CANINE SPONDYLOSIS AND YOUR DOG

Spondylosis deformans is a chronic, degenerative condition predominantly affecting the bones of the spine, characterized by the production of bone spurs along the sides, upper and lower aspects of the vertebrae.

This non-inflammatory, degenerative condition is characterized by projected growths of bone known as spurs or osteophytes, usually grown in response to the aging process, although injury can play a part in its development.

A bony spur may develop in a single spot, or multiple bone spurs will develop in several different locations along the spine, most commonly the in the chest or thoracic region. If the spondylosis continues to spread to other vertebrae, there may be several of these bridges, welding together so the vertebrae become consolidated - less flexible and fuse together defined as ankylosis.

Spondylosis can be caused by repeated micro-trauma to the area in the form of repetitive pressure on the same joints or bones. Major trauma can trigger the condition as the dog’s body responds by attempting to grow new bone, as can any condition that causes instability of the spine, however some dogs may possess an inherited predisposition to spurs as part of the natural aging process.

The majority of dogs with spondylosis deformans are asymptomatic; but occasionally the bone spurs restrict the movement of the spine and the dog may appear stiffer or less flexible; if the spurs press into surrounding tissue this will undoubtedly produce pain and discomfort. 

If a bone spur grows near a nerve root as it leaves the spinal canal, it may put pressure on the nerve causing pain or lameness and can cause motor and sensory disturbances accompanied by muscle weakness, loss of balance or gait irregularities.

As the condition worsens over time, it may cause tenderness over the affected area, stiffness, restricted motion and become painful, particularly when turning in a specific direction or following a fracture to the bony spurs or bridges.

Affected dogs may demonstrate a reluctance to sit, difficulty in walking, loss of balance and an upward curvature of the spine generally between the shoulders and hips. In severe cases, numbness or weakness of the thoracic limbs, reduced neural function and lack of proprioception in the pelvic limb leading to paralysis can also be present.

The use of myotherapy to support Spondylosis

Where the dog is clinically affected, myotherapy can support the inevitable compensatory and loading issues the dog may have developed dependant on the level of impact.

This may leading to an improved range of motion and flexibility, decreased pain and relived tension in the compensating limbs and secondary muscular conditions.

Gentle myotherapy may be useful in helping to control the referred pain of spondylosis from irritated nerves. Circulation can be increased and flexibility promoted by decreasing tension within the dog’s spinal muscles and easing the surrounding tissues that could be exerting pressure on nerve endings.

To talk to me about Galen Myotherapy© and how it might help your dog, contact me here.