A Tribute to Louis

This ‘Pet of the Month’ story is a little different to our others as it is a tribute to a wonderful dog and his relationship to his dedicated owner.

Louis was a Doberman who was treated at our Ingatestone Surgery for the condition known as ‘Wobblers Syndrome’.  We have chosen Louis story as it is one that shows how wonderfully resilient dogs can be when suffering from a devastating illness and also demonstrates the amazing bond between a dog and their owner.


Louis was such a majestic dog with the gentlest of natures, who coped on a daily basis with the condition also known as Cervical Spondylopathy or ‘Wobblers’.  The disease is caused by the abnormal development of the vertebrae in the neck.  These deformed bones can then directly compress on the spinal cord and the discs between the vertebrae can become compressed and thickened.  The symptoms of the disease include a characteristic ‘wobbly’ uncoordinated gait and neck pain which gradually deteriorates over time.  The disease is not common and it mainly seems to affect the dog breeds of Dobermans and Great Danes.

I was lucky enough to know Louis and was constantly amazed how he adapted to his wobbly world.  He loved attention and had such a gentle way about him he never grumbled or complained, even when his condition deteriorated.

Sadly, after many years of dedicated care from his owner Louis passed away last month and we wanted to share his story .  We asked Louis owner to tell his story and she writes:

‘Our paths first crossed in 2006 when I was working at a horse yard in Kent when I watched this hairless, smelly, skinny cross eyed creature run the gauntlet between the horses.  I stood there and wondered what on earth this poor, unfortunate creature was up to and I soon learned that he had discovered one of the horses was gentle enough to scratch his back with its teeth!  I soon noticed that if he was not with his favourite Stallion and favourite groom he was never far from my side.  I was aware there was little love for him at the yard and I decided to ask if I could take him on a little journey and without a care his then owners said ‘Take him if you want!’ I did take him but that first journey home was a cold one as he smelt so much all of the windows were wide open, but he just sat thee without a care in the world.  Our journey together started that day and lasted an incredible eight years.

From the moment that he came home with me he was my right hand man.  He slowly grew his coat, he became well nourished and stopped smelling but he always remained a little cross eyed, this just added to his incredible, loving, endearing nature.

Louis unfortunately developed ‘Wobblers Syndrome’ a few years after coming to live with me.  He adapted to this syndrome with a stoicism to be proud of and he remained his good natured self throughout this debilitating condition.  Walks became less and less and he became unsteady on his feet and at times would just collapse.  Louis adapted so well to all of the changes that life had in store for him.  He went from an unloved yard dog to an active, much loved and trusted companion and friend to all.

When Louis condition needed medical intervention he was initially treated with tablets and when this line on treatment was felt not to be enough we started acupuncture, much to Louis delight, he loved it!  Louis attended his acupuncture appointments on a monthly basis.  I have the vet Kat Rhodes to thank for Louis excellent care and support in his treatment.  Louis loved going to the vets and especially for his acupuncture, and the liver treats after where a bonus!

There are too many stories to share in this brief tribute of my wonderful Louis but the one thing I know is that absolutely everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him never forgot him.  He was remembered for his gentleness, loyalty, kindness, stuborness and his inability to learn to learn how to be a guard dog!  He was a perfect ambassador for his breed – Louis is simply irreplaceable.’