Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

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ewwies
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Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby ewwies » Mon May 16, 2011 5:22 pm

Spondylosis in dogs and cats (spinal osteoarthritis) is a degenerative disorder that may cause loss of normal spinal structure and function. Although aging is the primary cause, the location and rate of degeneration is individual. The degenerative process of spondylosis may affect the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbosacral back (rear 1/3 of the back)


Had the big guy checked out by a Vet over the weekend. His rear legs had been shaking alot, pretty much everyday.
They took xrays and said that he has a mild case of arthritis in his lower back.

We've started him on Rimadyl to see if the shaking stops. I will also be adding glucosamine and fish oil to his food.
Vet said no more running or long walks.

Is there anything else I should keep in mind? Avoid certain activities? Tips/Suggestions?

Ive been PMing a few people ... but just figured an actual post would be the easiest.

Thanks :)

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dogs4jen
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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby dogs4jen » Mon May 16, 2011 5:56 pm

My late boxer had arthritis in her spine, it was not fun and I'm sorry to hear about your dog's, glad you say it's mild. I would put rugs down for traction in places where you have hard flooring. They have neoprene stickers that you can put on dog's feet for traction that might be worth a try. Ramps are helpful if you have a few steps on your house entrance, and for cars. I got this supplement for Roscoe called Vetri-Disc when the first vet I saw thought he had arthritis in his spine, the makers of Glyco-Flex make it, also might be worth a try.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby dogs4jen » Mon May 16, 2011 6:17 pm

I just looked on Amazon at the reviews of the stickers, and they didn't sound too great, so nevermind that suggestion...

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby ewwies » Mon May 16, 2011 6:31 pm

thanks for the reply!

He'll be 6 this year... he isnt that old. I want to make sure i do everything possible so that it doesn't get worse.
I am most definitely getting a ramp.. right now I have him jumping into the back of the car... and its a pretty big jump.. so its first on my list!

He is reluctant sometimes to go up stairs or jump in the car. But I cant tell if he is feeling pain or its just him being the stubborn mule that he is... and he just doesnt want to leave the fun place where we're at or go upstairs because he knows he has to go in his kennel.

Ive noticed he has slowed down alot, but I just figured it was him getting older.

I will check out Vetri-Disc as well.. thanks!

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby ewwies » Mon May 16, 2011 6:39 pm

How old was your boxer when you found out she had it? Did it get worse as she got older?

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby Leslie H » Mon May 16, 2011 8:07 pm

When Xanny was Pennhipped at age 3, the vet commented he could see some arthritis in her spine. Now she is 12 and a half, but I saw stiffness over the past year. We've seen a chiro/acupuncturist. It's been very helpful, she seems more comfortable and has more fluid movement.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby BabyReba » Mon May 16, 2011 9:03 pm

Doc is somewhere around 8 or 8 and a half, and he's got it too ... moderate. He's not shaking in the rear end, but he's lost a lot of muscle mass and his tolerance for hard activity has deteriorated a lot ... we haven't changed our daily routines much, I just try to keep the heavy impact stuff to a minimum. He still walks and runs at his own pace, but no more running on the Springer with my bike (something he used to do 2-3 times a week, he suddenly stopped being able to keep up, and I wondered why ... thought it was the heat at first and that we just needed to condition him to Florida, turns out it was more likely pain in his back), no more dragging weights, no more high impact jumping. He still chases the ball but I stop encouraging him to do it when he seems like he's slowing down ... he still likes going for long walks ... he still runs. Big difference is that I just don't push him anymore. No pain meds needed yet, but I could see them eventually being part of his daily regimen if he slows down much more. We do give a high quality fish oil as well as vitamin C supplement and a couple of herbal things our vet believes in as natural anti-inflammatories (a bit of ground yucca root, alfalfa powder, some cat's claw).

Reba had a pretty severe case of it as she aged, we discovered it when she was 9; we found that a good portion of her spine had actually fused by the time she was 10; our old vet suggested that we continue easy exercise but stop all high-impact activity. We did daily walking, 2-3 short walks per day to keep her muscle mass and that dog walked 2-3 times a day, every day, til the day she died ... and would not let me rest if we did not walk. She didn't get really, really bad until she was probably 13 or so ... her last three years she had good days and bad days and she slowed down a lot and started to actually have problems getting up occasionally. We had her on Rimadyl from 9 years old on ... a small dose when she was younger, but as she got older we increased it, and it gave her a huge amount of relief. When she was really older -- 14 or 15, we also gave her a bit of Tramadol here and there if she had a bad day, and that kept her comfortable. We also gave her joint supplements--Fresh Factors and Longevity from Springtime, Inc. and a glucosamine supplement, mostly. Despite the arthritis, I'd say she had a pretty full life, even as an elderly dog ... she still played with Tucker, walked, socialized with the people she liked, ignored the people she didn't, ate with gusto, liked to roll in the grass. I think if we had not chosen to do pain management for her, that wouldn't have been the case, but Rimadyl (and later, Tramadol) had a significant impact on her quality of life.

Dunno if that helps, but that's been our experience with it so far!

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Mon May 16, 2011 9:17 pm

Buddy has spondylosis too and yet we only found it accidentally when we took xrays of her abdomen. She is non-symptomatic and if your guy only has slight arthritis, I would be questioning this "diagnosis", especially since your vet has suggested no more strenuous exercise in a dog who is only 6.

Something doesn't sound right in this situation.

