vet told me as the truth. I know better now.

I'm not that well read on CVI, but would be interested in reading what other people know about it and their experiences with it - especially breeders.
 

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AFAIK, the only definitive way to diagnose CVI is with a myelogram and it's a somewhat difficult procedure you wouldn't put a dog through for no reason. Not that pre-breeding screens are no reason, but it's still something you'd only do if a vet were fairly convinced there was reason to, and I believe that a lot of myelograms are done in conjunction with a treatment plan (ie surgical intervention, gold bead implantation, etc) - you'd do it all at the same time.

Five of my dogs were involved with a CVI study at the University of Guelph. I think they were the first of the "normal" study group that they examined. They asked for Dobermans between the ages of 4 and 7, I think it was. I had five at the time in that age frame so volunteered them all. They had neuro work-ups at OVC, they later had MRI's of their necks / spines. Turned out that "normal" dogs don't look a lot different than CVI affected dogs on MRI. They said that all five of mine looked like affected dogs, but even the neurologist was convinced it was highly unlikely that all five of mine would happen to be afflicted with CVI later. I can tell you that I lost one of them at 8 to lymphoma, one at 9 to osteosarcoma - neither had CVI symptoms at the time. Two of the others are currently 8 years old, the other is 9. One of the 8 year olds just had a neuro work up while we tried to figure out the reason for her incontinence, and that included x-ray which was normal. Anyway, the 3 are without CVI symptoms at this time.

Later on, as part of the OVC study, they had mep testing which was done under light anesthesia. Simply put, electrical impulses were sent down their spines and the reaction time was monitored.

I've never heard of x-ray as a definitive diagnosis of CVI. While I'm sure that it may be apparent on x-ray once it reaches the stage of being able to see symptoms, running one for no reason would probably get you nowhere.
 

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I've never heard of x-ray as a definitive diagnosis of CVI. While I'm sure that it may be apparent on x-ray once it reaches the stage of being able to see symptoms, running one for no reason would probably get you nowhere.
I agree with everything Mary says here.

I've certainly never heard anyone anywhere recommend xray as a screening tool for CVI.
 

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AFAIK, the only definitive way to diagnose CVI is with a myelogram and it's a somewhat difficult procedure you wouldn't put a dog through for no reason. Not that pre-breeding screens are no reason, but it's still something you'd only do if a vet were fairly convinced there was reason to, and I believe that a lot of myelograms are done in conjunction with a treatment plan (ie surgical intervention, gold bead implantation, etc) - you'd do it all at the same time.

QUOTE]

This is my understanding as well..myelograms are generally done immediately prior to surgery to pinpoint exactly where and what needs to be done. Some of the possible side effects to myelograms are seizures, and even death..so the benefit/risk factor always has to be carefully weighed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Maybe my understanding of CVI is wrong, but I thought it was caused by misshapened vertebrae of the neck. The vertebrae would age, wear and begin to slip putting pressure on the spinal cord which would cause the symtoms.
I would think misshapen vertebrae would be easy to see on an xray. Are these vertebrae so close to normal they can't be seen on xray.
My vet had no trouble seeing the problem on my older girl and said one of the vertebrae was badly misshapen and had slipped downward wedging into the spinal cord. She was very, very symtomatic. I can't remember what he said about the daughter now. She really had no symtoms except she had hit the end of a plastic chain I was using and yelped.
It looks to me like you could catch, at the very least, the ones most likely to present at a fairly early age.
 

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Maybe my understanding of CVI is wrong, but I thought it was caused by misshapened vertebrae of the neck. The vertebrae would age, wear and begin to slip putting pressure on the spinal column which would cause the symtoms.
I would think misshapen vertebrae would be easy to see on an xray. Are these vertebrae so close to normal they can't be seen on xray.
My vet had no trouble seeing the problem on my older girl and said one of the vertebrae was badly misshapen and had slipped downward wedging into the spinal cord. She was very, very symtomatic. I can't remember what he said about the daughter now. She really had no symtoms except she had hit the end of a plastic chain I was using and yelped.
It looks to me like you could catch, at the very least, the ones most likely to present at a fairly early age.
There are other issues that our long necked Dobermans are prone to - CVI is only one of them. Those long lovely necks are the reason I would never use a head halti, and recommend pinch collars to discourage those sled dog pullers out there!

