Spondylosis Vertebral Arthritis

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Subject: Concerns About My 8-Year-Old Bulldog’s Back Pain 🐾💔

Dear Dr. Kraemer, my 8-year-old English Bulldog Sunny has been showing signs of back pain  🐶. Could it be arthritis of the vertebrae? Given his age and breed, I understand there might be a predisposition to such conditions. 🤔

Could this be the case? And more importantly, are there supplements or any preventative measures we could consider to help manage or ease his discomfort?

Looking forward to your expert guidance. 🙏 Best, Sunny’s Dad and Mom #BulldogHealth #SeniorDogCare #CanineArthritis #BulldogSpondylosis

Bulldog spondylosis is a form of vertebral arthritis characterized by chronic degeneration of the spinal column and tends to occur more frequently in the lower part of the spine.

spondylosis arthritis of the vertebra in bulldogs

Bulldog Spondylosis Vertebral Arthritis 5 X MUST KNOW

  1. Spondylosis in bulldogs is often subclinical and diagnosed during unrelated routine X-rays.
  2. Like common arthritis, it is often caused by degeneration due to chronic bone-on-bone injury
  3. Spondylosis is more common in the lower vertebra (lumbar-sacral)
  4. Treatment often requires pain and anti-inflammatory medication
  5. Prevention and care include weight management and Dr. Kraemer’s Bulldog Allery and Itch Control Bundles.

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Spondylosis Verterbral Arthritis / CAUSE:

The exact cause of spondylosis in bulldogs is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to aging and the natural degeneration of the spinal discs. Factors that may contribute to the development of spondylosis include:

  1. CHRONIC INJURY: Similar to osteoarthritis in other joints, vertebral spondylosis is attributed to repeated injury, typically in areas of the vertebrae that undergo the most movement, leading to “bone on bone” friction.
  2. GENETIC: There might be a genetic underlining.

Spondylosis Verterbral Arthritis AGE

Spondylosis vertebral arthritis in bulldogs is a chronic condition more common in middle-aged and older senior bulldogs.

Younger bulldogs can also be affected, especially if they have a predisposition due to genetics or if they’ve experienced spinal trauma.

bulldog spondylosis vertebral arthritis

Vertebral Arthritis in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs SYMPTOMS

Many bulldogs and Fr. bulldogs with spondylosis do not show any symptoms, especially in the early stages.

When symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Stiffness or reduced mobility
  • Pain in the back and hip area
  • Difficulty standing up, lying down, or climbing stairs
  • Limping or changes in gait
  • Visible discomfort when the spine is touched

Veterbral Arthritis in Bulldogs / DIAGNSIS:

Vertebral arthritis in bulldogs is frequently subclinical, meaning it doesn’t always show obvious symptoms and is discovered incidentally during routine spinal radiographs intended for other purposes.

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize spondylosis deformans and to help exclude other diseases.

Tests may include:

  1. EXAM: a physical exam should be conducted to help rule out other back and orthopedic problems, such as
    • IVDD
    • Vertebral Malformation
    • Hip Dysplasia
    • ACL Injuries
    • Arthritis
    • MPL: medial patella luxation
  2. IMAGING:  Radiographic 
    • myelogram
    • CT
  4. JOINT TAP: for analysis, cytology, and culture


The arthritic fusion resulting from vertebral arthritis can occur in a single location, most frequently affecting the lower lumbar vertebrae or the lumbar-sacral region. However, it’s common for multiple vertebrae to be involved in the condition.


Vertebral arthritic changes often entail the development of bone spurs, medically referred to as “osteophytes.” These spurs can form along the edges of the vertebrae.

Additionally, the condition can lead to the fusion of adjacent vertebrae across the intervertebral space, a process aimed at stabilizing the affected area but which can also contribute to pain and limited mobility.

Vertebral Arthritis in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PREVENTION:

  • WEIGHT CONTROL: lean body weight
  • EXERCISE AND ACTIVITY: for muscle support and blood flow
    • V4B Bully Comfort & AcheLess
    • V4B Bully Total Joint
    • V4B Bully HAMP Mobility
  • Stem Cell Therapy and Cryobanking

therapeutic joint supplement for bulldogs leg shaking

Vertebral Arthritis Spondylosis in Bulldogs: TREATMENT

Treatment is mostly symptomatic pain control, surgery is rare.

    • Gabapentin
    • Tramadol
  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
  • tPEMT: pulse electromagnetic therapy
    • V4B Bully Comfort and AcheLess Formula

Bulldog Comfort AcheLess and Pain Relief


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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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