When I first heard that my dog was suffering from spondylosis, I did not know what to do with it. Quite quickly I understood that although canine spondylosis is an unsightly and sometimes painful disease of the spine in dogs, dogs can live with it.
What exactly spondylosis is, how it manifests itself, which diagnosis and therapy the vet makes and what you can do for your dog yourself, I would like to show you in this article.
1. What is spondylosis?
Spondylosis is the
Spinal ossification in dogs. The medical term for this is: spondylosis deformans.
Spondylosis is one of the degenerative skeletal diseases. This means that spondylosis can be accompanied by increasing wear and tear of the skeleton.
Affected are thus quite particularly older dogs and dogs of large breeds.
Spondylosis in a nutshell:
– is a degenerative disease of the dog's spine – intervertebral spaces ossify and become immobile – can lead to the stiffening of large parts of the back – the ossification can be accompanied by pain – nerves can be affected by the ossifications – progression often occurs in episodes – consequences: unnatural posture, curvature, pain, signs of paralysis, impairment of nerve cords
1.2 symptoms of spondylosis in dogs
The most common symptom of spondylosis is pain in the back area. Affected dogs have problems lying down and standing up.
In some cases the spondylosis occurs almost asymptomatic. Often, however, there are clear symptoms in dogs that indicate spondylosis and must be examined by a veterinarian.
Quite typical for spondylosis are Pain at Back. This means that your dog may be sensitive to touch on the back or have problems with movements.
How severe this sensitivity is depends on the progress and severity of the spondylosis. For example, your dog may only "twitch" when touched or even whimper in pain or, in the worst case, even show aggression.
If the spondylosis in the dog is accompanied by the fact that nerve cords are impaired or. are squeezed, this can even lead to paralysis symptoms.
If you suspect that your dog suffers from these or the symptoms mentioned below, you should definitely have this examined by a veterinarian.
Typical symptoms of spondylosis in dogs
– pain in the back area – sensitive reactions when touched / palpated in the back area – avoidance of certain movements – problems with standing up and lying down – unaccustomed gait – lying down for longer periods – exhaustion, loss of appetite (due to the pain) – in male dogs: sometimes male dogs can no longer lift the leg to pee
1.2 Causes of canine spondylosis
As degenerative skeletal disease spondylosis the spine of the dog changes, as a consequence of Age, stature and high physical activity of the dog.
This results in the formation of so-called bridges of bony marginal spines on the vertebral bodies of the dog.
This can also lead to inflammation of the joints of the intervertebrae and the intervertebral discs.
Very often affected are old dogs, dogs of large breeds and also very active dogs resp. Service dogs. Often you also read that z.B. Molossers, Boxers and other particularly heavy dog breeds are affected.
1.3 How spondylosis is diagnosed by a veterinarian
First and foremost, it is important to tell your veterinarian about any symptoms or changes you notice in your dog. Then the veterinarian will palpate your dog. Examine his movements.
Spondylosis can only be properly diagnosed with an X-ray or computer tomography (CT).
1.4 Course of spondylosis
It is quite typical for spondylosis in dogs that it occurs in Relapses occurs. With my dog (and with many other dogs) it goes so far that between the episodes as a dog owner you can even be of the opinion that the dog may not have spondylosis at all, because he seems so fit and agile.
The fact that at times there are no or hardly any symptoms is quite typical for spondylosis in dogs.
Unfortunately, such phases are often followed by painful relapses. In my dog these episodes occurred preferably in wet and cold months in autumn and winter.
The dog's spine gradually ossifies due to spondylosis. What can lead to a general deterioration of mobility after each relapse.
As a rule, however, most dogs can live well with spondylosis until the end of their lives. Provided that the spondylosis does not lead to extreme nerve crushing with paralysis as a consequence.
2. Therapy: What helps my dog with spondylosis?
Of course, very important is first of all the veterinary examination and therapy. If the spondylosis is determined, there are for painful phases Anti-inflammatory painkillers by the veterinarian.
But you should distinguish between the two essential states of your dog's spondylosis: the phase of an acute attack and the phase without attack and often without pain.
2.1 Therapy and help in an acute episode
During acute spondylosis episodes, my dog was often helped only by anti-inflammatory painkillers from the vet. So she could at least go for short walks. Did not agonize too much with the pain.
