Even though spondylosis in dogs is often an incidental finding, it has developed into a real "widespread disease". To help you be more aware, I'll tell you the most important signs. How to recognize in time if your dog could suffer from this disease of the spine. Spondylosis is a progressive formation of bony spurs between the individual vertebrae. The dog's spine stiffens over time. It can be genetic, but also overweight and excessive stress are factors that promote spondylosis. Especially sport and service dogs, whose bodies are often exposed to heavy stress, often suffer from spondylosis.
How spondylosis develops in a dog?
The formation of bone braces is a self-help of the body to stabilize the spine. When ligaments, discs, muscles and tendons are weakened, the body acts. When elastic elements show weakness, bony components form in the form of the bone spurs. Actually a good idea of the body! However, the braces do not form in a "vacuum". Because they work their way through tie such as muscles and ligaments and, depending on the extent, can also "squeeze" nerves. If the small vertebral joints are also involved in the process, it is called spondylarthrosis. This event results in an inflammatory process in an acute episode. Thus also pain for your dog. Once the bone brace is fully formed, it is stable and is an integral part of the spine. The dog no longer feels pain. The bone brace can break only by external force.
This is how spondylosis becomes noticeable in dogs:
The symptoms are manifold. This means they do not always occur together and your dog does not have to show all the symptoms.
– Dogs with spondylosis have back pain, especially in acute episodes. – A common and typical symptom is sensitivity to touch on the back. – Especially in an acute episode you can also feel warm spots. – Many dogs have a stiff back, like a cat's hump. – In the course of the disease, the dog loses muscles in the hind legs. – Affected dogs move in a stiff and spindly manner. – Everyday things like climbing stairs and getting into the car are difficult and avoided. This is often dismissed as petulant or stubborn behavior.
But that is not all. These symptoms can also occur:
– Affected dogs do not like to move anymore. They lose the joy of playing with other dogs and people. – If they have to stand for a longer period of time, they like to lean somewhere, z.B. on the leg of the human. – A dog with spondylosis often shows difficulty in standing up and lying down. Often associated with sighing and groaning. – Also lameness and limping with the back paws can be a symptom. – As the disease progresses, the dogs no longer lift their back paws properly. They let their claws drag across the ground when walking. A sign of this are ground down claws. – Many dogs find it difficult to groom themselves, shake themselves or lift their little leg. – Depending on the extent, neurological problems and paralysis can occur. In the course the spine becomes more and more stiff. Loses flexibility.
If your dog shows one or more of these symptoms? You should then have it examined by your veterinarian in any case. It can be caused by spondylosis, but various other diseases of the musculoskeletal system can also show similar symptoms. Because it is very important to know: your dog does not simulate! Therefore, these signs should always be taken seriously. You should have your dog checked out in any case.