Dog Spondylosis
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Canine Spondylosis – Causes, Symptoms, treatment, and more

Humans aren’t the only ones with back problems. Our furry friends are prone to back issues as well. And from a spectrum of diseases, dog spondylosis is the most common one. But how bad is canine spondylosis? Is it fatal? Can it be resolved without surgery? What do I need to do to make it go away?

A flurry of such questions may rush the mind, causing stress and uncertainty. So here is a comprehensive read that rounds up canine spondylosis, addressing all your concerns.

Let’s start by understanding:
What is and what causes spondylosis in dogs?

Common in aging dogs, Canine Spondylosis is a phenomenon where the body grows abnormal bones called bone spurs to maintain the spine’s stability. The years of running around that our dogs enjoy eventually take a toll on the spine, causing microtears in fibers of the ligaments connecting the intervertebral discs to the ends of the vertebral bodies. These micro tears sometimes lead to instability.   

So Canine Spondylosis is the body’s way to counter instability in the joints of the dog’s spine by growing an extra bone.

How Painful is dog Spondylosis?

Fortunately, most dogs with spondylosis do not experience pain or show discomfort. But if they do, you need to see a trusted Vet or an animal physical therapist ASAP.

And dog Spondylosis may even go undetected for a prolonged period. But if you are vigilant, you can spot the signs of a spondylosis onset, early. What are these symptoms? Let’s take a look.

Spondylosis dog symptoms:

External symptoms are rare. The condition is commonly exposed while diagnosing another health condition. But here are some telltale signs that your dog may be suffering from canine spondylosis.

  • Stiffness
  • An uncomfortable gait or walk
  • Reduced range of motions
  • Lameness
  • Persistent back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Lack of locomotor coordination
  • Dogs are reluctant to touch, especially on the spine region.

And there is no one, but many reasons why canines suffer from spondylosis. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Old age:  Like all bones, the spine degenerates as the dog ages because of stress, and to compensate for this damage, the body forms bony spurs in the spine.

  • Injury: A traumatic injury may lead to loss of vertebrae, and to fill up those empty spaces a spur is formed.
  • Hereditary predisposition: Some researchers found that the genetic constitution of a dog makes it more prone to spondylosis. Some common breeds include German shepherds, boxers, and dachshunds.

  • Body weight: The emergence and progression of spondylosis are affected by body weight. It is simply because a big body will exert more pressure.

Dog spondylosis life expectancy

You will be glad to know that Spondylosis in dogs is not a fatal or rapidly progressing condition. Sometimes it may go unnoticed as it shows no severe symptoms mentioned above. And most dogs show no more signs than a slight discomfort now and then. Rest assured, if your pet is moving with complete freedom, and is generally jolly, he or she is not suffering any pain.

Treatment options for Spondylosis in dogs:

The goal of Spondylosis treatment is to relieve the pain and improve your dog’s quality of life. While some severe canines may need extensive therapies or surgeries, minor cases may do with medications or anti-inflammatory drugs. However, the most recommended treatment by veterinarians include:

Exercise and physical therapy: Light walking or swimming finds a slot in the exercise regimen. However, get a nod from your vet to avoid any mishap.

Massage therapy: It is a legitimate pain management option that you may consider to relax your brave boy.

Acupuncture: It is an alternative option that works wonders in some cases.

So by now, you must be well informed about what Canine Spondylosis is, its symptoms, and what you can do about it. Since spondylosis is ‘NOT’ a fatal disease, and the dog may live out the entirety of his life without any problem, you need not lose your sleep over it because your dog isn’t.

And not every symptom mentioned here may necessarily mean that it is spondylosis. So you ensure you get your four-legged buddy diagnosed for other dog conditions too. These may include IVDD, Hip Dysplasia, and so. Here are a few other blogs that can help you understand these.

We are not trying to scare you, but keep you ahead of time, so you can take counter actions as soon as possible. The early you act, the more chances you stop a progressive disease from becoming life threatening. Some of them, by the way, are way more serious as compared to dog spondylosis.


If you are a pet parent, having a number of a trusted dog physical therapist and a reliable vet saved on your phone’s directory is essential. You never know when you need them.