Swimmer’s Tail?

Summertime and the livin’ is easy here on the North Carolina coast! Okay, so the arrival of Labor Day means that summer is winding down but there will still be plenty of more warm days to enjoy. Mom and dad took me and the leghounds for a long overdue boat ride for the Labor Day holiday and while I was content to splash in the shallow waters, August and Pecos were out there swimming their hearts out. When we all woke up the next day mom noticed that Pecos was holding his tail down between his legs and it wouldn’t go up and wag.

Pecos enjoyed his day on the water.

Pecos enjoyed his day on the water.

Now, I was my mom’s first baby and if the same thing had happened to me when I was a younger pup, we would have been in the car to the emergency hospital before you could finish reading the end of this sentence. However, since mom has been around the block a few times, she did not freak out immediately. Instead, she did what many vets have taught her to do before she freaks out – she observed.

Pecos was eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom normally. He didn’t appear to be in pain other than the fact that he wouldn’t lift his tail. He was still walking around and hopping up on furniture he wasn’t supposed to be on. She felt his tail and didn’t feel anything unusual. It was only when she attempted to lift his tail, that he finally let out tiny whimper.

To the Internets! Cold Water Tail, Dead Tail, Broken Wag

The internet yielded several possible explanations, none of which seemed an exact match to Pecos’ condition. It appears “Limber Tail Syndrome” is a common occurrence in sporting dogs that can manifest after a day of swimming or other strenuous activity. Pecos did do more swimming the day before than he had done in his entire life and although he enjoyed it at the time, it’s possible he’s paying for it today with some very sore muscles.

My mom knows better than to diagnose our problems with the internet, but she also knows that since this tail thing is not hindering Pecos’ daily activities, it’s probably best to wait and observe more over the next day before freaking out and rushing to the vet.

What about you? Have your dogs ever experienced something like this? What did you do? How do you decide when it’s a serious enough injury to call the vet?

UPDATE 9/2/14 (Day 2)
Pecos is raising his tail a little more today and is actually wagging it, although he’s not getting it in the air. Our amateur diagnosis is that this was indeed a sore or strained muscle.


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