Be On The Lookout this Summer for Swimmer's Tail

August 20th 2018

Is your dog a “weekend warrior”?
Like us humans our dogs can suffer from sudden onsets of activity or from being in cold water for lengths of time. Our dogs may laze through the week while their owners are at work and then eager to be active on weekends with their owners hiking, swimming in cold waters or out running and being active for long periods of time.

What is Swimmer’s Tail?

Swimmer’s tail (aka dead tail, limber tail, cold tail, limp tail), is a condition in which dogs develop a flaccid tail. Medically, this is known as acute caudal myopathy and occurs mainly in working dogs. And when Monday comes, bam! Swimmer’s tail. However, some dogs can develop Swimmer’s tail from sudden cold water or temperatures.
Swimmer’s tail is caused by pain or damage to the muscles at the base of the tail. Overexertion of the tail is considered the underlying problem.

Swimmer’s tail symptoms

Swimmer’s tail presents as a limp and painful tail and the dog may be reluctant to sit down properly or move much. They may whimper or even have trouble defecating. To owners, it may look like the tail is broken, but rest assured, there is no fracture or bone involvement.

What dogs tend to get swimmer’s tail?

While any dog can develop swimmer’s tail, it is normally working dogs that are overwhelmingly affected, especially those that swim.
Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, fox hounds, English pointers, English setters, beagles and coonhounds are the more common types of breeds to be affected.

Is swimmer’s tail preventable?

Swimmer’s tail is more common with a sudden increase in activity, so a gradual increase is strongly recommended. For dogs that are affected by cold water or temperatures, take care to bathe or swim in warmer waters. Prevention is key!

What is the treatment for swimmer’s tail?

If your dog develops swimmer’s tail, it is treated with rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by your veterinarian.

And if you think your dog has swimmer’s tail we can help. You can call us at Montgomery Village Vet Clinic at 403-615-8016.

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