Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Broken Wag

This post has absolutely nothing to do with horses in the least, but since most of us also have dogs and it's dog related,I thought it was worth a quick post.
A week or so ago, my dear Borgi dog ,Duncan, rolled in something gross , ofcourse . No spot wash was going to help. He needed a full on bath to get through whatever foulness he had ground into his coat. It was a 97+ degree day  out, so no need to carry him in and do a back breaking bath in the bathtub.
Instead,  in an effort to consolidate my time/effort, I found  a big shallow water tub and hauled it into the back yard, filled it with water, dog shampoo suds , and put Duncan in it and got to working scrubbing off the shmutz...  Duncan wasn't pleased with the situation but there was no way he was coming in the house looking and smelling like he did. I hosed him off to get all the soap and and he was good as new.
Besides, the cool water should feel good on such a blazing hot day, right? ( I kind of enjoyed it atleast, Duncan was tolerating it)
When he was done, I tied him to the back porch so he could stay put and not find mud or dirt or whatever to get himself dirty again. This way he could dry in the sunshine. Once he was mostly dry, I brushed him out.
Wallah! A clean cuddly Borgi dog again.
That evening, he ran around like his usual playful self for a couple of hours, Bed time came and all was fine.
Mourning arrived and he was anything but fine.
His tail would not move.  Literally ,not move.  Normally his tail curls up and over his back but it just hung there, limp.  He kept sitting down and looking at  his tail. It seemed to hurt when he walked.  I tried to palpate it and it seemed a bit swollen at the base of the tail but he was so tender he didn't want me messing with it. All I could think was that somehow sprained it or broke it the night before.
My tail hurts
Duncan being pathetic, Xena trying to console him
Being naturally curious and hoping to stumble upon an explanation other than a broken tail, I did exactly that.

Turns out, there is thing called Limber Tail Syndrome .
Who knew? certainly not me...

(aka; Acute Caudal Myopathy, Dead Tail, Tail Gland Inflammation, limp Tail, etc.)

It normally affects sporting dogs who go swimming early in the season  in cold water . The tail is used as a rudder and the muscles and tail glands get exhausted or inflamed. That is the typical cause. However there seems to be a fair amount of cases where dogs (non sporting type breeds) develop this in the same way Duncan did; cold bath= dead tail

According to this article I found, I made three major mistakes,

  1. I bathed him with a cold hose- never do this again I guess.
  2. It was late in the day when he got his bath ( guess this has to do with the dog being dry and warm prior to them settling in for the night)
  3. I tied him up so he didn't move around after his bath- should have run him around a bit

Duncan had a vet appt scheduled on that Monday for his annual visit anyways so we kept an eye on him throughout the weekend . He didn't get any worse and was eating, drinking, pooping and doing all the things a dog normally does, just without his happy tail.

After his examination, the vet confirmed LTS was in fact what he had developed.  She didn't feel any breaks or suspect any nerve issues based on how he was moving. She prescribed a course of Rimadyl for 7 days as an anti-inflammatory.

Here we are just a few days out and he is already improving. The tail is working about 50% of normal so I suspect a few more days he will be back to his normal happy tail dog wagging self.
Look! It's starting to work again!

The good news is that while this is painful for dogs, and makes them look sad, it's not permanent and it can usually be avoided if the right care is taken.

So now you know!


CG said...

Oh my, I would never have known about that one.... Hope he is back to 100% soon!

Mel said...

It wasn't something we learned about in vet school, but I researched it after a friend asked me about it (and I found out exactly the stuff you did). Thanks for the reminder! Now if I see it at the clinic it will be fresh in my mind. My husband bathes two of our dogs out of cold hoses and we've never had an issue (Tess get bathed in warm water because I can't stand cold water and she gets all shivery and according to my husband this makes her and me wimps) but it's probably because we haven't done the perfect storm of factors (yet).

Jonna said...

It definitely seems like its generally a bit "unknown" or at the very least, misunderstood. I agree, I hate cold water too so I guess I am part of the wimp club as well! Yeah, I guess I did all the things wrong that I could have done.. Atleast I know what to avoid in the future. I had never had this issue before and I know I have given plenty of my past dogs, including Duncan , a hose bath. Live and Learn I guess