July 2012 Edition 

Table of Contents

Wobbler's Syndrome
Annie's Happy Tail  

Welcome to the end of July issue! 


This has been a great summer at VNoC. We've had a number of happy owners post on our Facebook page and we've included one of our favorites below.


Dr. McDonnell is well-known for his work in the definitive treatment of Wobbler's disease, so we've included an article in which he discusses the syndrome's symptoms, the two distinct types of disease described as Wobbler's Syndrome, its diagnosis and treatment.     


We're also highlighting some of the continuing education opportunities in the area for vet techs and vets.


As always, we'd like to thank you for your continued confidence in referring your patients to our practice. We are honored that you trust and value our services.




Dr. Jay McDonnell & VNoC Staff  


WobblerWobbler's Syndrome
By Jay McDonell, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)

Doberman with Wobbler Syndrome Cervical vertebral instability is also known as Wobbler Syndrome, caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy, cervical vertebral malformation, cervical spondylolisthesis, cervical stenosis and cervical spondylopathy. You can see the typical stance of a dog with Wobbler Syndrome in this moderately-to-severely affected 5-year-old female spayed Doberman pinscher. Although she held her neck very stiffly, she would not cry out in pain with manipulation of the neck.

Wobbler syndrome is a term loosely used to encompass compressive spinal cord lesions affecting the caudal cervical spine (the spinal cord at base of neck) in large- and giant-breed dogs. The cause is likely to be the result of genetic, nutritional and biochemical influences.

What to Watch For
  • Neck pain - variable
  • Difficulty rising to a standing position
  • Worn toenails, scuffed paws
  • Uncoordinated gait caused by decreased proprioception
  • Variable muscle atrophy, especially in forelimbs
  • Occasionally, the presence of Horner's Syndrome
  • Worsening of signs when the neck is flexed


 DiskoAnnie's Happy Tail
Karen, Annie's owner writes....
Annie is a five year old, very happy, very healthy Papillion...thanks to
Dr. McDonnell.


Two years ago, Sunday,
June 11, 2010, to be exact, Annie all of a sudden started yelping.  I had no idea what was wrong so I rushed her to our local emergency vet.  They thought it was some sort of muscle strain, put her on steroids, and told me to follow up with Annie's regular vet. I did so the next day. Our vet took x-rays and wasn't sure what was going on and referred me to a neurologist in Virginia. He did an MRI, spinal tap and x-rays and said he "didn't see anything." He told me to keep Annie on steroids, where she remained for two years.
 Through the next two years, Annie had several flair-ups that would put her in so much pain. I tried everything I could think of. Since I didn't know what was wrong, I got desperate and even tried acupuncture and holistic medicine. MORE>> 
JayWhat Are You Doing For CE?
vnocstaff At VNoC, we're all very committed to continuing our education so that we can stay at the forefront of our field. That's why as part of each enewsletter, we include listings of conferences and other continuing education opportunities in our area. 

There are two upcoming events put on by the Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center (CVRC) we'd like to recommend. 

Registered Veterinary Technicians should save the date for the 3rd Annual CVRC RVT Conference on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at the Ruth Chris Steak House in Pikesville, Maryland. The day will include continuing education with CVRC's board-certified specialists, as well as fine cuisine. Registration is free. It's anticipated that SBVME will approve the conference for 6 hours of continuing education. 

Dr. Mark E. Hitt, DVM, MS of CVRC tell us, "CVRC is excited to announce our 14th Annual CVRC Fall Conference for Veterinarians will be held on Sunday, October 28, 2012. Our board certified specialists will present a day of continuing education, while the Ruth Chris Steak House will provide fine cuisine. Registration is free and we expect the SBVME to approve the conference for 6 hours of continuing education."  

Topics, speakers and RSVP information for both conferences will be coming soon.
LunchLearn at Lunch!
Have you had a Lunchtime Seminar with VNoC? Pick a date and our VNoC staff  will come to your office, buy you lunch and share  some interesting insights and valuable information on a topic of your choice. To book, just email us at and we'll take care of the rest. 

Some topics to consider:  

Seizure potpourri: Naive seizure patient; picking an anticonvulsant, when and how to load, how to decide to add another anticonvulsant; how to treat cats; how to treat status.   

Back dog: Deciding when to refer; how best to treat the painful or minimal deficit dog.   

Neck dog: The same above.  

Review of the neurological exam.   

Head tilt, falling, rolling: Vestibular disease.   

Advice for the owner of a patient you suspect may have a brain tumor or other intracranial problem.

Events Local Events & CE Opportunities

Anne Arundel County Veterinary Medical Association


Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center (CVRC) October 28: 14th Annual CVRC Fall Conference for Veterinarians 9am - 4pm Ruth Chris Steak House in Pikesville, MD. See article above.


District of Columbia Academy of Veterinary Medicine
September 6: Parasitology. Dr. Dwight Bowman, Cornell University
October 4: Orthopedic Surgery.  Dr. Gail Smith, University of Pennsylvania All DCAVM meetings are held at THE ELKS LODGE, 8421 Arlington Blvd. (Rte. 50), Fairfax, Virginia. Each seminar provides a maximum of 6 hours of continuing education credit: 3 hours in the morning session and 3 hours in the afternoon session.


The Greater Baltimore Veterinary Medical Association

September 20: Behavior. Dr. Wayne Hunthausen

All GBVMA meetings are held at the Hilton Pikesville located just inside the Baltimore Beltway (695) at exit 20 S., Resiterstown Rd., on the right-hand side.   


Virginia Veterinary Medical Association  

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Arlington, VA. Hotel reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-468-3571; ask for the 2012 Potomac Regional Veterinary Conference room block. Please make your reservations BEFORE Thursday, August 30, 2012. Offering 18 hours of Small Animal, Equine, and Public Practice CE. Presented by DCVMA, MVMA, VVMA and WVVMA.
VNoC Schedule

808 Bestgate Road,
Annapolis, MD:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

1209 Cromwell Bridge Road, Towson, MD:

For an appointment  
at either office, call
then press 5 

Emergency consults available Saturday & Sunday 9am-noon.

For critical care and after hours, our
24-hour ER clinic will coordinate with our neurologist on call to ensure your patient is seen within 24 hours. Additional ER fees
will apply. 

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Our Services
Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake provides neurology and neurosurgery services including:


Neurological evaluations and recommendations   


Advanced imaging
and interpretation, electrodiagnostics exams and
BAER testing   


Neurosurgery, post-operative care, pain management and rehabilitation


Cerebrospinal fluid collection and analysis     


Neuromuscular disease and seizure disorder work-up and consultations