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Can a dog break her tail??

May 22nd, 2006, 08:58 PM
I came home tonight and found my 6 year old yellow lab with her tail hanging wasn't up and wagging like usual. Can it be broken??

jesse's mommy
May 22nd, 2006, 09:08 PM
Yes they can be broken and you might want to get to the vet asap.

May 22nd, 2006, 11:04 PM
There is a fairly well known syndrome that labs get called 'Cold Water Tail' that mimics a broken tail, but you should have the vet check in case it is indeed broken. There is info on this at

May 22nd, 2006, 11:21 PM
Better safe than sorry. Jemma had cold tail once, and I was so upset at the thought of her wagger being broken for good. She had been swimming all day, and I didn't know about cold tail till I asked here.

From the link posted by satchelp, this is what causes it:
A flaccid tail episode appears to be a painful, but relatively benign affliction that can occur after swimming, after a heavy hunting day or even after a bath with cold water or water that is too warm. It is not always associated with swimming or water, but can happen after a heavy day of work that involves a lot of tail action.

jesse's mommy
May 23rd, 2006, 05:32 AM
I guess the OP didn't mention if the dog was swimming lately. It looks to me that he came home from work and it was like this. Can they get Cold Water Tail from just being home or is it only attributed to being in the water or working? (Sorry for the slight threadjack, but I thought Cold Wet Tail was only due to water and working, so I'm trying to educate myself a bit more :thumbs up )

Kerri N Lynch
May 23rd, 2006, 06:07 AM
I have had it happen with my retrievers were just from wagging thier tail and hitting something hard , like a sprain and after a few days they seemed fine . I was told just to give them an asprin coated which i gave for just two days .

May 23rd, 2006, 07:06 AM
I was told just to give them an asprin coated which i gave for just two days .
But beware that there are actually strict doses that a dog should have going by weight, dont just pop some asprin into your doggy, be sure to see a vet!!!!

May 23rd, 2006, 12:09 PM
I don't know if cold tail is a sprain (cold tail I mean)... It's an overuse injury, not a trauma... I was told to wait it out, not give pills.

If it is a trauma, it's probably not cold tail, and xrays are needed.

Dog Dancer
May 23rd, 2006, 12:44 PM
My lab sprained her tail - high up near the butt. Our vet didn't have to xray her he could tell by touch and look (it was slightly swollen). Anyhow, he did give her anti-inflamatories and pain pills. She fell onto the floor of the car when my son had to brake hard when someone cut them off in traffic. I guess she tried to balance with the tail and somehow sprained it. So you should see a vet but may not necessarily need xrays. Good luck.

May 23rd, 2006, 01:10 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. I can't believe how this site helped. The day before this happened, my son gave our lab a bath outside with the garden hose (and COLD water!!!). I never knew the two were related until I started reading your replies. My vet seems to think it is related, also....we have a appt later this afternoon. Thanks again!!!

Dog Dancer
May 23rd, 2006, 03:31 PM
Interesting link, I'd never heard of this, and now that I think about the event with Halo's tail, my son was on his way back from letting her play in the river and ocean so maybe it was the cold water and not the slip off the backseat that caused the limp tail. Maybe our vet didn't know about this issue either! Good to know about. Please keep us posted on your furbaby. Good luck.

May 23rd, 2006, 08:47 PM
It is probably "cold tail"/ "swimmer's tail". It is a common ailment in breeds like goldens and labs that spend time in water and or field. Two weeks ago I noticed Hunter's tail just hanging. The base of his tail was swollen also. I made him rest and gave him baby aspirin a few times and within a few days he was back to his old self.
I don't think you have to rush off to the vet. Wait a day or two and if you don't see an improvement or if it gets worse then definately bring her in. Rest is key. Some dogs lose their appetite and are very lethargic because it is a painful condition.

May 23rd, 2006, 11:39 PM
On this forum, I'm constantly learning something new! My brother had several labs over the years but I never heard of this. Maybe it's not so prevalent in this warmer area?

June 14th, 2006, 05:55 PM
Can this happen in any type of dog? I think Brick has this!! Anything we can do to help him? How long will it take to go back to normal, or will it?? He was swimming in Kananaskis river this weekend....very very cold mountain river....oops!!! I'm such a bad mommy!!! :sad:

June 14th, 2006, 06:20 PM
Any dog with a long tail, I would imagine. Maybe dogs with cropped tails get "ghost" cold tail sensations too...:o