Spondylosis in Dogs.


Spondylosis is a fairly common condition in the canine species. It occurs due to the formation of bony spurs which form between the vertebrae of the spine, causing fusion of the bones, sometimes in multiple locations in the spine. It can affect all animals, but in this Holidays4Dogs article, we focus on how it can affect our pet dogs. Read on to find out some key facts about spondylosis in dogs.

The bony spurs which develop as a result of spondylosis can occur for a number of reasons. Ageing, instability, or trauma to the body can all cause spondylosis. Typically, the diseasedog sitting, pet sitting is associated with old age and it is considered to be a natural degeneration. It largely affects medium to large breeds of dog.

Some dogs who have previously suffered trauma, may develop spondylosis in later life. Many experts believe there is also a genetic predisposition for developing spondylosis.

When spondylosis occurs it can actually serve to stabilise the joint. However, as these spurs grow, they can cause pain and impact on a dog’s mobility. The disease is non-inflammatory, but degenerative and, sadly, there is no cure.  Despite this, there are many treatment options which can help dogs to continue to live happy lives.

Symptoms of Spondylosis in dogs.

If your dog displays any of the following symptoms, it would be sensible to take your do to see a vet. Spondylosis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are very similar to other spinal diseases.

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


The vet will perform a physical examination and take x-rays of the dog’s spine. Your vet may also refer the dog to a specialist orthopaedic vet for further evaluation. It is important for the dog to be x-rayed as this is the only way to find out the locations of the bone growth. This can then help the vet to ascertain the severity of the disease and in what way this is likely to affect the dog.

Treatments for spondylosis in dogs.


Treatment depends very much on the individual case. In many cases, the dog may not suffer any pain and in this case, no treatment will be necessary. However, if the dog does appear to be in pain, anti-inflammatory drugs can be administered to provide relief from discomfort. Medication may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or other types of pain killers.

It is important that a dog affected by spondylosis attends regular veterinary check-ups for regular pain management. As the disease is progressive, it means symptoms can get worse over time, so it is crucial to monitor this.

Controlled exercise.

Affected dogs should receive controlled exercise regimes. Massage therapy and swimming are both excellent physical therapies for this condition. Acupuncture is also often recommended to relieve the symptoms of spondylosis.

Weight management.

It is also important that dogs suffering from spondylosis do not become overweight as this puts more pressure on the dog’s spinal/hip area. Dogs with spondylosis should be kept on the leaner side, particularly if they may be affected by other health issues such as arthritis.

Diet and supplements.

Diet too is important since a good balance of essential fatty acids is said to reduce inflammation and, therefore, the need for pain relief. Owners can also use joint supplements such as Yu MOVE adult joint support tablets, or iKarmel hip and joint supplement.

A comfortable place to sleep.

Another consideration is good support for the dog while sleeping. An orthopaedic type dog bed is likely to be appreciated by the pet who may suffer mild, to moderate, pain.


In cases where the dog’s mobility is severely affected, surgery is a possible option, although this is un-common.


Depending on the severity of the disease, your vet will discuss the various options to you. Treatment may well be lifelong. However, most dogs are able to cope with this condition fairly well.