What is Hemivertebrae?

A shortage of blood supply that prevents part of the vertebrae from forming is the most likely cause of hemivertebrae. Dogs’ tails frequently exhibit hemivertebrae, giving them a screw-like appearance.



Boston Terrier Hemivertebrae

Pug and French Bulldog Mix With “Corkscrew Tail”

Hemivertebrae are congenital vertebral deformities most likely result in neurological issues. Since hemivertebrae are wedge-shaped vertebrae, they can cause the spine to incline (such as kyphosis, scoliosis, and lordosis). Neurologic symptoms are caused by the spine’s extreme angulation, the spinal canal’s constriction, instability, and vertebral luxation or fracture.

Treatment for the condition is often conservative because most cases have no or minor symptoms. Back pain, urine or fecal incontinence, and weakness or paralysis of the rear limbs are symptoms. Surgery for spinal cord decompression and vertebral stability may help in difficult situations.



Congenital spinal malformations are a group of abnormalities of the spine. The majority, about 85%, are not clinically significant, but they can enlarge the vertebral canal or lead to instability, which would pressure the spinal cord. This ailment develops in the womb. Abnormalities in the shape and number of vertebrae are categorized as congenital vertebral anomalies.

It’s not a significant issue if the misshaped vertebrae are located immediately in the tail. If it’s in the tail, it may not even be noticed. The dog may have severe pain if hemivertebrae is in other parts of the spinal column. The dog might not even be able to walk in extreme circumstances.



Dog Most Likely to Have Hemivertebrae

Dog breeds most likely to have hemivertebrae include the  Boston Terrier, Pug, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, and designer dogs like the Puggle. Since many of these breeds have their tails docked, the “corkscrew tail” will not be apparent.

There is basically no method to stop the defect from developing or being born in a dog. The best way to prevent it is through responsible breeding. It is advised to remove dogs with the gene from the breeding population. The practice of breeding dogs with “twist tails” should also be stopped.