Why won’t my dog turn her head to the side?

Our question this week was:

My dog won’t turn her head to the side, she shakes and cries if I touch her nose. She has been to the vet several times, with no conclusion to what is wrong. Her blood work is normal, she is eating and drinking, she is going to the bathroom regularly, but she acts lethargic and in pain. What could be wrong with her? She is on Clavamox and a small dose of Rimadyl for the pain.

Cherie Lindhardt


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your dog won’t turn her head to the side and cries when her nose area is touched. Otherwise – she is “normal”. Blood work is normal, she is eating and drinking with normal urine and bowel movements.

I’d worry about a few things – the first is neck pain which can be caused by a variety of problems (such as spinal trauma or spinal cord issues). It could be her nose however with nose problems – most dogs will have swelling, bloody nose, sneezing or other related signs.

An article that might be helpful to you is Neck and Back Pain in Dogs. I’d recommend that you take her back to your vet. It may be that it seemed like it is her nose but it is really her neck. Dogs can be difficult to evaluate for pain.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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