Ever thought your dog was smiling at you? Dogs can make certain facial expressions when they're relaxed and in a comfortable mood, but whether or not they're actually smiling at you is open to debate. Your dog's demeanour is the best indicator of their mood, and their tail helps you to read this mood. Dogs wag their tails when they're happy or excited, just as the tail can become rigid when they're frightened or curious. So what about if your dog was unable to express themselves in this way? A broken tail can be a very serious matter, and it not only prevents your dog from being able to convey their mood, but it can also be extremely painful.
Inside the Tail
Dogs can have anywhere between six and 23 vertebrae in their tails, depending on the size and breed of the dog. A tail injury can occur when the tail is dislocated (meaning that the internal vertebrae have become separated), or when the tail is actually broken (meaning that one or more of the internal vertebrae have fractured). Both can be unpleasant for your dog, although a break is more serious. How would you know that it has happened?
Signs of a Broken Tail
The physicality of the tail is the most obvious indicator. It might simply hang limp. Your dog's discomfort can be clear to see, particularly when they ease themselves into a sitting position with some difficulty. In some instances, the breakage can result in nerve damage at the base of the tail, meaning your dog is unable to regulate their sphincter, so a loss of bowel control is possible. Dogs use their tails for balance, so your dog might also seem to be unsteady on their feet. You will not necessarily be able to feel the break, and nor should you try to. Handling your dog's dislocated or broken tail will be extremely painful for them, so the utmost delicacy is required. What needs to happen next?
Treating a Broken Tail
The injury is relatively easy to treat, but prompt treatment is required. If your regular vet cannot schedule an immediate appointment, just search online for a vet; one that is close (to minimise transport time, which will be uncomfortable for your dog), and one that can see you on that same day. A broken tail will regrow the fractured sections of the vertebrae without intervention, but it will need to be set (possibly with the entire tail immobilised) so that it regrows into its correct position. Your dog might also need pain relief.
There's something so upsetting about a dog who is unable to wag their tail, so if your pooch's tail seems to be inexpressive or uncomfortable, please get them to a nearby vet clinic for quick treatment.
For more information, contact a local vet clinic today.