When the dog screams in pain
The long, shrill cry of pain that the 60-kilo Landseer bitch Fritzi gave when she first felt her spondylosis went through the whole family through and through. Helpless you stand next to it. Of course, it was a Sunday and the vet just said “Come over tomorrow morning.” But before that stood a night in which dog and owner could not close their eyes. Not the dog, because he stood with imploring eyes in front of the bed of his master and did not dare to lie down. The master not because he suffered with his bitch and went through all the possibilities, what the poor animal could be missing. Is it just a pulled tendon or a cracked foot? Or does the poor dog girl have hip dysplasia or even osteoarthritis?
The next morning brought clarity. The vet took x-rays and explained the pictures. He has good news and bad news, he said. First, the bad news: The dog has spondylosis and that is not curable. The good news: Even with spondylosis he can grow old.
Spondylosis? Never heard.
“Spondylosis is a degenerative disease of the skeleton. Spondylosis leads in the spine area of the dog to a bony formations of the intervertebral spaces and thus to a stiffening of the spine, “said the veterinarian.
When he saw the dog owner’s anxiously questioning look, he explained it more closely: the spine was not equally flexible everywhere. While it is extremely flexible in the neck and lumbar region, the thoracic and cervical vertebrae are rather rigid. The transitions from the moveable to the rigid section represent the weaknesses of the spine. The last vertebra or last intervertebral disc of the moveable section, when the elastic elements (the gelatinous nucleus) are worn, can no longer easily transmit a movement. Instead, she would have to buffers it, because the rigid part does not join the movement. The first so-called spondylophytes usually develop at these sites. The body produces bony spikes to relieve pressure on the discs and “stabilize” the weak points.
Causes of spondylosis: how does it happen?
This diagnosis probably affects every dog owner. “Why did it catch my dog, of all people?” Is probably one of the first questions to ask. There are three main causes of spondylosis: In some animals, especially boxers, this wear occurs faster and with less stress due to poor supportive tissue structures than other breeds. Too early or too high a burden of a dog and obesity can also lead to premature wear. Or a dog is willing to spend its life on its own. Even then it can come to Spondylos.
Effects of spondylosis and treatment options
Poor Fritzi. How should it continue? How could you help her?
“It does not look that bad,” the veterinarian said, saying that even with massive spondylosis most dogs could live well. Severe symptoms such as a herniated disc would rarely occur.
However, the dog can have severe pain, especially if the ossifications break up due to careless movements, resulting in lengthy inflammations. In the worst case, pronounced spondylosis could pinch nerves and even lead to paralysis. “But even if this happens, you can do something,” consoled the veterinarian. A space-extending operation, a so-called hemilaminectomy, could prevent other sensitive organs such as the spinal cord from being damaged by the spondylosis.
For the time being, however, the veterinarian prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs for the pain and gave the urgent advice that the dog would have to be spared. Jumps, stairs, high slopes and games where the dog has to brake abruptly or start quickly should be avoided forever. Fortunately, Landseer bitch Fritzi was already five years old and not as keen on games as a puppy. “If she likes swimming, leave her. She’s fine, “the vet added. After all, a ray of hope.
Fritzis life with spondylosis
This visit to the vet is already half a year ago. Fritzi goes for a walk every day, but as a precaution she sticks to the Flexileine so as not to tempt her to chase after a rabbit. The Landseer bitch is in the best of spirits and enjoys her life, even if she gets up very stiff sometimes and the hands are trembling. If it gets too bad and she complains about leaving, she gets her medicine. In addition, her master tries to support the elastic properties of the remaining discs with a supplementary feed. For this he uses food that contains mussel extract. X-rays will have to be taken in a few years to see how the spondylosis has developed. But until then it looks good for the Landseer-Dame.
The time to climb stairs, jump into the car or romp is over, but with some tools and a bit of creativity Fritzi can still enjoy her dog life. For example, you can now use a dog light when getting in the car or on the stairs – and instead of romping around, the dog is mentally promoted with little search games or tasks that are not movement intensive.
And to stay fit and strengthen the rest of the muscles of the spine, it goes on warm days to the lake – so has a dog with spondylosis all reason to wag its tail.