Dogs Can Also Have AS

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 15, 2021

Humans are not the only animals that can have ankylosing spondylitis. In dogs, the condition is called spondylosis deformans and affects the spine's vertebral bones. In this condition, bony spurs form around the edges of the spinal bones. 

The lesions of this condition form most commonly in the lumbar spine (lower back), in the lumbosacral spine (around the hips and back legs), and along the thoracic (chest) vertebrae, especially where the abdomen joins the rib cage. 

Previously, it was thought that spondylosis deformans only occurred in large breed dogs. However, any middle-aged dog can also be diagnosed with spondylosis deformans. The condition starts developing when the dog reaches the age of 10. 

Spondylosis Deformans Causes

Spondylosis deformans is mainly caused due to age. Research shows that it is often a secondary problem in dogs who already have a degenerative disease. 

With age, the intervertebral discs in the dog's back start to degenerate. That could result in abnormal motion. 

Spondylosis Deformans Symptoms

Most dogs with spondylosis deformans do not show any symptoms. Although, in some cases, the bony spurs may restrict the dog's spinal movement. Your dog's spine may not seem as flexible as it used to be, and they may be stiffer. 

Sometimes, the bone spur may grow close to a nerve root. In this case, it will come out of the spinal canal, putting pressure on the nerve. This can cause lameness and pain in dogs. If your dog is experiencing pain, it will cry or whine when you touch them along the affected areas. 

Spondylosis Deformans Diagnosis

The vet will diagnose the condition using spinal X-rays. Sometimes, the condition is accidentally discovered when the X-rays are taken for other reasons. 

The doctor may have to take multiple radiographs to confirm the diagnosis. This is because the bone spurs forming due to spondylosis deformans are the same as those due to inflammatory lesions. 

Show Sources


Photo Credit: Przemysław Iciak / Getty Images

American Journal of Veterinary Research: "Ankylosing spondylitis and polyarthritis of the dog: physiopathologic changes of tissues."
VCA Hospitals: "Spondylosis Deformans in Dogs."

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info