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Spondylosis Deformans in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

If your dog has a back problem, it could be spondylosis deformans also known as spine or disk degeneration. Spondylosis deforms in dogs is a non-inflammatory disease wherein bone spurs start to grow under the vertebrae, resulting in problems of the back.

And since…

This isn’t a medical condition most folks are familiar with prior to having their dog diagnosed with it, we figured we’d take a moment and discuss exactly what spondylosis deformans is so that if you’re dog has been diagnosed with this condition you might gain a better understanding of what to expect.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

What exactly is spondylosis deformans?

You may have heard of spondylitis in humans, but it’s important to understand that this is not the same thing. Why? The suffix “itis” means inflammation and spondylosis deforms is a non-inflammatory back problem.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Bony spurs or osteophytes appear on the edges of the vertebrae causing spinal cord problems. The exact problems will depend on how many vertebral osteophytes occur and where exactly they are located.

In many cases…

The thoracic vertebrae will be the vertebra most commonly affected. These are the vertebrae that connect above the ribs. That said, it is also possible for bone spurs to appear in the lumbar spine vertebrae – the ones closer to your dog’s hind legs.

Clinical Signs & Symptoms

You may not notice any signs at all; some dogs live relatively healthy, pain-free lives with spondylosis. Maybe you won’t even know he/she has it! However, this is not true of all dogs. This is a disease that normally occurs in older dogs, and at that time, it normally causes pain or general discomfort that could make it harder for your dog to walk. Many vets think these vertebral bodies are a secondary problem that occurs with other issues of the spine.

To diagnose your dog…

Your vet will likely need to x-ray your dog’s spine. Some vets might want to do a CT scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging); it really depends on your vet.


As we all know, the spinal cord is a sensitive thing. It is possible for a dog to develop other issues like damage to the nerves that would impact periphery nerves and sensations in the legs.

Treatment of spondylosis deformans in dogs

This disease isn’t often treated. Anti-inflammatory drugs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will only help if the vertebral column is getting pinched or there is another secondary cause that needs to be treated; but as we stated in the beginning spondylosis deformans in itself is not an inflammatory disease.

And while…

Some veterinarians may recommend surgery, but there are a lot of things to consider:

  • How old is your dog? Surgery is hard on older dogs.
  • How much will it really improve your dog’s quality of life?

You see…

The recovery for surgery may be hard and difficult. We don’t mean to sound pragmatic but if you suspect your dog only has 1-2 years left, do you think he will be better off with the surgery or it will just be unnecessary pain?

Some people have found…

That their dogs feel relief with certain kinds of treatment like acupuncture. However, acupuncture is something that you have to do on an ongoing basis; once is not enough. Also, image trying to get your dog to sit still while he gets pricked by a hundred little needles! Most dogs will need some kind of sedative, which again, should be taken into consideration – is it risky for your dog?

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have spondylosis deformans (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!


Since the treatment options are minimal, the costs associated with spondylosis deformans aren’t as high as other medical issues that your dog could face. However, as your dog gets older, more medical problems are bound to arise, some of them which are easily treated…if you’re willing to pay for it.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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