Spondylitis is an inflammation of the vertebrae and vertebral discs that can affect dogs. Spondylitis usually involves infection of the vertebrae, and can cause lameness, fever and lethargy. A veterinarian can diagnose and treat this canine affliction.
Bacteria and fungi, typically found on certain grass seeds, seem to cause spondylitis when they pierce the skin, enter the blood stream and infect the vertebrae of the dog.
A veterinarian can diagnose spondylitis through blood tests, X-rays, urinalysis and spinal taps. He may also use myelography to find the exact location of the spinal compression, according to peteducation.com.
A veterinarian will treat the spondylits by first determining if the condition was caused by bacteria or a fungus. The affected dog must take a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs for a period of six weeks to six months.
A veterinary surgeon may operate on the dog to relieve pressure on the spinal cord, but this procedure is seldom required.
The dog's condition should improve through treatment and/or surgery, but this will depend on its "ability to eliminate the infection and how much nerve damage resulted from the spinal compression," according to peteducation.com.