Detect, treat and prevent spondylosis in dogs
If a dog suffers from spondylosis, degenerative changes in its spine occur. The disease leads to ossification of the spaces between the vertebrae as well as to a progressive degradation of the elastic components of the spine.
In the following we will explain the causes of spondylosis in dogs, how the disease manifests itself and what treatment options are available. You will also learn how you can reduce the risk of spondylosis in your dog.
What causes spondylosis in dogs?
The task of the spine is to stabilise the body and to ensure sufficient mobility. To this end, it consists of individual vertebrae that are connected by muscles and ligaments.
The intervertebral discs are located between the vertebrae. The intervertebral discs serve as shock absorbers and also ensure pain-free mobility of the spine.
At the beginning of spondylosis, the intervertebral discs initially recede. The dog's body tries to counteract the resulting instability by repair measures.
This leads to ossification between the individual vertebrae, which results in increasing stiffening of the affected area of the spine. Until the vertebral bodies have grown together completely due to spondylosis, dogs can regularly suffer from herniated discs and paralysis.
Causes of spondylosis in dogs
As spondylosis is a typical sign of wear, older dogs are particularly affected. In service dogs, spondylosis is even one of the most widespread diseases, which can also affect younger animals due to the often high stress levels in everyday working life.
In addition, some dog breeds generally have an increased risk of spondylosis. As a rule, large and heavy dogs in particular are affected by the degenerative disease of the spine.
Recognizing spondylosis in dogs
Dogs suffering from spondylosis usually have back pain. As an owner, you can recognise this by the fact that your four-legged friend is very reluctant to let you touch his back.
In addition, spondylosis in dogs is noticeable by an increasing decrease in their urge to move. Often affected animals find it difficult to perform normal movements, such as lying down or getting up.
If you think there is something wrong with your dog, pay more attention to his gait and movement patterns.
This is because dogs with spondylosis often walk unsteadily and try to avoid certain movements as much as possible. These include jumping, climbing stairs or even running.
For example, if your dog suddenly avoids his favourite place on the sofa, this could be a sign of spondylosis. In male dogs, it can also often be observed that they are no longer able to lift their leg and therefore come loose again like a puppy.
Diagnosis of spondylosis in dogs
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from spondylosis, a prompt appointment with the vet is essential. The veterinarian will first ask you about the posture and movement patterns of your four-legged friend.
By thoroughly palpating the spine, the vet will then try to identify possible changes.
However, whether your dog's complaints are actually caused by spondylosis can only be determined with x-rays or a computer tomograph.
Treating spondylosis in dogs
Spondylosis is not curable. For most dog owners, the diagnosis is therefore initially a big shock. However, with a little luck and the right measures, the quality of life in affected dogs can be maintained quite well.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are the main drugs used to treat spondylosis. These are intended to relieve the symptoms that occur in relapses.
Between the individual attacks, suitable exercise programmes such as water gymnastics and special physiotherapy for dogs with spondylosis are useful.
As it sometimes happens that the ossifications press on the nerves or the spinal cord, surgery may also be necessary in severe cases. However, this is associated with considerable risks, especially for older dogs, and should therefore always be the last resort in the treatment of spondylosis.
Preventing spondylosis in dogs
The possibility of suffering from spondylosis can never be completely ruled out. Nevertheless, there are a number of things that you as the owner can do to at least significantly reduce the risk in your dog.
The following measures are important for preventing spondylosis in dogs:
- Avoid overloading your dog with the wrong sports.
- Make sure that your dog does not become overweight.
- Provide your four-legged friend with a comfortable place to sleep.
- Limit long and high jumps and climbing stairs to a minimum.
- Make sure that your dog gets a balanced diet with a healthy dog food.
Of course, the measures mentioned above are not only useful and important for avoiding spondylosis, but also for dogs that are already ill.
Bellfor Joints & Bones for dogs with spondylosis
It has been shown that dogs with spondylosis can benefit from taking certain supplements. With Bellfor Joints & Bones you will find the ideal product for this purpose in our range.
Bellfor Joints & Bones contains the special active ingredient complex Ovopet. This is produced from the eggshell membrane of hen's eggs and provides your dog with numerous valuable nutrients such as collagen, hyaluronic acid and glucosamine.
We recommend Bellfor Joints & Bones as a support for veterinary treatment and as a preventive measure for dogs with an increased risk of spondylosis due to genetic characteristics or high physical stress.
Spondylosis in dogs - our conclusion
Spondylosis is undoubtedly a serious dog disease that can have serious consequences for affected quadrupeds. However, as you can see, the complaints can be brought under control, so that dogs with spondylosis often have a few good years ahead of them.
In addition, the risk of illness can at least be reduced with the right preventive measures. A balanced diet, such as the Bellfor nutrition concept, plays a particularly important role in this context.