Typical tail injuries and the ways to treat them

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog with tail injury
Photo by Zen Chung.

A dog’s tail serves multiple purposes: wagging, knocking items off tables, or even accidentally smacking you in the face. Given its active nature, the tail is prone to various injuries.

The most common injury we see at the hospital is a degloving injury. This occurs when the skin on the tail, usually the tip, gets pulled back. Though it may seem like a minor injury, these wounds often bleed profusely. To transport your dog to the vet for repair without ruining your car’s interior, ball up a sock and insert it into the toe of a long sock. Slide the long sock over the length of your dog’s tail and secure it with paper tape. These injuries typically require stitches.

Crushed tails, such as when a tail gets caught in a door, can break. Pain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be prescribed to reduce swelling and pain at the break site. Monitor the site daily for signs of tissue death, such as skin color changes, unhealing skin, or foul odor, and consult your veterinarian immediately if any of these symptoms arise.

As a side note on crushed tails: if your dog does not cry out when its tail is caught in a door or otherwise smashed, take it to the veterinarian. Some dogs, particularly German Shepherds, develop degenerative disorders as they age, causing nerve transmission to fail, starting with the tail.

A less traumatic injury that occurs mainly in spring and summer is tail sprains from swimming, sometimes referred to as “swimmer’s tail” or “limber tail syndrome.” Affected dogs may exhibit less wagging, hold their tails in unusual positions, and experience pain when their tails are touched. Rest is generally prescribed for these cases, but if your dog is in pain, consult your veterinarian before assuming it overdid it on opening day at the pool.

Tail sprains are relatively common in Labrador Retrievers and other breeds that frequently engage in water activities. The condition is thought to result from overexertion, extended periods in cold water, or confinement in a small space for an extended time.

Another potential tail injury is tail tip dermatitis, which occurs when a dog’s tail repeatedly comes into contact with hard surfaces, causing cuts, abrasions, and hair loss at the tail tip. Treating tail tip dermatitis involves cleaning the wound, applying antibiotic ointment, and bandaging the tail. If the condition persists, consult your veterinarian for further examination and treatment.

Preventing tail injuries is essential for your dog’s well-being. Be cautious when closing doors or moving heavy objects to avoid accidentally crushing your dog’s tail. Provide a safe environment for your dog to play and swim, and monitor its activity levels to prevent overexertion. Regularly inspect your dog’s tail for signs of injury, irritation, or infection, and address any issues with your veterinarian promptly.

In conclusion, while tail injuries can range from mild to severe, early detection and proper care are crucial to ensuring your dog’s comfort and recovery. Work closely with your veterinarian to address any concerns and provide the best possible care for your furry friend


© 2024 DogTrekker.com
Website by Brandhound