Possible Tail Injuries in Dogs

The anatomical differences in the tail of dogs make some breeds are more exposed to present different problems. However small the injury, the manifestation of pain can be very high.
Possible Tail Injuries in Dogs

Last update: 23 October, 2021

Most dogs are characterized for having a lot of energy and a great taste for games. Unfortunately, when carrying out these activities they’re often exposed to accidents. Tail injuries in dogs are one of the most frequent and painful situations that a dog can suffer.

It’s well known that a dog’s state of mind can be identified just by observing their body posture and certain movements they make. Their tail is an essential part of this type of communication and, when an anomaly occurs, this and other functions can be impaired. We invite you to read on and learn more about this type of injury.

Tail injuries in dogs

Dogs’ tails are formed by muscles, nerves, and up to 20 bones attached to the anus. It’s considered an extension of the spine, and as such, has very important tasks. Given its location and constant movement, the level of exposure to trauma and injury to this structure can be very high.

In addition to being an indicator of its mood, your dog’s tail also acts as an excellent tool that provides balance when walking, running, jumping, and swimming. Injuries to this structure will depend (among many factors) on the breed and the anatomical shape that characterizes each dog. Let’s see some examples.

Cold or limber tail syndrome

As the name suggests, dogs affected by this syndrome are those exposed to extreme weather conditions. In these cases, low temperatures and humidity alter the structural composition of the tissues. However, these aren’t the only situations that can trigger this type of lesions in the tail of dogs.

Dogs subjected to intense exercise without prior training or appropriate breaks are prone to suffer from limber tail syndrome. Bathing and swimming in cold water can also cause this condition. It has been seen that the breeds intended for hunting and sport as the Pointer, Setter, Beagle, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever are the most affected.

Diagnosis and treatment of cold tail

The diagnosis of this type of tail injury in dogs is often confused with a fracture, but, in reality, the condition is more like a sprain (due to the muscle damage it causes). The most obvious sign of this pathology is a flaccid tail, rigid at the base, and immobile in the remaining section.

Your pet’s tail will look as if it were fractured, but this isn’t the case. In addition, the pain is usually constant and very intense. Avoid making sudden movements that may increase the discomfort and consider going with your furry friend to the veterinary clinic for a thorough check-up.

For treatment, the ideal method is to carry out the following three points:

  1. Strict rest
  2. Administration of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs
  3. The application of hot compresses at the base of the tail.

Tail bleeding

This type of tail injury in dogs can start as a small wound and end up becoming a major problem. Secondary infections and discomfort can severely diminish their attitude, appetite, and overall quality of life.

Large breed dogs (those with long, thick tails) often find it difficult to perform the normal movements of this structure. For this reason, it wouldn’t be unusual that, when walking, they may bump and scratch their tails against things, causing wounds and bleeding ulcers.

All wounds go through a healing process in which itching is almost always present. To prevent your pet from worsening the condition of their wound by attempting to lick themselves, then you should use an Elizabethan collar.

In order to obtain a favorable prognosis in this type of injury, early medical attention will be the answer. From performing cleaning and disinfection techniques of the affected area to placing an appropriate bandage (if needed), the veterinary professional will take care of everything.

Fractures

A tail fracture is considered the most frequent injury suffered by dogs. The main reasons for this situation are very diverse:

  • Bumping
  • Trapping it with doors and heavy objects
  • Whipping movements of the tail against hard surfaces

All tail injuries in dogs bring a lot of discomfort. However, tail fractures are considered to be one of the most pressing physical situations, as the dog will suffer great pain. As a result, basic physiological activities such as urinating and defecating become difficult tasks for the affected canine.

Dog tail injury areas

Dog tails can be fractured in any segment. The swelling of the area will depend on the height at which the injury occurs. Recovery usually takes longer when the fracture is located near the base, as this is where the weight of the rest of the tail rests.

Less commonly, the tip of the tail is also a candidate for fracture. The pain generated by this injury will encourage your pet to try to bite the area. To avoid this, limit the movements of his head with the use of the Elizabethan collar.

Breeds more prone to fractures

All breeds of dogs are exposed to suffer fractures in the tail. In spite of this, the dogs most likely to suffer this type of injury as a consequence of their morphological characteristics are the following:

  • Greyhound
  • Springer spaniel
  • Lurcher
  • Whippet
  • Cocker spaniel

What do I do if my dog breaks his tail?

The first thing you have to do is to keep your pet away from any places where they may hurt themselves. Afterwards, and very carefully, try to check their tail for any physical abnormalities. If there’s an obvious injury, try to clean the affected area and get to a specialist quickly.

In order to classify fractures in tail injuries in dogs, a variety of diagnostic tests can be used. Whether an x-ray or CT scan is taken, the goal will always be the same: to find the area of the injury and the type of fracture present in the dog.

In many cases, tail fractures don’t require specific treatment. Even so, it’s advisable to administer analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs in order to reduce the stress level of the patient. The tail has the ability to heal on its own (naturally) as long as the condition isn’t serious.

Dog tail amputation

The amputation of tails and ears in dogs for aesthetic purposes is a topic of great controversy in society. Although in this article we’ve mentioned some of the functions that the tail provides in the functioning and balance of the body of your pet, there are still certain places where (illegally) this type of practice is still performed.

When one of the injuries in the tail of dogs occurs and threatens its life, the only person with the power to make the decision to amputate it is the veterinarian. Only on rare occasions will they decide to take this option, and always following a pre-established anesthetic and surgical protocol.

Tail injuries in dogs.

After reading this article, you have all the necessary tools at your disposal to take action whenever you notice any abnormal signs in your pet’s tail. Although most cases have a favorable prognosis, it’s up to you to ensure a speedy recovery.

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