Symptoms of a Back Injury in a Dog

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Since dogs cannot tell us they are in pain, it is up to us to decipher the signals that they give us to report all is not well. One such case is when your dog is experiencing back pain. The causes of back pain in canines varies and can include soft tissue injury, bite-wound infection, disc disease and spinal trauma. There are almost as many symptoms of back pain in dogs as there are reasons for the injury.

Change in Posture

A dog experiencing back pain might change his posture to protect the sore area. He would arch his back or seem hunched up. He might take a guarded stance, appearing tense and anxious.

Neck Stiffness

A stiff neck can be another symptom of back pain. This symptom is indicated if he is reluctant to move or raise her head, or seems to be tight in the shoulder area.

Pain Upon Movement

A sure sign that all is not well is if your dog yelps or cries out when he moves, or when you touch him. If you think your dog is in pain, use caution when approaching him. Even the most even tempered dog can snap or bite in defensiveness when he hurts.

Weakness in Hind Legs

A dog that begins to walk with a wobble or seems to have difficulty moving one or both legs can be experiencing back pain. Sometimes the pain is so great the dog is unable to move its hindquarters altogether.

General Malaise

If your dog appears more lethargic, stops eating or is just acting "off," it is a sure sign that something is not right, including possible back injury. You should take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible to try and ease his discomfort.

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Author

Christine Jonard is a writer/editor who has been published in several textbooks. Since 2003, she has written feature articles for middle and high school biology textbooks, middle school earth sciences and general biology labs. She has copy-edited textbooks through final pages. She has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in zoology and a B.S. in psychology, all from the Ohio State University.