Rocky’s Viewpoint

Rockys Viewpoint

A blog for people who treat their dogs better than family

Spondylosis in Dogs

We had a very nice older couple come to Rocky’s Retreat the other day who just adopted a six year old springer spaniel just diagnosed with spondylosis. They were concerned about their ability to care for the dog as the disease progressed. They wanted to know if hydrotherapy could help and what else they could do for the dog.

What is spondylosis anyway? It’s a condition that occurs due do progressive disc degeneration. Bone spurs form on the edges of the spinal bones in response to the disc degeneration. This can result in restricted movement or pressure being placed on nerve roots. Most dogs have no symptoms unless restriction occurs, often resulting in pain.Hydrotherapy can help older dogs with arthritis

What are the causes of spondylosis? While aging is generally regarded as the primary cause, being overweight is a contributing factor. Injury, either major trauma or repeated micro-trauma is another reason dogs develop spondylosis. It can also be inherited. Older large breed dogs are at the highest risk, but we’ve seen it in dogs of varying sizes.

What are the treatment options if your dog is suffering from spondylosis? Veterinarians may prescribe NSAIDs to reduce inflammation and pain as well as glucosamine and MSM supplements if your dog is having symptoms. Massage, acupuncture and laser therapy are also options for helping with pain. Hydrotherapy in a warm water pool is the best option for exercise because it places no stress on the spine. Plus the warmth of the water increases blood flow to the spine helping with inflammation and stiffness.

Most dogs with spondylosis have no signs of pain, therefore their prognosis is generally good. My dog Rocky had spondylosis, and other than being stiff, he suffered no pain. But it’s something you should stay on top of in case it progresses to nerve compression and lameness. Get regular checkups from your vet, and keep your dog strong through regular, appropriate exercise.