Spinal Stenosis in Dogs

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of your dog’s spinal canal, which can lead to a host of painful symptoms. The good news is that with proper treatment, such as corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and laser therapy, you can help your pet overcome this disease!

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal.

Spinal stenosis is a form of spinal arthritis, which occurs when the joints and bones of your dog’s spine become inflamed and start to wear away. When this happens, she will experience pain in her back and neck that can range from mild to severe depending on the degree of stenosis.

The cause for spinal stenosis is usually related to an underlying condition such as degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis, trauma from falling down stairs or receiving a blow to the back (like getting hit by a car), or other causes like tumors invading the bones surrounding your dog’s spinal column.

Narrowing of the spinal canal causes pressure on the spinal cord.

Spinal stenosis can be caused by a variety of things. Degenerative changes in the vertebrae or spondylosis (bone spurs on the spine) that result from osteoarthritis can narrow the spinal canal, leading to pressure on the spinal cord. A tumor in the spinal column may also cause narrowing of your dog’s spinal canal.

Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and reluctance to walk.

The symptoms of spinal stenosis in dogs can be very similar to other conditions that cause pain or stiffness. For example, the following are some conditions that may cause similar symptoms:

  • Arthritis
  • Spondylitis
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, make sure to have them checked by a veterinarian.

Diagnosis is usually made with an MRI scan. Treatment typically includes corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and laser therapy.

Diagnosis is typically made with an MRI scan. An MRI is a non-invasive procedure that allows your veterinarian to see the spinal cord, vertebrae and surrounding tissues. This gives him or her valuable information about the exact location of the compression and if there are any other problems in the spine or brain.

The severity of spinal stenosis can be determined by how much room there is for nerves that run through the spinal cord, and whether these nerves are being pinched by bone growths (called osteophytes) or narrowing of spaces between vertebrae bones. An MRI also shows how much fluid may be inside part of your dog’s spinal cord due to water on its own (hydrocephalus) or bleeding on its own (hemorrhage).

Spinal stenosis in dogs can be treated effectively with proper care!

Spinal stenosis in dogs is not a life-threatening condition and can be treated effectively with proper care. Peripheral neuropathy, which causes pain and/or numbness in your dog’s legs, is a common symptom of spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is caused by degeneration of the spine. Treatment for spinal stenosis may include physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or laser therapy.

If you are concerned about your dog’s back pain or stiffness that lasts longer than two weeks contact your veterinarian immediately!


Spinal stenosis in dogs is a condition that causes pain and discomfort. Fortunately, with proper care from your veterinarian, it can be treated effectively. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above in your dog, schedule an appointment with your vet immediately.