≡ Menu

Spondylosis Deformans in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

If your dog has a back problem, it could be spondylosis deformans or spine or disk degeneration. Spondylosis deforms in dogs is a non-inflammatory disease wherein bone spurs start to grow under the vertebrae, resulting in back problems. And since this isn’t a medical condition most folks are familiar with before having their dog diagnosed with it; we figured we’d take a moment and discuss precisely what spondylosis deformans is so that if your 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 essential to understand that this is not the same. 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 issues will depend on how many vertebral osteophytes occur and their location.

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; some dogs live relatively healthy, pain-free lives with spondylosis. Maybe you won’t even know they have it! However, this is not true of all dogs. This disease usually occurs in older dogs, and at that time, it usually 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 with other spine issues.

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 depends on your vet. And as we all know, the spinal cord is a sensitive thing. A dog can 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 or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will only help if the vertebral column is getting pinched or another secondary cause needs to be treated. Still, as we stated in the beginning, spondylosis deformans are 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 challenging for older dogs.
  • How much will it improve your dog’s quality of life?

You see, the recovery from surgery may be complex and challenging. 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 will it just be unnecessary pain?

Some people have found…

Their dogs feel relief with certain kinds of treatment like acupuncture; however, you must do it continuously; once is not enough. Also, imagine getting your dog to sit still while a hundred little needles prick him! Most dogs will need some sedative, which should be considered – is it risky for your dog?

Which brings us to…

We want to remind folks that we at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks 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), you’ll first want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!

An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, 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 your dog could face. However, as your dog ages, more medical problems will arise, some of which are easily treated…if you’re willing to pay for it. This is also 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 suitable 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.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment