Neck and Back Pain in Dogs

Neck or back pain is discomfort along the spine. Neck and Back pain are common conditions in dogs but they are more difficult to understand as the dogs can not pinpoint exact location where they are experiencing pain. The owner/veterinarian has to understand the pain with the help of other signs and symptoms that are obvious. Hence zeeroing in on underlying cause may take some time.

The dogs show different symptoms when they are experiencing pain in their back and/or neck. Back and neck pain in dogs can cause the dogs to gradually or suddenly change their posture, arch their back, and become extremely guarded. If it has become severe, they may start to cry out with the slightest movement of their spine. This pain may become so excruciating that the dog will not want to move and may stop eating and drinking altogether. 

Other symptoms associated with neck and back pain include:

Change in posture

Abnormal spine alignment (i.e., back is curved upward)

Visible trauma to areas around the spine (e.g., bruises, discoloration)

Stiff neck

Unable or unwilling to turn or raise its head

Yelps or moans when its neck or back is touched

Yelps or moans when it moves its spine, or refuses to move at all

Lethargy, weakness


Wobbly, lack of coordination, inability to walk properly (ataxia)

Loss of appetite (anorexia)

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