Limber tail syndrome
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An injury occurring mostly in sporting or working dogs such as English Pointers, English Setters, Foxhounds, Beagles, and Labrador Retrievers. Limber Tail Syndrome is also known as Swimmer's tail, Cold Water Tail, Broken Tail, Dead Tail or Broken Wag.
Signs and symptoms
The injury affects the tail of the dog, causing it to be painful at or near its base. Limber Tail can be recognized by a very flaccid tail, or a tail that is held horizontally for 3 to 4 inches, and then drops vertically.
Limber tail may be caused by lots of swimming in water that is too cold or too warm, or engaging in heavy exercise of some sort (i.e. hunting). Dogs that are under-conditioned to the activity may be more susceptible.
Recommended treatment is rest and sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs. Recovery can take a day to a couple weeks. The symptoms may reoccur later on.
- Steiss, Janet E. & Wright, J.C., Limber Tail Syndrome in Hunting Dogs, Sports Medicine Program Newsletter, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Winter 1995
- Grayson, Peggy, Water and the dead tail syndrome, Dog World, May 5, 1995
- Coccygeal muscle injury in English pointers (Limber tail). Steiss, J. et al. J Vet Intern Med1999;13:540-548