At first, you might think Cooper is an ordinary and healthy Great Dane. However, Cooper has had to overcome more than most. Cooper has a disease called Wobblers Syndrome, which is also known as "cervical spondylomyelopathy". Wobblers syndrome is a disease that affects the neck and spine of mainly large and giant breed dogs. The spinal cord becomes compressed, resulting in neck pain and 'wobbly' walking dogs.
This week we spoke with Coopers owner, Katie, to learn as much as we can about her amazing Great Dane, as well as the disease of Wobblers.
How old is Cooper and how long has Cooper been diagnosed with wobblers?
My pup is 7 years old and Cooper was diagnosed in May of 2021 after receiving a myelogram and CT scan under anesthesia.
What was the first sign you noticed when you thought something was wrong?
In October of 2020 I started to notice Cooper was hurting himself more when he would go down the stairs. It was almost like his legs would get confused and tangled up, but not every day. As the months went on, I saw that Cooper was tripping and falling anytime he had zoomies, his back end would sink down when he was eating and the most obvious sign was when he started losing control of his bowels at night.
How do you best manage Coopers diagnosis?
Coopers veterinarian and I decided that his best option would be medical management. Every wobbler is different, but in Coopers case surgery was not recommended. He takes prednisone daily and as often as he will allow I take him on short walks to help retain muscle mass. Every day I'm learning more and more ways to keep him comfortable and happy.
Does your dog, Cooper, who has Wobblers, live a full life?
Cooper has always been a simple creature. His favorite activities are cuddling, eating and occasionally slinging around his stuffed animals. Cooper would rather have a seat and enjoy the scenery over going for a run or wrestling anyway. So yes, he is still very much living a full life.
What tips do you have for someone with a Wobblers diagnosis?
My best advice is to take it a day at a time. Every day is different and you have to learn to appreciate the good days, adapt on the bad days and remember that you are doing the very best you can despite the circumstances. I was lucky enough to be working in the veterinary field for most of his life so I always had access to medical advice.
I think its important to know that it is 100% ok to call your vet with any questions. Whether they seem like silly questions or not, they are there to help you and will never steer you the wrong way.
What would you tell Cooper if you could tell him one thing?
I would tell him that I am so lucky to be his mom and that I love him more and more every day.
What do you think cooper tell you if he could tell you one thing?
I think he would just tell me he's happy as long as I'm by his side.
Thank you so much, Katie and Cooper, for answering our questions and allowing us to get to know you both more! We are so grateful for the chance to learn more about Wobblers Syndrome this week and also how wonderful Cooper's life is. He is certainly thriving with your care and so lucky to have you.