Can a Dog Survive With a Broken Back (Spinal Fracture)?

By Max Turner 4 Min Read

Can a Dog Survive a Broken Back (Spinal Fracture)?

When it comes to spinal fractures in dogs, the outcome depends greatly on the severity and location of the fracture. Dogs can suffer broken backs due to trauma from accidents, falls, or medical conditions like osteoporosis. Depending on how badly the vertebrae are damaged, Treatments may include generally conservative approaches like rest and pain relief, more aggressive measures like possible surgery, or a combination of both.

How is a Broken Back Diagnosed?

If a dog has experienced a severe trauma or fall, which is often the case with broken backs, they will usually show symptoms such as paralysis or loss of movement of the legs. The initial diagnosis often starts with a physical examination of the spine, followed by an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

What Causes a Broken Back in Dogs?

A broken back is often caused by an accident or trauma, a fall, or a medical condition such as osteoporosis. A broken back can also be caused by a previously undiagnosed illness or an infection in the spine.

Treatment Options for Dogs With a Broken Back

Treatment options for dogs with a broken back depend on the severity of the fracture, the location of the fracture, and the overall health of the dog.

  • Conservative Treatment: This will typically involve crate rest, pain relief medications, antibiotics for any infection, and possibly physical therapy. In some cases, using a sling and taking small walks may also be recommended.
  • Surgery: Depending on the severity of the fracture and the location of the fracture, surgery may be required. Surgery will involve stabilizing the broken vertebra and may involve the use of metal plates and screws.

What are the Risks of a Broken Back?

The risks associated with a broken back injured depend on the severity and location of the fracture. A dog that is not properly treated for a fracture can suffer from permanent nerve damage or paralysis.

Recovery and Prognosis for Dogs With a Broken Back

The prognosis for dogs with a broken back is highly dependent on the severity and location of the fracture. A dog that receives prompt and proper treatment has the best chance of recovery, while a slower recovery can often be expected in older dogs who have sustained the injury. Time is a major factor in determining the level of recovery and the prognosis.

Preventing Broken Backs in Dogs

There are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of your dog experiencing a broken back or a spinal fracture:

  • Be sure to keep your dog on a leash and supervised when outdoors.
  • Regularly visit the vet for checkups and make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccines and preventative care.
  • Provide a safe and secure environment for your dog, free of potential hazards.
  • Be mindful of how and where you allow your dog to jump and play.
  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight.


A broken back can be a very serious injury for dogs. Some dogs may recover fully with the right treatment, while for others the prognosis may be more guarded. It is important to seek immediate help if you suspect your dog has suffered a spinal fracture or a broken back. With proper treatment, most dogs can make a full recovery.

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Max Turner is a passionate American dog lover and writer, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and experiences through his blog, With a lifelong fascination for dogs and a strong bond with his own furry friends, Max offers valuable insights and practical tips to dog owners and enthusiasts worldwide. His blog covers a wide range of topics, including training techniques, health and wellness, breed profiles, responsible ownership, and fun activities. Max's engaging writing style, combined with his expertise and genuine love for dogs, make an invaluable resource for anyone looking to enhance their relationship with their canine companions. Max Turner's blog,, is a go-to destination for dog enthusiasts seeking expert advice and valuable insights. Max's deep-rooted passion for dogs, coupled with his extensive knowledge of dog behavior, training, health care, and breeds, enables him to provide practical tips and guidance. From training techniques and health tips to breed spotlights and responsible ownership, Max covers it all. With engaging content and a commitment to promoting a fulfilling and joyous life with dogs, is a trusted resource for dog owners looking to strengthen their bond with their furry friends.
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