View Full Version : Dead Tail, Limp Tail (so many different names)
06-15-2006, 12:57 PM
Hi, I'd like to find out everyone's opinion on this subject. Sadie's first experience with this was in O.C. at the Family Pet Expo. Becky pointed it out to me about Sadie's tail and Lisa talked to me telling me what to do about it. (Thank you both again) Well it happened once again, Sadie was having fun at a pool party this past Sunday swimming and jumping all afternoon. Late that day I noticed the tail hanging once again. This time it lasted longer than the first time. It really concerns me that there is not more information out there somewhere about this. Does anyone know how to prevent it? Is there any long term effect from it? I did finally take her to the vet (even knowing there wasn't much they could do) I just wanted some x-rays to make sure her spine was ok, got a chance to examine her hips also. All xrays come back GREAT which is GREAT. After reading about Lisa's "Ida" I was concerned. At least my mind is at peace. But I would just like to hear what any one else has experienced or again if there is anyway to prevent this from happening.
06-15-2006, 02:44 PM
This is a great article found on the internet.. Check it out..
We have tried baby aspirin two days before the event, during and two days after. That helped in Auburn. Quincy never has gotten this. Miss Matches three or 4 times. I believe they are using their tail in a different method when they hit the water or swim ming. Reminds me of a pulled muscle.
If your dog starts chewing on it. GO TO VET Immediately. That would really concern me.
Check out the article.
What Is Limber Tail Syndrome?
Limber tail syndrome and "cold water tail" while known to those who work with hunting dogs, may not be familiar to veterinarians. It is most often seen in working breeds like English Pointers, English Setters, Foxhounds, Beagles, and Labrador Retrievers. Ages of affected dogs range from 0.5-9 years old. In English Pointers the most frequent age of onset is reported to be 2 years old
Typically the presentation is a young adult dog with an acutely flaccid tail that hangs down from the tail base or is held horizontally for 3-4 inches and then drops down.(dog on right) The tail remains in this position even when the dog moves about.
Pain may be seen on palpation of the tail base and some owners report that the dog seems uncomfortable and painful. The best thing to do is leave the tail alone.
Rest is recommended. Complete recovery is usually seen by 2 weeks and often occurs within a few days although it recurs later during training in 1/3 of the cases. Some owners and trainers feel that anti-inflammatory drugs shorten the recovery time if given when the condition is first seen. You might also use warm packs at the base of the tail which will help the relief of pain.
The cause of limber tail is not known although it is thought to be associated with hard workouts (especially in underconditioned dogs), heavy hunting, and swimming or bathing in water that is too cold or too warm. Some owners reported that they grab the tail as a means of correction. Tail conformation (high set or very active), gender (males more frequently affected), and nutritional factors have also been suggested as possible causes. Ongoing studies suggest that limber tail is associaed with muscle damage in the tail with dogs examined early in showing elevated muscle enzymes eg., creatine phosphokinase.
06-15-2006, 02:46 PM
i'M NOT A VET - I'LL SAY THAT UP FRONT RIGHT NOW....but have done some reading on this subject as have experienced it with a flyball team dog and cauda equina syndrome with my own dog.
What I have read on Dead Tail/Cold Tail/Limber Tail- they believe it is from a dog being underconditioned and overtraining/overworking it. In some dogs, water temp is associated. Dead tail is basically muscle damage in the tail, it is similar to a delayed muscle strain in a human.
We've had a dog come up with dead tail at a flyball tournament - no water was involved, however a repetitive jumping motion was. Jump heights were at 16" - the maximum in NAFA - one dog came up with Dead Tail at the end of the day - poor thing couldn't handle the stress of the jumping. I would definately rethink how you condition your dog, you definately want to build them up to the repetitive jumping motion, so their bodies get used to it.
As for pain relief, pain may be seen on movement of the tail base and some owners say that the dog seems uncomfortable and painful when it walks. The best thing to do is leave the tail alone. Rest is recommended, some use anti inflammatory drugs to shorten the recovery time. You could also use warm packs at the base of the tail which relieve swelling and help relieve pain. We've used EMU oil to the base of the tail, EMU is a wonderful anti inflamatory oil. Helps with muscle strains and eases the pain (in humans & other animals)
06-16-2006, 02:28 PM
I just want to thank everyone that has replied to my post. Everything I've been reading on this is pretty much the same.
Sadie and I walk/run a couple of miles every day. She swims every weekend in the ocean and plays hard running after her ball at the park each night. She is really active and we are really just doing the dock jumping for fun, so as for conditioning, I don't really know what more we can do. Buena Park/Orange County area we do not have any access to any docks.... :-(
But again I want to thank everyone for the help.
09-28-2008, 11:54 AM
I was so glad to read that this is common for a dog to get this. Our Ginger has come down with this. She did a lot of swimming/she thinks she is fishing. She then would go right from the lake to the trees, hunting for squirrels all day yesterday. At night she acted like her rear end hurt, and today we noticed she didn't bring her tail up at all. She is a lab mix and always a happy dog with that tail just a wagging steady. I read it is something labs can get. My mind is more at ease, as I was going to take her to an emergency vet clinic today (Sun.) so this saved me a lot of expense. I will just make her lay low today and for a few days and see how she does. Thanks for this site! Great help!
09-28-2008, 03:08 PM
So sorry to hear about Sadie..
Jillie sends along a few good licks. We send hugs for speedy recovery.
Very interesting information on this situation....good to know how to deal with it.
We are hoping Sadie rests up and feels better soon !
Katie, Jack and Jillie
09-29-2008, 09:11 PM
Thank you everyone for your posts regarding dead tail. For some reason this is a post from back in 2006, I'm not sure how it got on here again.
But always interested in comments and suggestions. She does get it from time to time still. But for now is doing fine, just trying to take care of her back issue...Still not jumping her and not sure if I will jump her again. I'm still considering letting her jump her final jump at Cyno., I still haven't decided yet.
Take care and see everyone soon
Cindy & Sadie
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