In my Dobe that was diagnosed with CVI, the x-ray was sent to Univ Of Penn Vet School and even they could not make a 100% definitive diagnosis of CVI without a mylogram. I opted just to manage it instead and she did ok.

It sounds like what your Doberman had might have been something else entirely. I think some vets just lump all cervical problems in Dobermans under the heading of "CVI"........... I know the vet I was using at the time did that.

Irregardless, what you went through was devistating and so I can understand why you would want to know if there was some kind of testing for it.
 
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There are other issues that our long necked Dobermans are prone to - CVI is only one of them. Those long lovely necks are the reason I would never use a head halti, and recommend pinch collars to discourage those sled dog pullers out there!

My vet recommends pinch collars until all pulling issues are resolved. He is of the opinion that many neck spinal injuries happen to young dogs and take years for the dog to show signs. While they look nasty they are the safest collar to use on a puller. However, I see people with pinch collars on dogs while unattended, and that is very dangerous.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There are other issues that our long necked Dobermans are prone to - CVI is only one of them. Those long lovely necks are the reason I would never use a head halti, and recommend pinch collars to discourage those sled dog pullers out there!

It sounds like what your Doberman had might have been something else entirely. I think some vets just lump all cervical problems in Dobermans under the heading of "CVI"........... I know the vet I was using at the time did that.
What other neck problems are dobes prone too, excluding injury? I thought CVI was it.
I sat around and wondered about this till I finally had to ask.
 

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What other neck problems are dobes prone too, excluding injury? I thought CVI was it.
I sat around and wondered about this till I finally had to ask.
Linda I'm far from an expert, but I know that ruptured disks are known to happen and they are not the same thing as CVI. Many people feel that heavy handed training or jerking around of a young dog can cause problems later in life in our breed..... I tend to agree which is why I do walk my dogs on a pinch collar and train in one if needed till they calm down some. My Velma is a sled dog on a walk - she will be 5 in October. I have always used a pinch collar on her for walks. She still has gotten jerked around by her neck more than I like, but she is just such an idiot sometimes that it is hard not to. I cross my fingers and hope that we won't have problems later on.

I know that there are other neck conditions out there - some I'm sure are caused by injury and are not just a Doberman thing. Right off hand I can't think of the names.
 
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Do the euro dogs have the problem with CVI that we do?? I never seem to hear of it from that side. With the work they do with some of them, it looks like this would come up if it were a very big problem.
 

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my first dobie took over 2 years and several trips to the vet worth over $3,ooo before he was diagnosed. He limped for 2 years and was x-rayed 4 seperate times before being sent to a specialist. My boys problem was in his front legs, not the rear and it was rare that this occurred. The specialist scheduled surgery for his "shoulder tear", and the morning of surgery we received a call to let us know that they didnt want to operate without knowing more, and they wanted to do a CAT scan of his shoulder. Ok, go ahead. Thank god because there was NO ligament damage, just a normal shoulder. They then discussed with me maybe something called Wobblers Syndrome, and they needed to schedule another CAT scan later that month (he definitely needed time to recover from the first) on his neck. They did talk to us about a mylogram and we were too afraid for his safety. I didnt want to put him through anymore stress but one month later he seemed to worsen and so we sent him in for his second CAT. We were told he had Wobblers and they did not suggest surgery, it was very hard on the pet. We opted for pred and some acupucture and it worked for awhile but unfortunately his life ended 14 months later. To this day I am still angry that it took 2 1/2 years to diagnose his problem when it is common in dobes. Five months after he was "diagnosed" he was treated at Cornell for a liver problem and they were skeptical that it was Wobblers,( because it was in the front) they had seen another dog with similiar symptoms have a very slow growing tumor up in his shoulder. Nine months later he had all the terrible symptoms and it was time. Looking back now, we wonder if we contributed to his problem by using a collar, we will never really know.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I went through the same problem with diagnosis, but it was back in the '70s and I don't think it was as well know. My first female did not present till she was around 3 and I had to have her spayed due to a severe uterine infection. When she got out I could not lift her head in my hand like I did to talk to her. She would yelp or whine and I could tell it was causing her pain. I took her back to the vet and he said she had adhesions to the stump of her uterus and not to lift her head. Later I worked for him and one of the employees told me that she had gotten her choker caught in the bottom of the cage and they had found her trapped the next morning when they came in. I took her to another vet when she started with the lick sores on her back legs in the hock area. He didn't know the cause and it was a couple of years before he called me and said he thought he knew what was wrong with her and to bring her in he wanted to xray her neck. He told me he had a dobe PUPPY come in that was so bad he couldn't miss it.
The CVI progressed to her front legs, you could knock her over with a feather. Then on day I came home from work and she had hurt herself some how and was obviously in pain. I couldn't give her anything for pain as the vet said she would just hurt herself more. I took her the next morning and had her put down. She was nine years old but had shown symtoms for years and was probably in more pain then I realized.
I do not trust vet totally to this day about what goes on behind "those doors" when everyone is out of sight. When I worked for the vet I saw a LOT of lying about why a pet died especially if he had killed it with his experiments.
 

