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Spondylosis deformans is a degenerative, noninflammatory condition of the spinal column characterized by the production of bone spurs along the bottom, sides, and upper aspects of the vertebrae of the spine. These bone spurs are simply projected growths of bone, usually grown in response to aging, or injury.
In dogs, spondylosis deformans occurs most often along the spine, in the area behind the chest, and on the upper section of the vertebrae of the lower back. Older, large-breed dogs are at highest risk for developing spondylosis deformans. In cats it tends to occur more often in the vertebrae of the chest.
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog, including a biochemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel, in order to rule out or confirm other diseases, like cancer. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including a background history of symptoms, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition.
X-ray images of the chest and abdomen (side view) are essential for diagnosing spondylosis deformans. X-rays will reveal osteophytes (small, bony growths) on the vertebrae, or in more advanced cases an osteophyte may be found as a bridge in the space between the vertebrae.
Your doctor may choose from several other types of tests in order to arrive at a definitive conclusion. A myelography, which uses injection of a radiopaque substance for internal imaging; computed tomography (CT); or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They can assist your veterinarian in finding where a bony spur might be pressing on your dog's spinal cord or on the nerves (causing neurological reactions).
A condition in which the vertebrae degenerate; usually has to do with more than one vertebrae
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
Something that appears white or light grey on a radiograph
A projection that can be found at the area where cartilage has begun to degenerate; sometimes they are free floating
The study of the spine after dye has been injected
Term used to refer to a condition of having a disease or affliction but not displaying symptoms of it.