How long such an episode lasts depends entirely on the dog and the degree of spondylosis. To be on the safe side, I often had my dog examined again by the veterinarian even during such an episode. Species the inflammatory processes in the dog's body from, this must if necessary. also be treated with cortisone.
To bridge periods of very little pain, I gave my dog Traumeel for long periods of time.
2.2 Therapy during symptom-free periods
The symptom-free period after such a relapse can be deceptive. It is not seldom that I was amazed how agile and mobile my old dog still is in spite of spondylosis and arthrosis.
She had such symptom-free times especially in spring and summer, when it got warmer and she could warm her belly and back in the sun.
Nevertheless, you should make sure that your dog does not experience too heavy loads on the spine during such a symptom-free period.
In addition, I have always used these phases for alternating cures with green-lipped mussel and devil's claw.
But you can also change some other things in your dog's everyday life to make everyday life easier for your dog.
3. 10 everyday tips for spondylosis dogs
Even with spondylosis dogs can usually still lead a happy and beautiful dog life.
In everyday life you can already do a lot for your dog suffering from spondylosis. You can make things easier for him or provide him with relief through certain dog accessories.
Here I show you how I helped my dog especially during the stages of a spondylosis episode:
3.1 Avoid jumps
For example, in or out of the trunk. A dog ramp is helpful for this. In addition, games with jerky jumps or brakes are taboo. Instead of ball games you should rather change to sniffing games.
3.2 Avoid overweight
The heavier your dog is, the more load is also on the spine. Your dog should not be "emaciated", but overweight is definitely disadvantageous in spondylosis in dogs.
3.3 Promote healthy lying
As with osteoarthritis in dogs, the spine should be relieved as much as possible by an orthopedic dog bed, when your dog is lying down or in a bed. sleeps. Such dog beds provide a much better prere relief for the joints and bones. With my dog this showed a clear positive effect.
3.4 Prevent chilling out when walking in winter
As with humans, heat helps with back problems and tension. I often noticed with my dog that the cold in winter also had an influence on her musculoskeletal system. So I made sure with a dog coat to keep her warm on her back during walks in the cold. The positive difference I have noticed very quickly with my bitch.
3.5 Prevent chilling out in the sleeping area
The same applies to the sleeping place. Since her sleeping place is right next to a floor-to-ceiling window and it got quite chilly there in winter despite underfloor heating, I often covered her with a dog blanket at night. Alternatively, however, heat mats or. Heating mats for dogs that don't like to be covered up.
3.6 Moderate physical stress and training
Jumps and jerky deceleration (e.g. (e.g. ball games) of your dog should be avoided in case of spondylosis. But this does not mean that you have to permanently underchallenge your dog now. Instead you can sniff with your dog-. Play search games or change to mantrailing or retrieve training. These types of training are especially good for your dog's nose and head, without putting too much physical strain on it.
3.7 Support for stairs
Some dogs live with their humans in a 4. Stick without elevator. With spondylosis, climbing stairs can become a real challenge. Here you can support your dog by using a dog carrying aid. Depending on where exactly the spondylosis is located in your dog (mostly in the back) a belly belt or a walking aid for the back area of your dog helps.
3.8 Dog physiotherapy& Water training
Depending on the severity of the spondylosis and your dog's general condition, you may be able to help him with canine physical therapy. Water therapy on an underwater treadmill or therapeutic guided swimming is often helpful. This way your dog maintains his musculature or can even build it up.
3.9 Food supplement& homeopathic preparations
Due to the arthrosis and spondylosis of my dog, I have also looked into suitable nutritional supplements and homeopathic preparations. Here I had to test a little what helps my dog well. These were among other things cures with green-lipped mussel, devil's claw or Triflexan* (a mixture of green-lipped mussel, devil's claw, vitamin C, trace elements, etc.).). In case of pain, besides painkillers from the vet, you can also try homeopathic preparations such as Traumeel or Zeel.
3.10 When your dog is allowed on the sofa / in the bed..
Some dogs are allowed to do this ;-). However, keep in mind that your dog will have to jump on and off the sofa depending on his size. For spondylosis and the associated pain for your dog is not a good thing. Again, you can think about buying a small dog ramp or dog stairs that will allow your dog to get on and off the sofa without jumping.
