Dogs throughout their lives can present some diseases, one of the most curious is the so-called “parrot’s beak”. Parrot beak disease is a type of osteoarthritis, technically known as spondyloarthrosis ossificans. It is a degenerative disease that occurs, above all, in older dogs. If you want to know more details about the disease, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, you just have to keep reading.
What is ankylosing spondylosis?
Ankylosing spondylosis is a disease that occurs in the spine, affecting the intervertebral ligament, as indicated by alimentarycaninaes , where they also inform us that this has as a consequence the formation commonly called “parrot’s beak”. One of its main characteristics is the appearance of osteophytes, which is the growth of bone tissue that is located at the base of each of the vertebrae. This feature takes the form of a “parrot beak” and is therefore known as this. If this disease is in an advanced stage of development, bridges are created between the vertebrae that prevent natural mobility between them. It can even affect the spinal cord itself and/or the nerve roots.
Symptoms of “parrot beak” in dogs
At the beginning of the disease, many of the symptoms go unnoticed and, if they do appear, they are generally attributed to advanced age, that is, to symptoms of old age. With these symptoms, the dog’s quality of life deteriorates significantly. They cause you a lot of discomfort and constant discomfort that prevents you from carrying out your movements and daily activities in a normal way. Among the main symptoms that the “parrot beak” can present in dogs are the following: Pain in the spinal area. Difficulty moving. Stiffness in movements related to walking. Slouching (also known as kyphosis). Muscle spasm and atrophy. Muscular atrophy. Spinal cord inflammation. loss of sensitivity For this reason it is common for dogs to be apathetic about their activities, to lose their appetite and for their behavior to be altered in a very appreciable way. Some may even show aggressiveness, because they do not want to be disturbed. They can also reject caresses and all physical contact by their adopter, trying to avoid pain. Note : When the disease is very advanced and affects the spinal cord, a progressive paralysis called paresis usually manifests. Paresis consists of a partial paralysis of the body, and ataxia, difficulty in coordinating movements.
Causes of “parrot beak” in dogs
There are several causes that originate the pathology of spondyloarthrosis ossificans or “parrot’s beak”. However, the most frequent that usually cause the condition are microscopic injuries that occur in the area of the spine and joints, due to various types of movements. Even major injuries that deform the spine and vertebrae. Excessive exercise can also weaken the ligaments, creating the conditions for the onset of osteoarthritis. Similarly, birth defects, which over time could manifest themselves by developing the “parrot’s beak” condition in dogs.
Diagnosis of parrot beak in a dog
X-rays are the primary technique used to diagnose the presence of “parrot’s beak”. When confirming the presence of osteoarthritis in the dog, it is important that the veterinarian perform neurological tests and examinations to evaluate possible collateral damage. In certain specific cases it will also be necessary to carry out additional tests such as myelography, CT or MRI. The objective is to have a greater level of detail about the intensity of the osteoarthritis, in addition to observing the resulting collateral damage, especially in cases where the point has already been reached where it begins to directly affect the dog’s spinal cord.
Parrot beak treatment
Generally this malformation will not show up as an abnormal growth on the bone structure. Therefore, it will be necessary to carry out neurological examinations to rule out possible associated pathologies, even more so in cases where the dog shows pain. The treatment of this condition depends largely on the symptoms that the dog manifests.