Customers with plans underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company and administered by C&F Insurance Agency, please click here to access your plan.

Hunched Posture

Hunched Posture

This symptom happens when a pet is bent into a humped position, which is a clear sign of a pet health condition. A cat or dog can have a hunched posture because of several reasons, such as kidney failure or pancreatitis. When your pet is suddenly having a hunched posture, it is advised to consult a veterinarian.

How to Recognize

If your dog or cat’s posture suddenly appears hunched, this may be indicative of pain or discomfort. Such positioning warrants a veterinary examination so that the cause can be determined and treated. The hunched position is usually a sign that the cat or dog is experiencing abdominal pain or nausea. A cat that is hunched may be sitting up or it may partially lie in a sphinx position with all four paws tucked close to its body. In either position, the back and shoulders will be rounded and the head will be facing slightly downward. Dogs may stand with their backs and shoulders rounded and their heads facing downward. Some additional signs that may accompany a hunched position include lethargy, a decreased appetite, apathy, and self-isolation. Dogs may pant or whine. A cat may cry at the litter box or exhibit changes in elimination habits, and its coat may take on an unkempt and dull appearance. Observing your pet closely for any symptoms or unusual behaviors in addition to the hunched posture will be helpful information for your veterinarian.

Causes of Hunched Posture

When a dog or cat that is in the throes of an experience that it finds frightening or unpleasant, such as a visit to the veterinarian, the instinct is to scrunch itself into the smallest size possible in an attempt to hide. Once the perceived threat is over, then the dog or cat resumes its normal activity. This temporary hunched position in an unusual setting or circumstance indicates an attempt to camouflage itself in response to fear. However, if a dog or cat is observed in the home assuming a hunched position for a prolonged duration, this is a sign that your furry friend is in pain. Certain types of discomfort prompt humans to curl up into a ball in an attempt to relieve that discomfort, cats and dogs respond the same way and sometimes they might do this to relief back pain. Hunching over is also an instinct from their wild ancestry. In the wild, a sick animal is particularly vulnerable to predators. Hunching itself into a small size is an attempt to camouflage itself from the predator’s view. <img src="" title="Hunched Posture" alt="Hunched Posture in Dogs" width="600" height="315" class="aligncenter size-full" style="padding-bottom: 15px; padding-top: 15px;"/>


A hunched posture can be a sign of the discomfort that accompanies numerous ailments. In order to make a diagnosis, your veterinarian will ask you questions regarding your pet’s recent activities and any additional signs of illness that you have observed. The doctor will perform a physical examination that will include listening to the heart and lungs and palpating the abdomen to pinpoint the painful area, find masses and feel for other abnormalities. A blood chemistry panel and a urinalysis will likely be performed to evaluate organ function. A complete blood count will reveal infection or anemia. Depending upon the laboratory results and the veterinarian’s physical findings during the examination, additional tests may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis. Such tests may include diagnostic imaging tests such as radiographs or an ultrasound.

Similar Symptoms

Other positional stances may appear similar to the hunched posture, and they may indicate pain or discomfort in another part of the body. Some of these positions include an <a title="Arched back in dogs" href=""><strong>arched back</strong></a>, a head that hangs downward, a tail that is tucked in between the legs and an abdomen that is tucked or pulled upward. A dog may also assume a position in which its forearms are on the ground, as though the dog is about to lie down, but the back end of the dog remains upright.

Possible Conditions

There are numerous health conditions that can result in the pain and discomfort that causes an animal to appear hunched. Some of these conditions include gastrointestinal blockage, <a title="Pancreatitis in Pets" href=""> <strong>pancreatitis</strong></a>, kidney disease, <a title="Bladder Infection in Pets" href="" ><strong>bladder infection</strong></a>, <a title="Bladder Stones" href=""> <strong>bladder stones</strong></a>, <a title="Constipation in Pets" href=""> <strong>constipation</strong></a>, viral infections and cancer. If your pet has assumed a hunched posture, observing for additional signs of illness will help your veterinarian to rule out some of the conditions on the extensive list of possibilities. <img src="" title="X-ray of Hunched Posture in Dogs" alt="X-ray of Hunched Posture in a dog caused by bladder stones" width="600" height="315" class="aligncenter size-full" style="padding-bottom: 25px; padding-top: 15px;"/>

Treatment for Hunched Posture

The treatment plan will depend upon the diagnosis. If an ingested foreign body is causing a blockage that is making your pet uncomfortable, immediate surgery will be necessary. If a cat’s discomfort is being exacerbated by kidney disease, a special diet, fluid therapy and medications will become a new way of life for the cat to slow the disease’s progression and provide some relief. If the dog is constipated, treatment with a simple diet change and stool softeners may be all that is needed to help your dog stand tall once again. Treatment can only be decided and administered once the cause of the hunched posture is determined. If you observe your pet in a hunched position, bring your companion to a veterinarian for an evaluation and relief from discomfort.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

Get a Free Pet Insurance Quote