The definition of Dog Arthritis (Spondylosis) is inflammation of the spine. It is a non-inflammatory degenerative disease which can cause a lot of pain. Unfortunately it is a condition which will get worse with age and time, but can be managed with the correct treatment. Spondylosis is caused by stress on joints in dogs which are active, however hereditary factors can also cause this condition to develop.
The symptoms can be made worse by stress, poor diet, being overweight and not enough exercise. The condition affects more females than males, older Great Danes, German Shepherds, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels are particular prone to developing Spondylosis.
The disease is also referred to as Spondylosis Deformans. Bony spurs form along the vertebrae and one or more parts of the spine may be affected. The bony spines form a 'bridge' from one vertebrae to another and can 'weld' a series of vertebrae into an inflexible backbone. The spinal cord does not become compressed by this condition but the spine does become 'stuck'. Pain can be due to pressure on the nerve roots coming from the spinal cord.
Dog Spondylosis symptoms may include the following:
- Difficulty standing after a period of rest
- Swelling around joints
- Pain (Dogs may wince when walking or playing)
- Inability to climb stairs
The remedies and treatment of Dog Spondylosis may include the treatment of dogs as follows:
- Your veterinary surgeon will x-ray the dogs spine and preferably perform an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan to confirm diagnosis.
- If an MRI scan is not possible then a Myelography test may be performed. A Myelography test is a radiographic examination that involves a dye being injected into the spinal canal. The dye will show any abnormalities with the spine. Once the dye has been injected, several x-rays are then taken.
- Once a diagnosis has been confirmed the condition is usually treated by medication, either using an Anti-inflammatory or Corticosteroids.
Unfortunately there is no 'cure' for this condition, but with the correct medication it can be managed very effectively. Overweight animals are likely to suffer more pain, so it is important that the dog maintains a healthy weight and is fed a low fat, high fibre diet. Regular exercise can help to control the condition, but it is important not to force the dog to exercise, regular short walks are ideal. Ensuring the animal has a soft bed to sleep in often helps, hard floors and damp conditions will make the symptoms worse. Consider raising the feeding bowl if the dog is having difficulties bending down, pet food stands can be purchased from your local pet shop.
The sole purpose of the Dog Spondylosis section on Great Dane Noa's website is to act as a reference guide to provide useful information to the owners of dogs and puppies. This article on Dog Spondylosis is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat sick dogs or as a substitute for obtaining professional veterinary advice. Please remember that if you are in any doubt about your Dog's Health, or problems associated with Dog Spondylosis, please consult your Canine Veterinary Specialist immediately for professional treatment. Your vet will diagnose whether Dog Spondylosis is the problem and prescribe appropriate medication and treatment.