Spondylosis deformans is the formation of osteophytes (bony spurs) around the ends of vertebral endplates (spinal bones). These changes occur in response to degenerative (ageing) changes in the discs between individual vertebra (backbones). The incidence and size of these osteophytes increases with age, and they occur in all breeds of dogs and cats.
In most affected animals this condition is not of clinical significance. Sometimes bony spurs may project into the spinal cord or impinge on nerves as they leave the spaces between the vertebra. In such affected animals apparent spinal pain, lameness and varying signs of nervous or muscular dysfunction may be seen. Sometimes the osteophytes may fracture, causing localised pain or lameness.
Diagnosis is based on a veterinary examination and xrays. Treatment, if necessary, usually involves anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers and rest.
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