An Overview of Spondylosis in Dogs

Spondylosis in dogs is a chronic condition in which bone spurs form on the spine due to progressive disk degeneration. The rate and type of the disk degeneration will determine the severity of Spondylosis deformans in your dog. This condition can range from imperceptible to debilitating.

Characteristics of Spondylosis Deformans

As bone spurs grow, they may form bridges from one vertebrae to another. Though compression of the spine is usually not the result, your dog may gradually lose flexibility in the backbone and overall range-of-motion. As your dog ages, you may see a diminished capacity to run, jump and turn to aging. However, Spondylosis may be the real cause. Finally, trauma can snap the bridges of bone fusing the vertebrae, causing pinched nerves.

Causes of Spondylosis in Dogs

Controversy persists over whether Spondylosis deforman is passed from dog to dog genetically. Proponents of this theory posit that the vertebrae in dogs genetically predisposed to develop Spondylosis deformans are born with weaker vertebrae, unable to withstand even the smallest traumas without injury. Others say the condition is a "middle-age disease." Finding the exact cause is difficult because the condition varies so widely across breeds.

Symptoms of Spondylosis Deformans

Most dogs with mile spondylosis deformans have no symptoms. Symptoms of more severe spondylosis deformens may include:

  • dog with back pain
  • lameness
  • muscle atrophy
  • neurological problems (rare)

Diagnosing Spondylosis as Source of Dog Health Problems

Your vet will probably x-ray your dog if Spondylosis is suspected. However, in order not to rule out other conditions-like osteochondrosis, osteoarthritis and spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebrae caused by trauma or infection)-your vet will likely perform other tests. These will probably include the following:

  • myologram, which detects compression of the spine
  • force plate analysis, which measures weight tolerance in evaluating lameness
  • joint fluid analysis, which helps distinguish between degenerative diseases (like Spondylosis) and infectious ones

Treating Spondylosis in Dogs

The treatment for Spondylosis deformans includes administering non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes performing surgery. Along with these remedies, exercise the utmost patience when your dog, afflicted with this condition, can't seem to do what other dogs usually do.