4. Medication& Painkillers for spondylosis
As I mentioned earlier, veterinary therapy is usually aimed at supporting your dog with anti-inflammatory painkillers.
In addition, you can also use Traumeel (for acute conditions) or Zeel (as a permanent remedy) to help your dog. Whether Traumeel can have an influence also depends on the degree of spondylosis. Not every dog is helped in every condition.
5. Spondylosis prevention – is it possible? ?
There are dog breeds that are genetically and/or body type more prone to developing spondylosis.
But basically, canine spondylosis is a wear and tear disease.
This gives you as a dog owner the possibility to influence by "directing" possible wear and tear of your dog with tact.
Why I describe this so funny? Because of course this does not mean that you should permanently spare your dog, never let him play, run or jump.
I am always of the opinion that all natural movements of the dog are basically perfectly fine.
For unnatural movements on the other hand you should observe and control well. An example: chasing a flying stick or ball, braking violently or jumping to catch the ball, is just a rather unnatural sequence of movements for the dog. At least to the extent that this is practiced on various dog parks.
Spondylosis in dogs – prevention tips
1. Avoid overweight. 2. Avoid violent and frequent jumps (buy a dog ramp for the trunk) 3. Protect joints and bones when lying/sleeping and purchase an orthopedic dog bed 4. Support bones and joints with green-lipped mussel, devil's claw or Triflexan
6. My experience with my dog's spondylosis
When I got my dog from the animal shelter 8 years ago, I learned that she would suffer from the so-called spondylosis.
Since she also had problems with arthritis in her front legs, I had her examined again by a veterinarian and x-rayed, which also confirmed the spondylosis.
I didn't know anything about spondylosis in dogs and, in addition to talking to the vet, I began to inform myself about
My dog was at that time a very active and running dog. However, I quickly noticed that there were periods when she preferred to stay in her basket instead of going outside.
The first attacks also made it clear to me how painful spondylosis can be. Because of the diagnosis of osteoarthritis and spondylosis, the vet gave me an anti-inflammatory painkiller for my dog and was able to help her at least a little bit with the pain.
Positive changes in the sense of absolutely symptom-free times I often noticed in spring and summer. However, Sunny's pain and symptoms often worsened when it got wet and cold outside. Besides the administration of painkillers I did a lot of research on how to help my bitch. Finally changed some things (see above in the 10 everyday tips for spondylosis dogs).
The spondylosis appeared quite early in Sunny's case. But together we have learned to deal with it well and to take care to keep the load on the spine as low as possible and to support Sunny additionally with homeopathic preparations.
7. Frequently asked questions about spondylosis in dogs
This depends on the degree of spondylosis, as well as on the physical possibilities and the will of your dog.
No movement at all is just as harmful as too violent and wrong movement. You can discuss this with your vet or a dog physiotherapist. Determine a suitable amount of exercise for your dog.
Again, it depends on how advanced the spondylosis is in your dog and exactly what sport your dog is supposed to do.
Swimming and light jogging is still possible for most dogs with spondylosis in a symptom-free period.
I would personally refrain from sports with heavy jumps, braking maneuvers and other heavy loads on the spine.
This is probably where opinions differ. I mean, yes!
At least with my dog I could observe that certain nutritional supplements helped her.
If you are familiar with homeopathy and to complement the veterinary treatment of your dog, you can also use homeopathic remedies. For this purpose, there are preparations that are supposed to alleviate pain or also delay ossification.
Besides Traumeel or long-term treatment with Zeel, you can also test the following globules:
For pain relief: Arnica D6, Ruta D3, Rhus Toxicodendron D12
Cure against ossification: Fluoratum D12.
In most dogs, spondylosis does not change the life expectancy. As a rule, dogs die from other diseases rather than from spondylosis.
However, it becomes critical in the very rare cases in which the spondylosis leads to paralysis symptoms in the dog. Depending on the severity of the paralysis, you may have to ask yourself about the quality of life and the possibilities of suitable aids, such as a dog wheelchair.
There are unfortunately the tragic cases where a dog experiences paralysis due to spondylosis with a nerve crush as a consequence.
If this paralysis is so severe and affects the quality of life so badly, combined with terrible pain, your veterinarian will certainly discuss the option of euthanizing your dog with you.
Generally speaking, however, spondylosis is by no means a verdict of life and death. The vast majority of dogs can live with it for many years. Die rather of other diseases.
