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Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Written by aslmad.yaz


Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in dogs is a medical condition that affects the spine. The condition is commonly referred to as DISH. Moreover, when humans suffer from it, the disorder is known as Forestier disease.

Usually, the condition causes spine pain and can even lead to neurological problems. Unfortunately, there is no current cure for the condition. Additionally, the Boxer breed seems to suffer from the condition more than other breeds.

If you see signs that your dog might be suffering from this condition, then you must consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in dogs.

Symptoms of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in dogs

DISH in dogs can result in a range of symptoms. Generally, these symptoms affect the spine.

For example, some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Spine pain
  • Joint problems
  • Lameness
  • Neurological issues
  • Ataxia
  • Stiffness

Causes of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in dogs

A dog being checked for signs of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH).
(Photo credit: subman / Getty Images)

The cause of DISH is currently unknown. However, the Boxer breed does seem to be predisposed to the condition. For example, it is estimated that around 40% of Boxers suffer from the disorder.

Technically, the condition happens when bony growths appear where joints, ligaments, and tendons join a bone. Also, sometimes the condition is a secondary disease to other disorders, including hypoparathyroidism and intervertebral disk herniation.

Treatments for diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in dogs

If you think that your dog might be developing the disorder, your vet will want to carry out a full physical examination of your dog. Additionally, your vet will ask about your dog’s full medical history. This will include any breed-specific problems. Oftentimes, an X-ray can be used to confirm the condition.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for DISH. However, analgesics may be offered to help with the condition and reduce your dog’s pain. As always, if your vet prescribes your pup any medicine, always stick to the correct dose and frequency instructions. Also, complete the full course of medication.

Finally, in some cases, surgery may be an option for treating diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. Specifically, this will help to decompress any affected neural tissues. Your vet can talk you through the pros and cons of considering this treatment for your canine.


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