According to the University of Guelph, domestic cows have between 49 and 51 vertebrae in total. Scientists divide these bones into several different categories, just as they do with all other vertebrates.
There are seven vertebrae in the neck of a cow. Moving towards the rear of the animal, the thoracic region contains 13 vertebrae, each of which holds two ribs. The lower back, or lumbar area, contains six vertebrae, while the sacral region, found near the cow's hips, holds five bones. The tail also contains vertebrae, but the number varies between cows. Most have between 18 and 20 vertebrae in their tails.