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Dog Tail Injury Questions

What are dog tail injuries?

Tail injuries in dogs are more common than most realize. A dog’s tail can get injured from something as simple as being bitten, stepped on, shut in a door or in some cases it can even break. It's usually quite apparent to a dog owner if the tail has been injured. Some dog tails may sag or hang. A tail injury can be very painful for a dog because of the vertebrae that run down the tail and all the muscles and nerves that help it move.

How is a tail injury treated in dogs?

Treatment for a dog's tail injury often depends on how the tail was injured and where the injury is located on the tail.

If a dog’s tail is injured by a bite or some type of laceration, it can be treated with an antiseptic ointment. When using an ointment it's usually a good idea to bandage the tail to prevent the dog from licking the medication and become sick. The bandages should be changed around every 2 days.

It's important to make sure that a dog with a tail injury does not bite or chew on the tail, giving the tail time to heal. If a dog does chew or bite, the tail could become infected; and this could mean that the dog needs to be treated with antibiotics.

If the tail is broken, it is best to have a veterinarian set the tail back in place. This should ideally not be tried at home. In some cases, a vet may even place a splint on the tail to keep it straight until fully healed. In more serious cases a vet may need to amputate the tail for the dog's safety.

It's natural for dog owners to have questions when they notice an injured tail. For many of the questions, a visit to the vet may not be called for. In such cases, it's advisable to ask an Expert and seek professional insights. Below are answers provided by Experts to commonly asked questions about dog tail injuries.

Does a dog that had its tail shut in a door need a cast?

Case Details: There is swelling bit no cuts or breaks in the skin.

The extent, exact location and type of injury usually determine the treatment required. Considering that the dog’s tail was not cut, a cast may not be called for. Unless absolutely needed, a cast can sometimes have a negative effect on the blood supply even requiring an amputation of the tail. Usually if the tail is swollen, a vet may wrap the tail in bandage for a few days or use a cold compress if the dog allows it.

What could cause a dog to not want to wag its tail or let anyone touch it?

This could suggest either a soft tissue, tendon, ligament or muscle injury, or even a tail fracture. It may be best to have a veterinarian take a look at the dog’s tail to determine exactly what is wrong and determine the nature of the injury. If the dog cannot be taken to a vet, try applying a cold compress for about 5 minutes. This should be done around 3 to 4 times a day. Buffered aspirin (about 5 milligrams for every pound the dog weighs) could be a good medication. This dose should be given in 12 hour intervals.

Does a dog that can wag its tail but cannot raise it need to be seen by a veterinarian?

Considering that the tail can be moved but not lifted up in the air, it is unlikely that the nerves that run along the tail are injured. The dog may need to rest the tail so that the healing can begin.

Dog tail injures can seem serious to dog owners and some injuries to the tail can be quite severe. In extremely severe cases the dog could need a tail amputation. Not all dog tail injuries are this extreme. Some tail injuries may not even need treatment and heal with time. However, as a dog owner, questions are bound to arise about what you should do to care for your dog. It's best not to make assumptions when in doubt. Asking an Expert is one way to get quick and affordable answers to any questions you may have about your dog's tail injury.

Ask a Dog Veterinarian

Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4084
Experience:  Over 12 years of clinical veterinary experience
11664588
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
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4 Dog Veterinarians are Online Now

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