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Phantom tail ?

October 1st, 2008, 06:33 PM
I have a small mix breed dog (lhasa apso, poodle, a bit of terrier), who up until a few years back, had a long bushy tail. However, she was hit by a car and her tail was broken...irreperable, and consequently the tail was docked to about two inches pretty much the day of the accident. She healed well from what I can remember (she was not living with me at the time)

She's always been a bit sensitive around her back end, if picked up the wrong way etc, and was nervous for a while after the accident. Within the past year, however, she has started to exhibit odd behaviours that i'm beginning to think might have something to do with phantom sensations. I don't recall this happening, at least as much, until this past year or so. She's been without her tail for about four years now i think.

She will be laying peacefully asleep and all of a sudden will jump from her bed and run a few steps as if someone's pulled her tail or given her a little poke or something. She looks startled, but usually settles again. Usually gives me a good start while she's at it, it'll be all quiet here and then up she goes, toenails skittering across the room. She doesn't do this while awake, and doesn't do it as much at night, when she seems to settle in for longer periods.

I've read elsewhere that dogs can have phantom pain after docking, but is this something that would only begin to show itself after a few years?

October 1st, 2008, 08:20 PM
Has she been evaluated by the vet recently? I'm wondering if perhaps she's developing some arthritis from the accident and feeling twinges from that? We had a dog with spinal arthritis that would get a 'tweak' and jump up like that.

October 1st, 2008, 10:11 PM
HRP has some good points, and it would certainly warrant a vet visit IMO. That said, doggie amputees certainly can and do experience phantom pain...whether or not it can appear suddenly long after the amputation is something I'm not sure about. If it is nerve-related, there are medications that are available to help control the "zings".

October 2nd, 2008, 07:21 AM
I know a human that accidentally cut off his arm and he gets pain so I imagine dogs are no different.