Deforming spondylosis is a degenerative and proliferative disease of the spine characterized by the presence of osteophytes (bony neo-formations) between the vertebra resulting in the formation of bone bridges between the vertebral bodies.
General Considerations and Clinically Relevant Pathophysiology.
It is characterized by the appearance of bony projections in the thoracic, lumbar and lumbar-sacral vertebrae. These projections may be joined by forming bony bridges between adjacent vertebral bodies.
Deforming spondylosis has been described in dogs and
cats, usually of middle age, but some before two years
of age. The incidence of the disease increases with age.
Spondylosis occurs in 50% of dogs 6 years of age and 75%
at 9 years of age.
A high incidence has been described in Boxers whose
condition is considered hereditary. In this breed, dogs
under one year old may be affected.
Females are more affected than Males and there is a
positive correlation between the degree of Dysplasia and
the onset of deforesting spondylosis.
Heritability appears to be a factor of high
susceptibility in some breeds, however the mechanism of
disease onset remains to be explained.
The heredity of this degenerative process suggests in
some breeds such as Boxer, the radiological diagnosis in
order to detect severely affected patients.
A classification scale for the degree of spondylosis was
created according to the presence and size of the bone
So we have:
may be associated with degenerative changes,
intervertebral disc herniation and lumbosacral stenosis.
Physical Exam Findings
There are usually no
characteristic clinical signs of deforming spondylosis.
The clinical signs that affected animals may present are
palpation of the spine, claudication of one or more
limbs, gait alteration, aggression, depression. Symptoms
may be intermittent, but they worsen with the growth of
osteophytes. Severely affected animals may have muscle
atrophy of the hind limbs since the osteophytes compress
the nerves of these muscles. These patients may have
changes in reflexes.
Complementary Diagnostic Tests
The diagnosis is
Deforming spondylosis is a common radiological finding
in elderly dogs, but is rarely associated with clinical
signs. Osteophytes usually develop below and alongside
the body of the vertebra, and their growth may lead to
the formation of bridges in the intervertebral space.
The thoraco-lumbar and lombo-sagrada regions are
When alterations are located in the lumbosacral region,
there may be clinical signs of disease in this region
Ideally, at least two ventro-dorsal and one lateral
projections should be performed. An oblique projection
may sometimes be necessary..
Treatment of deforming
spondylosis is not normally necessary.
However analgesics can be given if there is pain caused
by the degenerative process of the spine.
Surgery is indicated only
in situations where pain and neurological deficits are
present by compression of a nerve or spinal cord.
The prognosis of animals
with deforming spondylosis is usually very favorable.
Source: Boxer Club
of Portugal website.