Spondylosis are pathological changes (calcifications) on the spine. Bony formations occur in the intervertebral spaces, which leads to a stiffening of the spine.
The spine consists of a chain of individual rigid vertebral bones that are movably connected by joints, intervertebral discs and ligaments. The elasticity of intervertebral discs and ligaments ensures that the spine is flexible and can move with you. In old age, intervertebral discs and ligaments lose their elasticity. Certain movements are more difficult for older dogs than boys.
The spine is not equally flexible everywhere: While it is extremely flexible in the cervical and lumbar area, the thoracic and sacral vertebrae are rather rigid. The transitions from the movable to the rigid section represent the weak points of the spine. The last vertebra or the last intervertebral disc of the movable section can no longer simply pass on a movement but has to buffer it because the rigid part no longer participates in the movement. This is where the first spondylosis usually develop. The body produces these bony spikes to take the pressure off the intervertebral discs and “stabilize” the weak spots. As soon as two vertebrae are firmly connected to each other via the spondylosis, the adjacent, still mobile vertebra has to withstand the main load – until it, too, gains a firm hold via the spondylosis.
In fact, many dogs can live well even with massive spondylosis. Severe symptoms are rare. The symptoms of these complications are the same as for other back ailments. There is severe pain and the dog reacts sensitively and sometimes aggressively to touch and arches its back. In very severe cases, the animal is paralyzed. If the course is creeping, the dog avoids certain movements. He is often sensitive to touch, shows a clammy gait or limps at times.
However, the spondylosis can lead to other serious damage and complications. The most important and most common are herniated discs. After increased stress, the bone bridges can tear or even break. These injuries cause severe pain and can cause prolonged inflammation. Finally, pronounced spondylosis can pinch nerves.
Spondylosis cannot be cured, but its consequences can be treated. During an acute episode, the vet alleviates the pain with medication. Moderate training is important – also to prevent complications. Jumps, climbing stairs and abrupt turns should be avoided. Physiotherapy (water therapy) has proven itself in spondylosis.