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Vet Care: A Compassionate Science


Is There A Lag In The Wag? What It May Mean When Your Dog's Tail Has Slowed To A Stop

Your dog uses his tail to tell you he's happy, curious, upset or that he's done something he really wasn't suppose to, but no matter the reason for the wag, you expect to see it throughout the day. If that tail stops, drops and stays put, it could be a case of limber tail syndrome.

What Is Limber Tail Syndrome?

Limber tail means there's something not functioning properly in the muscles of the tail. While it's most often seen in big, muscular dogs with high-energy outputs, it can occur in any breed. Suddenly, the tail that usually wags all day long slows to a stop and merely hangs there. Sometimes, limber tail is merely a reaction to soreness, such as what any body would go through following rigorous, out of the ordinary activity. Still, it's vital that the canine in question be checked out for all possible explanations.

How Will The Animal Hospital Treat Your Dog's Lame Tail?

At a pet hospital, your dog will be treated to a full examination, X-rays and an interrogation to discover what's been going on lately. Of course, you'll be the one answering the questions, so think back to when the symptoms began and the surrounding circumstances: Did your dog encounter another canine, perhaps on the aggressive or playful side? Was there a lot of swimming going on? How about a mischievous child being a little rambunctious with your pet? Any event where the dog may have over-exerted the tail or otherwise experienced unusual activity in the area will come under suspicion.

Depending on the specific diagnosis, there may be no other recommendation besides rest. A broken tail may require medications, including for pain, and, in more extreme cases, even surgery. Limber tail is not thought to be serious, provided there are no other complicating factors; however, because a tail that's not wagging can be many things, a suspected case of limber tail should be explored by a professional.

What Else Could Be Going On?

While a tail that's stopped wagging may be limber tail syndrome, only a veterinarian can diagnose your dog with relative certainty. As with any concern about your pet, it's better to bring them to the vet for a checkup, than to leave yourself guessing and the dog in stasis. Even if it may be quite a chore to haul your pooch to the pet doctor, you don't know for sure that something else isn't going on, such as:

  • A sprained tail, for which the vet could prescribe an anti-inflammatory.
  • A broken tail that may or may not be bent, swollen and/or still.
  • A pulled muscle, either in the tail or somewhere else in the hind-quarters.
  • Damage to a nerve or an injury associated with avulsion or pulling (of the tail).

Since the tail is an important part of any dog, be it for self-expression or hydro-steering, you should never ignore problems with it, especially something that lasts for more than a day or so. A lag in the wag could also be an early indication of arthritis; thus, you really want your veterinarian brought into the equation.

You want to see that wag all day long, just as much as your dog wants to show it to you. Any interruption of this most enjoyable part of a pup should definitely be investigated by a vet until the problem is found and solved.

About Me

Vet Care: A Compassionate Science

In order to be a good veterinarian, one needs a few characteristics. One must have a love and passion for animals, and also a love for science. You see, veterinarians have to know a lot of science to do their jobs, but they also have to apply that science in a very compassionate way to preserve and improve the health of their patients. This is not always easy when your patient is a 100-pound German shepherd who is mad because his paw hurts. We greatly appreciate vets, the complexity of what they do, and the love they put into their jobs. That's why we created this blog to share more about this awesome profession.

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