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Limber tail in dogs – Pet tip 140

Limber Tail Syndrome (AKA cold tail, dead tail, broken wag) is quite common among some breeds of hunting dogs, such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Pointers, Setters, and Beagles. It is a condition in which the tail becomes limp and sometimes painful after exertion, particularly during inclement weather, swimming, or in an under-conditioned dog. It is a condition well-known to hunting dog owners and trainers, but not commonly seen by veterinarians. The syndrome is characterized by the swelling of the muscles at the base of the tail (the wagging muscles, which are also used heavily during swimming when the tail may serve as a rudder). These muscles are bound to the tail by a tight ring of connective tissue. As the muscles swell and expand, the connective tissue begins to serve as a tourniquet – cutting off normal blood flow.

When increased pressure within a confined space results in reduced blood flow, it is known as a ‘compartment syndrome’.

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