Love your dogs ♥ I am glad if I could help you further and I am curious about your experiences, questions and tips. You can simply write me below in the comment field! I answer as fast as I can🙂 But you can also ask questions in our Facebook group – tips and experiences from other dog friends included. 🙂
18 thoughts on "Spondylosis in dogs – causes, symptoms& Help"
Hi Jasmina, I suspect my bingo has spondylosis too.the symptoms you describe, fit 1 to 1… unfortunately🙁 have next week an appointment at the vet and let that examine. Keep your fingers crossed.
LG Ilka with Bingo
Dear Ilka& Bingo,
Hello Jasmina, even if your entry is already a few months ago, I hope you still answer. 🙂 Or also gladly someone else who can say something about it. 😉 How long can such an episode last in your experience?? We have recently been diagnosed with spondylosis (11 year old Labri) and are in treatment. Your article is great, learned a lot of new things about it here. Thank you!!
Hi. I do not know where to contact. Seen I write it there I have a 9 year old French bullus and it unfortunately. I will try it with zeel but I try it since with hanfol drops also i times a day . It helps at least it seems so. I have been giving it for a year. May I give it with zeel? At least with intervals . I also did not know that there is. I would have to stop unfortunately only Frisbi shooting. Because at times she can't hold herself with her back legs. As well as with a laminate floor. There she slips away when she jumps up on me . When visitors come. I want to help her the last years. Hope that it does not get worse. I would like to help her the last years. Hope that it will not get worse. I am ready for any tips. Please thank you Mfg Karin
Have a mongrel bitch that was operated at the age of 8 years 2x in the period of 2 years on the herniated disk. Now she is 15 and has spondolosis.In the back and now the cervical spine is starting too. She is carried since the 8 year old the stairs, we go 3x a half hour walk, she gets devil's claw, has ideal weight 8.5 kg and, has Aufgehhilfen.Now she gets Zeel and Traumeel. She squeaks at night, during the day everything is fine.She had an unrecognized food intolerance for years, which is under control. Now I do not really know. She is kept warm and stroked a lot, but now I do not know what to do. If we are at the end of the measures, you can still do something.I will still go to the animal healer, because of the means, which you have described.I am unsure, have I done everything to help Tinka or is that it?.Your page is great, there I have already picked up a tip me.
Thank you for that LG Brigitte
Phew, Tinka has already been through quite a lot. I can understand you completely that you are insecure and have the feeling that you have already done everything without it really helping much. I had the same problem with my dog. I have made the experience that it is always good to get the opinion of good and trusted veterinarians, animal healers and animal physiotherapists. With the daily observations of my bitch and the conversations with those people I could finally better assess the situation of my bitch and support her even more specifically. In this respect: go to the animal healer. Maybe an animal physio will help? What does your vet actually say about the current situation??
Without having something like a "diagnosis" here.. or want to give you something. I have often observed with my dog that wet-cold weather and also weather changes have made her very difficult. In these times she had more and more problems with the musculoskeletal system and I had the feeling that in such times it also came rather to a thrust of the spondylosis. Watch your mouse for the next few days. It should become warmer. Maybe this will help her a little bit.
I wish you only the best. And if you like, feel free to keep me/us informed about the development.
Kind regards Jasmina Hello Jasmina, the vet injects cortisone and vitamin B.He does not think much of physio .The veterinary surgeon is angry because I ask her for your remedies, d6 etc. have asked.She thinks Steirocall and once a week Arnica D30 is enough.I would need here in Berlin a veterinarian and a Tierheilpraktikerin, which are not immediately sour, if one googled.I do not treat, but ask.That is unfortunately not desired. Veterinary surgeons are extremely expensive and when I change, high costs come on me, where I have difficulties.Tinka is so fun-loving and interested in everything, so I have to try everything to help her.She should have a nice and painless old age. It would be a pity that Tinka has to be put to sleep, just because I don't have the right information.She runs like drunk and has already scraped the back nails, so I will get a paw protector.If Tinka was not so fun-loving, I would agree to put her to sleep.Only that does not show me.I just want to do the right thing.Maybe you know a veterinarian who knows a lot about it or a veterinary healer, because Tinka reacts very well to homeopathic remedies.I do not know the dosage of the remedies you describe and therefore a specialist would be useful.