Spondylosis deformans is a spinal disease common to several dog breeds, and several treatments including veterinary chiropractic may be used to treat affected dogs. Little is known, however, about the efficacy of chiropractic treatment as precautionary measure, aiming to reduce the probability of spondylosis development. We performed a randomized study where one half of the Boxer puppies from 17 litters were given veterinary chiropractic treatment at monthly intervals from eight weeks of age until they were one year old, while the other half were given no treatment (treated: n = 44, controls: n = 43). At an age of one year, spondylosis occurrence was recorded based on a scoring of X-ray images of the spine. The frequency of occurrence was significantly lower (p = 0.0478) in the treated dogs (25.0%) than in the controls (46.5%). We also tested if spondylosis occurrence in the treated dogs correlated with the average number of spinal joints with decreased mobility found per chiropractic treatment. No such effect was found, however. In summary, our results suggest that veterinary chiropractic treatment may be successfully used to reduce the probability of early development of spondylosis in young Boxers.
Keywords: dogs; enthesophytes; spinal disease; spondylosis deformans.