What Is Spondylosis In Dogs?

spondylosis in dogs

Spondylosis in dogs is also called spondylosis deformans is a condition where bone spurs also called osteophytes, spondyles or spondylophytes develop on the vertebrae. There can be one or more along the spine. It usually occurs in older dogs around the age of 10. This condition should not be confused with arthritis which causes inflammation in the spine. Spondylosis causes pain due to the growth of bone spurs, not from bones rubbing together like in arthritis.  

Causes Of Spondylosis In Dogs

  • Age - Canine spondylosis is related to old age. Years of stress on the spine causes bone growths.  
  • Injury - An injury to the spinal column or joints can be another reason why spinal spondylosis in dogs develops.
  • Heredity - Genetics can be a factor for some dogs with spondylosis.
  • Weight - The presence and progression of cervical spondylosis in dogs is affected by a dog's weight. Larger and overweight dogs are more prone to this condition due to the stress on the spine.

Signs And Symptoms Of Canine Spondylosis

what is spondylosis in dogs
  • Stiffness when walking or awkward gait
  • Lack of coordination
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Back and or neck pain that can be sensitive to touch
  • One or more limbs become weak 

Treatment For Spondylosis In Dogs 

  • Surgery - Spondylosis surgery involves the removal of the bony spurs that are affecting the nervous system. 
  • Physical therapy -Types of therapy include underwater treadmills, ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation. The same techniques used on humans are used on canines which include cold and heat, massage, stretching and range of motion exercises. Canine physical therapy can relieve pain and promote cartilage, tendon and ligament health. 
  • Exercise - Besides physical therapy, exercise in general is good for your dog and helps to keep their weight down. Two to three short walks per day is enough. If your dog likes to swim this is the least impact on the joints.
  • Acupuncture  - Alternative veterinary practitioners can administer acupuncture to your dog which may help to alleviate pain and increase mobility. 

What Is The Life Expectancy Of a Dog With Severe Spondylosis?

Even severe spondylosis in dogs is not fatal. Dogs that do not have symptoms may not need any form of treatment. It's best to speak to a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog after an evaluation. 


About The Author

Performance Dog Wheelchairs wants you to know that physical limitations are not the end to mobility. Our purpose is to give others and their dogs the ability to seek new adventures and overcome physical challenges with one of our dog wheelchairs. We have small dog wheelchairs and large dog wheelchairs.

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