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I went through the same problem with diagnosis, but it was back in the '70s and I don't think it was as well know. My first female did not present till she was around 3 and I had to have her spayed due to a severe uterine infection. When she got out I could not lift her head in my hand like I did to talk to her. She would yelp or whine and I could tell it was causing her pain. I took her back to the vet and he said she had adhesions to the stump of her uterus and not to lift her head. Later I worked for him and one of the employees told me that she had gotten her choker caught in the bottom of the cage and they had found her trapped the next morning when they came in. I took her to another vet when she started with the lick sores on her back legs in the hock area. He didn't know the cause and it was a couple of years before he called me and said he thought he knew what was wrong with her and to bring her in he wanted to xray her neck. He told me he had a dobe PUPPY come in that was so bad he couldn't miss it.
The CVI progressed to her front legs, you could knock her over with a feather. Then on day I came home from work and she had hurt herself some how and was obviously in pain. I couldn't give her anything for pain as the vet said she would just hurt herself more. I took her the next morning and had her put down. She was nine years old but had shown symtoms for years and was probably in more pain then I realized.
I do not trust vet totally to this day about what goes on behind "those doors" when everyone is out of sight. When I worked for the vet I saw a LOT of lying about why a pet died especially if he had killed it with his experiments.
Gosh, Linda H,

That vet sounds pretty horrible. And I can't say that the vets who treated and diagnosed (and the ones who didn't diagnose) the condition they were calling CVI may or may not have been correct.

First of all Dobes almost never present true CVI as young dogs--Great Danes do--and it shows up in very young dogs and in puppies. CVI primarily presents in older dogs in Dobes.

There really isn't a test for it as a pre-existing condition prior to breeding. Other people have pointed out that mylograms (which are still regarded as the best difinitive test) can be dangerous. Cat scans often still don't show abnormalities that would give a definite diagnosis of Wobblers. X-rays are definitely not definitive.

The study that Mary & Dobes talks about has been followed and repeated elsewhere (other vet schools) and they found the same thing to be true--a dog with CVI's vertebrae and a normal dogs vertebrae are virtually indestinguishable. And I think from what I've read that was a finding that surprised everyone involved.

The most common other neck and spine problem is IVDD, interverteral disc disease)--generally this will show up with the same sort of symptoms as CVI--if the blown discs are in the neck. My understanding is that the disc which provides cushioning between vertebrae ruptures and the nucleus can impinge on the spinal cord--causing pain, or the vertebra themselves can ummmmm--jam together and put pressure on the spinal cord or related nerve trunks and cause pain.

And unfortunately a good many vets simply lump any neck or back problem in a Doberman into CVI/Wobblers.

I know of a couple of young dogs and at least one puppy who had cervical neck injuries resulting in CVI like symptoms from high speed impacts head first into a variety of things--walls, doors, other dogs and in one case the inside back end of their own crate. In the cases that got a diagnosis and had CAT scans or MRI's done the pain was caused from the damage to the disc--not from a vertebral defect. In one case the dog died on the spot from a broken neck and severed spinal cord which was determined by necropsy.

Unless it's really an expert (and I think the real experts in CVI diagnosis are the neurologist and orthopedic guys) who is diagnosing I'd want a specialist diagnosis before I decided that the dog actually did have CVI. Too many things get called CVI that simply aren't.
 
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