My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "

Excerpt from: "Cold Water Tail" by Diane O. Gifford

"Cold water tail," "limber tail syndrome," "broken tail," "dead tail," "broken wag" are all euphemisms for a relatively common occurrence in sporting dogs. The tail of the dog hangs down from the tail base or is held horizontal for three or four inches and then drops down. A flaccid tail episode appears to be a painful, but relatively benign affliction that can occur after swimming, after a heavy hunting day or even after a bath with cold water or water that is too warm. It is not always associated with swimming or water, but can happen after a heavy day of work that involves a lot of tail action. The majority of limp tail cases have been reported in sporting dogs or hounds -- Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Setters, Pointers, Flatcoats, Foxhounds and Beagles are the breeds frequently named. Almost all dogs that suffer through an occurrence return to normal within a few days. Affected dogs may or may not have a repeat incidence during their lifetime. [It is this author's experience that symptoms will repeat in the same animal and can be triggered by something as simple as a cold water bath.] This affliction has been described by the layman as a "sprain," fibrosis or a "cold in the tail." The affected dog is miserable at the onset and the tail is painful. If neither the dog owner nor the veterinarian is familiar with this condition, it can be disturbing--fostering conjecture on a possible fracture or spinal cord disease.
Here's another good link.

As for Nutmeg, it wasn't until that evening after the swim that her tail went limp. You could really tell that it was uncomfortable for her to sit straight down on it. She was quick to shift all the way onto her hip. She did more standing or lying down during the 48 hours that her tail was too sore to lift. Hopefully if you see this with a similar onset you won't freak out and have to pay an unnecessary vet bill. Just be sure it is not something more serious before you dismiss it as something that will resolve on it's own. I always have on hand a herbal tincture called "trauma" from our holistic vet. It has arnica in it and other healing anti-inflammatory herbs. She got one drop every hour to two hours that evening then 4 times through out the next day. By the following day she was noticeably pain free and wagging her usual high and happy tail.


Anonymous said...

I just retured from an April 20 visit at a Lake Erie Island vacation - theair temperature was 75 degrees but the water was 40 degrees. My chocolate lab was in heaven and bounced in a out of the water for about 30 minutes to beat the heat. That night she showed signs fo discomfort and moved around all night trying to find a place to sleep. She could eat and show excitement in her eyes but could not wag ner tail. If I lifted her tail she cried out. If I touched the area that look flacid on her tail she bared her teeth in pain. I called an emergancy vet and they suggested rest and to have her take a aspirin for pain ( she is 67lbs and -the vet reccommended that she take 1 1/2 aspirin or approx 450 mg. for pain. We are at a wait and see point now but it has al least quieted her and my nerves- since I was with the dog 24/7 and saw not sign of trauma or any event that would cause her to either break her tail or for her tail to be bitten . This was an aweosome vet service which did not charge me for the advcice

"Sunshine" said...


This sounds just like Nutmeg the first day it happened except she didn't have quite as much pain. She may not have been in the water quite as long as your dog.

I recently read somewhere that a warm pack may help. I suppose you could use a heating pad, or a hot towel. Of course Nutmeg was squirming so much she barely stayed in one spot for more than a few minutes the first 24 hours.

She had another mild case of it two weeks ago and I used some of the childrens asprin from my dog first aid box. The discomfort seemed to be eased much quicker. I still gave her the "trauma" med with Arnica from our holistic vet to help her body with the tissue healing.

I'm so glad you had such awesome veterinary help when this happened to your dog! There are some great vets out there.

After posting about Nutmeg's "limp tail" I have gotten "242" keyword searches to my site. It is obviously quite common, but the information seems not to be quite mainstream yet. I'm glad you found us here. I hope our experience reassured you that the symptoms would pass.

Kristi said...

Thank you so much for this blog entry. My Yellow Lab mix's first time swimming was great. She loved the water. That night when she jumped off from our bed she whined like she had hurt her leg. I checked her over, but all of her legs seemed fine. I couldn't figure it out, so I figured that she just landed wrong or something. The next day her tail hung down instead of being up and perky like usual. I was concerned so I called my vet, and he said she probably either twisted wrong when she jumped down or had a common inflamation that lab's get. He prescribed one human asprin twice a day, and told me that if she didn't seem better in a few days to bring her in. I was still worried, but after seeing your blog I feel a lot better. I had no idea that swimming in cold water could do that to a dog. You're a life saver. :) Susie thanks you wholeheartedly because now she won't have to go to the vet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great news. We gave our dog a bath yesterday outside but I guess the water was a little to cold. Today his tail is limp. After researching and finding your site we feel alot better. Keep up the good work

"Sunshine" said...

Anonymous ...

I'm so glad that the experience we had, that I shared here, helped you!! It has been my sole intent that at least one other person benefit from what we have learned, and are continuing to learn, by sharing it here in this blog.

Thanks for your kind words.

Knowledge is power ... not to mention peace of mind.

Anonymous said...

