Osteoarthritis and spondylosis



Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs in a joint. A joint consists of bone parts that can move in relation to each other. There is a layer of cartilage over these bone parts and joint fluid (synovia) between them as a lubricant. The cartilage is normally smooth and resilient, and together with the synovia it forms a supple and mobile joint. When osteoarthritis is present, the cartilage is no longer smooth and resilient, but rough and rigid. This causes an inflammatory reaction in the joint and the joint becomes painful and less flexible.

When a joint cannot move smoothly, a reaction will occur in this joint to compensate. The body tries to solve this problem itself by creating new bone, usually where the capsule attaches to the bone. Diagnosis is made in most cases by taking an X-ray.


Osteoarthritis can develop in all joints of the body, including the joints of the back. We speak of spondylosis when new bone forms between two vertebrae in response to osteoarthritis. The new bone forms a kind of “little bridge” between two vertebrae, preventing the joint from moving. The spondylosis in itself need not be painful, but when the surrounding nerves in particular come under pressure, pain occurs. If this pressure becomes too great, paralysis may even occur.


Osteoarthritis and spondylosis thus result from cartilage damage in the joint.
This damage can be caused by:

* Trauma ( e.g. after tearing the cruciate ligaments in a knee)
* Incorrect and insufficient movement
* Incorrect hingeing of a joint due to a hereditary defect (the most well-known is hip dysplasia, where the head does not fit nicely into the socket)
* Inflammations in a joint where the cartilage is seen as foreign to the body (rheumatism)
* Wear and tear due to a natural ageing process in aged animals
* Incorrect nutrition
* Obesity


* Start-up stiffness/ start-up lameness
* Stiffness of hind hand/ lower back
* Difficulty standing up
* Wanting to walk for less time
* Indicating pain by changing the position of a leg, for example
* Joints may visibly widen and feel harder
* Difficulty defecating and/or urinating
* Loss of muscle mass
* Fatigue
* Resistance

These dogs often have more joint problems in winter. They have more difficulty getting up and it takes them longer to become supple. Therefore, it is important to keep dogs with joint problems well warm during cold periods.

Besides keeping warm, exercise is very important – “rest rusts”. Movement keeps the blood flowing and the joints warm and supple.

This chronic pain can only be treated symptomatically, as there is nothing you can do about the joint change and associated osteoarthritis.

We also see an increase in spondylosis in kelpies. Besides a hereditary susceptibility (which applies to almost everything), we mainly see that nutrition and handling play a role. Kelpies, due to their boundless energy, are often misused, trained and built up incorrectly. And good nutrition comes at a price.

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