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Hello everyone,

Hope you are all well today!

I wanted to get everyone's opinion on something.

A few months ago my 2.5 year old male dobe landed funny when playing with the ball. He was yelping for what seemed like a minute straight while holding his L paw up and then stopped and kept on doing his thing as though nothing happened. We of course stopped playing and examined his paw and leg but he seemed completely normal and pain free (?). Anyway 3 months ago I was training obedience with him for our rally trial and I made him sit while I started walking around him and he yelped out in pain for a split second and was holding his L paw up again. And once again, I wiggled every little toe, then moved onto wrist, elbow and shoulder and had no reaction from him. We continued training. The next day, the exact same thing happened! So we stopped. Since then I would say it has happened maybe 4-5 times. ALWAYS when he is in a sit position. Quick yelp, holds the paw up and then gets over it. It never happens while in a standing position or when he is running or jumping. I have made him sit many times and he has generally always been completely fine and appeared very comfortable. I would say the yelp and paw hold occurs 1 in every 30-40 sits (haha difficult to say but it is quite rare).

I do a lot of sports with him and decided I needed to check this out as clearly this was not going away and getting better. Took him to the vet and we did xrays. Xrays showed nothing except what my vet thought MAYBE was a tiny bone spur? She sent me to a specialist. An orthopaedic surgeon who assessed the xrays and states he sees no bone spur but what is odd is that in both paws he sees a bit of fluid/swelling. But otherwise, both paws look exactly the same. He is not sure why there would be fluid there. He will take a sample next week. We will also be doing xrays of his elbows and shoulders and spine.

He says he has no idea where this pain is coming from. Some options he gave me were possible some tiny fracture near his elbow or shoulder, or perhaps some ligament injury, an autoimmune disorder because of the swelling he noted, OR something neurological. And of course he dropped the deadly wobblers bomb on me. I almost had a heart attack. I am still kind of freaking out but trying to stay as calm as I can.

He said perhaps he has a pinched nerve and if he sits a certain way it causes him pain in his L leg. He said because it is a doberman, he is inclined to think that maybe he has early signs of wobblers. I asked if he can have a pinched nerve but NOT have wobblers and he said no. Which I was a bit confused about as I always though you can have a pinched nerve but no wobblers. Anyway I really hope this is not the start of the W word. He is so young (although I know it IS possible for a young dog to develop this condition). I also feel confused as he moved so well. He has had no disturbance in his gait, he doesn't limp (although my partner said he saw him limp once with his front paw after a game of fetch. We don't play fetch any more and play with other toys instead). He has no reluctance to exercise and doesn't have any stiffness. The surgeon said he moves his neck very easily and appears completely pain free. I just don't know. But of course I have to prepare that this might be a probably cause. Oh god I hope not!

I was also thinking maybe he has some arthritis in his front paws due to some previous injury he could have sustained. He's a very active, psycho dog. This would not surprise me at all.


The surgeon did not say one option was more likely than the other. That those were just some thoughts he had. Like I mentioned before, we will be doing xrays of his shoulders and elbow on Tuesday and go from there. Maybe an MRI to look into wobblers. He says for now he wouldn't really change anything I am doing with him as this appears to not really affect him much and he would rather he stay active and enjoy his current quality of life.

Anyway, any thoughts from anyone that may have gone through a similar experience? Or anyone who just may have some guesses on what I might possibly be dealing with here?

Thank you in advance!

-Nervous Natalie
 

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I always thought wobblers started with weakness in the back legs…but I don't know a whole lot. It seems to me too, that you can have pinched nerves and herniated discs and all kinds of things without it being officially Wobblers. Perhaps he was using the term sort of generically, to refer to a number of different neck/nerve conditions?

There are a couple of people on here who do have experience with back and neck problems in their dogs, though; 4X4bikeped is one whose dog was born with a neck condition that had symptoms similar to those of Wobblers. I hope he'll chime in; you can try PMing him if not.
 

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My boy Hoss had some issues with his neck several years ago.
He was doing zoomies and wiped out and from that point on when he turned his neck a certain way he would yelp.
But not ALL the time.
So non steroid inflamatories for a while and easy play. No stairs or jumping to truck.
Did not improve so went to a neuro. And he dropped the W word.
MRI was performed also a spinal tap to rule out possible infections.
MRI was so detailed.Amazing everything that can be seen internally with this type of exam, although expensive.
After all the work and worries no findings BUT the MRI report dictated by the radiologist picked up an inflamed nerve that was at the front of his neck/chest area. Whew!!! No wobblers.
Hoss was on no other medications at the time so we were placed on tramadol and Galliprant for several months.
I was offered steroids although we opted for non steroids first and it worked for us.
Eventually the yelping went away. But it took a year and rest for all of that to happen full circle.
So Hoss was on low activities for quite some time with little rough play.
Hope things get worked out for you and your pup as we all worry so much when these things happen.
 

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I would not freak out about possible wobblers at this time. It does normally show up in the rear first - not the front. I would imagine that the vet is using wobblers as a catch all phrase - not cool IMHO. So often a vet will not look for anything else in a Doberman because wobblers could possibly be a culprit. I just roll my eyes at that kind of attitude.
 

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That doesn't sound like Wobblers to me, but I'm no vet.

Do you happen to have access to a board certified veterinary sports medicine/rehab vet?

When Richter had foot issues years ago, she was the only one who could correctly diagnose and treat him.

You can search for them here: https://vsmr.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=5595
 

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I am wondering when he goes to the sit position , is he doing it out of fear / pain ?. Does he go to that position with his ears back? This may give you a clue that its not the sit position is the problem but maybe he is in more pain than you realize.
I have often felt that long nails could possibly cause foot issues nothing proven on my part just a factor i try to eliminate when searching for a limp reason.
I would be very concerned if i was getting yelps. I agree with Fitz that bringing up wobblers is not cool. Hopefully you are dealing with some muscle swelling and a pinched nerve...if only you could speak proper doberman language things like this would take a lot of worry out of life:wink2:
Goodluck!
 

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Thank you so much for your responses everyone.

MeadowCat, I do have a board certified veterinary sports medicine/rehab vet an hour away. My friend has had great success with him and her GSD. She went to the same specialists I am now going to and no one was able to give her any answers regarding her dog's lameness. She highly recommended him so if we get nowhere with the testing, I will probably go to him.

Alan, thank you for your response. I do not think he shows any fear when sitting down but maybe I am not reading him well. He doesn't go into the sit position on his own. It is only when I ask him to sit. And that's when once in a while he will yelp. 90% of the time when I make him sit he appears normal. I'm always watching him like a hawk when he sits because I am so nervous that he will yelp but he generally seems very relaxed. SO I honestly don't know. His nails are trimmed short so I do not think that is the issue. And also he rarely every limps. He will only just hold his paw up for one second and then once he starts to walk, he walks with no issues. I just don't know. This is all so frustrating. What a mystery. Thank you for your suggestions. I really with they could talk so he can tell me what on earth is going on!
 

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If you want to rule out wobblers he will have to have an MRI and that cost us $ 2,500 on our 10 year old Sarge. Wobblers can happen on any LONG necked dog. The disc in their neck pops out and pinches the spinal chord, and the result is loss of feeling and or control of their extremities. Because of our dogs age they took him right into surgery after the MRI so that they would not have to put him under again. They removed 2 disc's in his neck.
 
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