If it were simply a case of spondylosis, I would suggest glucosamine supplements, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA specifically) and low-impact exercise such as swimming to maintain muscle tone which will help support his joints.

I've only seen one dog whose spondylosis actually caused problematic symptoms, and on xray her spine looked horrible.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby ewwies » Mon May 16, 2011 9:54 pm

Thank you so much for sharing!! Im going to look into all the supplements you listed.

When I took him out to potty today I did not notice any shaking. I have yet to take him for a short walk... which is usually when the shaking increased.

If the Rimadyl stops his shaking... is this something I need to continue throughout? Is Rimadyl something I want to keep him on long term? I plan to ask more questions when we go for a check up.

Well maybe once I start giving him supplements, build some more muscle, he'll be back to his good old self.. and he wont need pain meds.

Also, the vet said no running or long walks for a few weeks while he is taking the Rimadyl... after he's done with the bottle then I can slowly work him back up to it. I think we're just trying to fix the issue with his rear legs from shaking/vibrating.

Over the years, i noticed one leg or the other shaking after some hard exercise.. but rarely.. it wasnt until these past couple months that it has gotten very bad with both legs at the same time.. even for a simple walk down the street to potty. But it never stopped him from wanting to go out and run/walk.

The vet said everything checked out fine, and arthritis was the only thing she mentioned to me once she saw the xrays.

I do have the xrays online .. if anyone is interested. She tried showing/explaining to me where the arthritis was showing.. but i was clueless. lol

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue May 17, 2011 2:43 am

I tried to PM you back... but your PM's are turned off...

I think restricting exercise is silly, loss of muscle will further decompensate the joint laxity, making the pain/arthritis worse. I recommend restricting high impact exercise, but you should continue low impact exercise like walking and swimming.

I do agree with a 2 week "rest period" I just thought from your original post your vet said to stop exercising permanently.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby nsbullylover » Tue May 17, 2011 8:46 am

AllisonPibbleLvr wrote:Buddy has spondylosis too and yet we only found it accidentally when we took xrays of her abdomen. She is non-symptomatic and if your guy only has slight arthritis, I would be questioning this "diagnosis", especially since your vet has suggested no more strenuous exercise in a dog who is only 6.

Something doesn't sound right in this situation.

If it were simply a case of spondylosis, I would suggest glucosamine supplements, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA specifically) and low-impact exercise such as swimming to maintain muscle tone which will help support his joints.

I've only seen one dog whose spondylosis actually caused problematic symptoms, and on xray her spine looked horrible.


I have a cat who was x-rayed in December and mild spondylosis was found. She had very little mobility, a lot of pain in the area, etc. My vet was stumped because she said that the amount of spondylosis showing on the x-ray was not enough that my cat (who was only 2.5 years old) should be exhibiting the symptoms that she was. She referred us to a vet for chiro/acupuncture, and it turns out that yes, she did have spondylosis, but she also had a slightly misaligned pelvis. 2 little adjustments and she's a brand new cat! It might be worth looking in to something like this for your pup and see if it helps at all.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby dogs4jen » Tue May 17, 2011 10:34 am

You might also try cold laser treatments, the tech who did the chiropractic stuff on Roscoe did cold laser on him too. I don't know about using Rimadyl long term, it's had some safety issues.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby dogs4jen » Tue May 17, 2011 10:37 am

Oh, and Roscoe, the first vet I took him to thought he had spinal arthritis starting but the vet who did his knee surgery thought he didn't and the x-rays were just those of a muscular dog.

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby ewwies » Tue May 17, 2011 11:47 am

I should have been more specific in my original post! sorry about that.

Ive had a few people recommend chiropractor/acupuncture.. I'd be interested in taking him. Ill start looking around for one.

Thanks for all the advice.. I ordered supplements last night, so I should be getting them here shortly.

p.s. i forgot that i turned my PMs off a while ago. :oops:

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Re: Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Postby rgyoung777 » Tue May 17, 2011 4:29 pm

Lucy was just diagnosed with it this past week. She's between 10 and 11 and we really hadn't noticed any big changes until last Monday and Tuesday when it seemed like she was losing the use of her hind legs--pretty scary stuff. She was wobbling when she walked and had a lot of trouble getting up from sitting or laying down. Up until that point, we'd been taking her to play fetch about every other day with no apparent sign of pain/weakness in her hind legs. She sometimes hesitated to jump up in the back of our car, but we just figured that was a normal sign of aging.

We rushed her to the vet last Tuesday because she seemed worse and after some x-rays, the vet told us that he didn't know how she'd been so active with her back as messed up as it was. He prescribed a half of a 227mg Previcox tablet once a day as well as fish oil (I know folks on here swear by glucosamine, but he was skeptical about its benefits, and after the hefty vet bill we got, we were in no hurry to run out and splurge on some, though we may try it at some point) and amazingly, after one dose of the Previcox, by that evening she was walking normally again and now has absolutely no trouble jumping into the back of our car, which she refused to do on Monday and Tuesday. She's also returned to shortened sessions of fetch with no difficulty, since the vet recommended that we keep her active. We don't push her to overexert herself and as far as we can see, she's pain free at this point. We don't really have access to a place where she can swim (which is too bad, since she loves swimming more than any other activity), but the vet recommended that as an ideal form of exercise for a dog with spondylosis.

I hope that Deno is back to feeling well soon and that he is able to be active again. :thumbsup:

Also, I'm rooting for all of the other dogs on the board who are living with this condition and hope that they all have happy, active, pain-free and comfortable lives from here on out.


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