Newf Neck

Something new Newf owners might benefit from knowing: There is a condition that some Newf owners call Newf-Neck. This is a condition that develops when a Newf (and, I assume other large headed breeds) injure a tendon or muscle in their neck. This is usually done very innocently by the dog unexpectedly moving in a certain way .. The first time we saw it was about 15 years ago when one day I had taken Murphy and Bailey for a walk along the river near our house. This area is many acres of wooded land, with small grassy hills and valleys along the river banks. The dogs were having a great time running along the edge, up hills down hills in and out of the water. At one point Bailey charged down a hill which had a very short area at the bottom before the uphill portion at the other side. He did not show any sign that something was wrong at the time but later that evening when the condition developed we thought back and determined that this is where it had occurred.

Symptoms are, usually after lying still for a while the dog will have problems getting up from a lying down position. They usually cry with the pain because most of their normal movements are quite painful. This condition usually affects only one side of the neck so turning either left or right is next to impossible .. It is usually painful enough to cause the dog to cry out with these movements.

The owner will also notice that the dog tends to keep his/her head hanging low to the floor and sometimes standing very still just staring at the floor, seemingly afraid to move.

To the Newf owner who has not experienced this with their Newf this can be a scary thing to see the dog cry out with almost any move they make . It is caused by a sudden unexpected movement, such as Bailey running downhill then quickly running into a sudden turn uphill. Their heavy heads can easily pull a tendon or ligament in the neck at that time .

Regarding treatment: there is not much to be done besides rest, and administer anti-inflammatory, such as Rimadyl, Derramax or one of the other NSAID’s. In our experience it most often takes about a week before the effects lessen and the dog can move freely again.

This has happened to us (rather to our dogs) 4 times in the 17 years we have had Newfs. Bailey was our first, it has happened twice to Seven of Nine (who is also a large Newf with a large head) and last month it happened to our Landseer boy, Rowdy .. Rowdy’s was caused by him jumping into the van and stumbling as he landed inside. This, also was an unexpected movement for him. Rowdy is smallish for a male Newf at 140 pounds but he has a large heavy head.

I must emphasize that should these symptoms or similar ones show up, one should always get a diagnosis from a qualified vet before assuming or making a diagnosis yourself. The purpose of this post is simply to pass on our experiences with this condition and give others something to be able to talk about with their vet.

These giant dogs often have their own set of potential problems and I think it is of some value for us owners to share experiences .

Bailey with his large head – he takes it everywhere

Seven of Nine

Rowdy & Tyler – big difference in head size here


2 responses to this post.

  1. These pictures are amazing! Thank you for sharing this info. I had not read about this at all am glad I know about it now. Hopefully Miss Stella will avoid this : )


  2. Posted by Christine on April 26, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Thank you for sharing that neck injury information, I’ve never heard that before. That was as surprizing to me, as you referring to your 140 lb Rowdy as “smallish” – what an oxy-moron 🙂


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