Before you laugh, please be assured this is a common condition and one that my own dog had a few weeks ago.
We had been playing a bit of frisbee and then went swimming. It was a super fun day with lots of activity for both of us. He is one of the most fit dogs I’ve ever seen and he will go and go, so a few hours later when I noticed that his tail was drooping, I was startled. He always wags his tail and is always happy to see me. Imagine my dismay when no matter what, his tail would not move; it just hung there.
I immediately researched via the web what this condition could be and found it to be Limber Tail Syndrome, often also called Swimmers Tail. The condition can be caused from over exertion, too much swimming or even being kept in a crate for too long. It can be painful in some dogs, but not all. I didn’t notice it to be painful for my dog so I wasn’t too worried. However, I did keep an eye on it and gave my dog some coated aspirin. It is recommended to treat the condition with a NSAID (non steroidal ant-inflammatory drug).
The key thing is to limit the dogs activity for several days. I waited a week to make sure. I read that there are some dogs that never recover fully, but that is the exception rather than the rule. I believe that it is similar to a pulled muscle, so gradual reintroduction to moderate levels of activity was the avenue I took. It worked very well and within a week his tail began slowly wagging again – one of the happiest sites to me. Within 12 days he was back to normal!
Several different breeds are susceptible to Limber Tail Syndrome including: retrievers, setters, pointers, hounds, beagles (and now I can add shepherds).
A strong word of caution is please be certain to have your dog checked if there is any chance that the dog could have a broken tail. There are also other issues that could be a different issue and not simply Limber Tail including: a broken tail, back injury impacted anal glands, and more. If there is any doubt, a visit to your vet is a great idea. However, if your situation is similar to mine in that your dog was fine, then did a lot of playing and swimming and suddenly his tail hangs limp, don’t worry too much; it’s probably just Limber Tail.
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