Spondylosis in dogs.

While this is commonly thought of as an arthritic condition of the spine, Spondylosis is actually due to the formation of bony spurs that form between the vertebrae of the spine.  It is thought that the spurs develop as a result of aging, or instability or trauma to the body and they form in an attempt to stabilize the joint.  Unfortunately, as these spurs grow they can cause pain which can impact on a dog’s mobility.

Symptoms of Spondylosis.

  • ‘Bunny hopping’ on the back legs
  • Stiffness
  • Lameness
  • Reduced mobility
  • Pain
  • Character change – for example being less sociable with people or other dogs.
  • Disliking being stroked or touched in the problem area
  • Loss of coordination


The only way that Spondylosis can be diagnosed is by taking x-rays of the spine and it is a condition often discovered when x-rays are being taken for some other reason.  In some cases an MRI scan may be called for and your vet may refer you to a specialist orthopedic vet for further evaluation.


Treatment depends very much on the individual case.  The majority of dogs with this condition are generally pain free and in this case, treatment is not usually required.  However, if the dog seems to be in pain, anti-inflammatory drugs can be administered to provide relief from discomfort.  It is also important that the dog receives controlled exercise regimes and if needed, weight loss.  Massage therapy and swimming are both excellent treatments for this condition. It is possible for the spurs to be surgically removed if they are causing a lot of pain.

If your dog has been recently diagnosed with the condition, your vet will discuss various options on how to manage the disease depending on the individual circumstance of your dog.  Most dogs are able to cope with this condition pretty well and many live long lives without the condition even being detected.