Dog Neck Pain

Dog neck pain can be so excruciating that it can make your pet cry and whine. Your pet appears lethargic, suffers a loss of appetite and may arch his back. The condition is difficult to diagnose and treat and is usually a symptom of some other medical problem that needs to be treated in order to rid your pet of the pain.

Symptoms of Neck Pain in Dogs:

  • Malaise or reluctance to move
  • Lethargy
  • Change in posture
  • Guarded stance
  • Stiff neck
  • Head held stiffly
  • Yelps or cries when he moves his head
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Pain when the neck area is palpitated

Causes of Neck Pain in Dogs

Your dog might suffer from neck pain post an injury. Your pet can suffer a whiplash injury while riding in a car that suddenly brakes or while trying to catch a ball. He might also suffer a neck injury while playing with other dogs. A high fever or an infection can cause the veins in your pet’s neck to swell and result in neck pain. A herniated cervical disc can also cause neck pain in a dog. Apart from this, fractions and dislocation of spinal bones can cause severe pain, as can cancer of the soft tissues around the spine, the vertebrae or the nerve roots.

Canines are also known to suffer from meningitis which is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and the spine. Symptoms of meningitis include stiffness and pain in the neck area. If your pet shows symptoms of suffering from neck pain, it’s advisable to seek medical care so that the correct cause for the pain can be determined prior to treating it.


The vet will evaluate your pet’s condition by taking a complete medical history and conducting a physical examination. Besides this, he will run blood and urine tests to detect signs of infection and to determine organ functions. X-rays, spinal radiographs, cerebral spinal fluid analysis, CT scans, MRIs and EMGs may also be advised in order to obtain correct diagnosis of the underlying cause of the neck pain.

Treatment for Dog Neck Pain

Treatment varies with the cause of the problem. Complete rest can relieve some of the symptoms and medicines can manage other conditions. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce swelling, while antibiotics can help control infections. Muscle relaxants are also effective to reduce muscle stress and these are prescribed after the condition is diagnosed. In some conditions such as spinal trauma, herniated discs, cancer and meningitis, surgery is recommended to relieve the dog of his pain.

You should ensure that you give medication as prescribed by the vet and follow-up with medical checks. Also advise your vet of any change in your pet’s condition. Although some types of neck pain are easily treated, others are more serious and can prove to be fatal. Diligent care from your end can help your pet live a comfortable life. You must ensure that he gets rest and that his activity is limited so that he can recover quickly.