Everything I have read here is spot on. It can be scary if you know nothing about this. My labby girl went swimming in Vermont one evening this fall, the water was not all that cold as I was wading in it, and showed the same signs. Kept us up most of the night and was very sore to the touch the rest of the day. Was fine with time and a little aspirin.

Average Joe said...

Thanks for the post--you saved me a vet bill. We have a black lab mix and my son gave her a bath outside when it was about 45 degrees. (Not super cold, but enough to do the trick, I guess.) She showed the symptoms exactly as you and your link describe. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this bit of info! My hubby gave our Lab a bath (she got into some sticky pine 'gunk') Fri & by Sat morning it look like she had a 'broken' tail. Scared me half to death! She laid in her crate most the day until I read I could give her aspirin....Easter weekend - vet would have been outrageous ($$$) She is doing much better tonight.

Anonymous said...

Ok so my husband and I came home from dinner and to our dismay we found our choclate lab acting as if she broke her tail!!! We did not know how she did this she was home with our older dog which is also a lab yellow, Shelby. We were almost ready to take Maggie May to the vet although we thought of $ signs!! I found your web site and we are hoping that the "cold tail" syndrome is the problem! You see last night I bathed Maggie and then let her out before bed. I will be eternally grateful if this is really the problem with her. She has had her first dose of Asprin! Thank you so much!!
Lisa Franklin

"Sunshine" said...

Dear Lisa,

And it was for this very reason I started this blog!!

The collective knowledge of many will help each one of us at some point in our journey.

Hope your Maggie recovers quickly.


Anonymous said...

So two days later Maggie May is recovering!! All the information that was given on this site was right! Maggie's tail is getting better she is not in any pain and we have told so many people our story and how we found your website! Thank you, thank you!!
I remain,
Sincerely yours,
Lisa Franklin

Ted said...

Thank you for posting about this bizarre syndrome. My wife and I are based in Switzerland along a cold freshwater lake were our dog Bruce, a four yr old lab regularly swims. Sure it gets cold but we never allowed him to go for more than a few minutes swim until late spring / early summer.
This year we decided to drive 10 hrs to the North Sea coast of Holland where the beaches are 200 meters of sand between dunes and the breaking waves. The water is cold up here and after a day of running and playing on the beach with many dogs, Bruce simply needed to get wet. A pair of chocolate lab females local to the area were chasing a football in the surf and Bruce headed over to check it out and decided to play along. 20 minutes later we were headed back to the beach house where I showered him with warm water and toweled him off as usual. We all had a nice evening and headed off to bed. Then... the excitement started. It was approx 3am and we were awoken to a loud yelp... something had bitten Bruce hard and he had no idea what was going on. We turned on the lights and he came over for comfort and experienced another sharp pain that made my skin crawl not knowing what was tormenting him. Generally dogs can take a lot more pain than we frail humans are able to so, I was a bit concerned. I put him up on the bed for a full inspection and went from top to bottom nose to tail and discovered that sidewards motion of the upper section of this tail caused him pain. I was able to rule out pain in other body parts within 5 minutes.I came to the conclusion that he broke his tail in this new environment by getting it stuck under something like the door or the bed while he was asleep and then getting up quickly thereby twisting the tail but that was unfounded when we checked the bed and the door and discovered no traces of hair and very little space under each to trap anything more than a few pieces of paper.
We called our Vet in Switzerland... no answer - heck it was 4am! what do you do with a lab that can not wag his tail?
I lay him between us on our bed and applied my hand as some warm energy on his tail while my wife attempted to call other vets.
The next Vet we reached said to visit a local vet and give the dog ibuprofen or another pain killer such as paracetemol or panadol to reduce the pain in the meantime.
Did I mention that it was a Sunday and most people in Holland still believe that one should not work on this sacred day of the week. Personally, I'd rather take Mondays off but that is another story.
So, we went through the phone book and called Vets in towns surrounding Bergen am See going ever further away from the town we were staying in since the vet on 'emergency duty' in Bergen decided not to return any of our 3 calls despite the fact that all of them were left in Dutch rather than English.
We managed to secure an appointment around noon in a town 40 minutes away and tried to keep Bruce as calm as possible until then but this was not an easy task given that he had to pee and poop and we had a feeling that this was not going to be one of those Hallmark moments we all read about.
I carried Bruce down some really steep Dutch stairs, in case you are not familiar with Holland.. the stairs are more like ladders than the ones you see on TV shows like Dallas and you need a good sense of balance to handle them carrying a 39kg dog. When I got outside I put him down and he was still not comfortable having his tail hanging straight down so he tried to move it and once again... lightning struck - he blamed me for that one... on the way to the car he was struck with pain at least 2 more times and I was the only one around that could have bitten him so I was the culprit and among other challenges, faced a 2 day effort to regain his complete trust.
OK, we arrived without issue at the Vet's office some 10hrs after the first yelp and explained the issue and our concerns. We were also able to relay our Vet's suspicions since she is great with researching unknowns like this and had a theory called cold tail syndrome - also known by so many other names found elsewhere on this page... The Vet in Holland called it muscle tension in the tail or tail cramps... whatever.
The solution was simple and I do not recommend it to everyone - especially not some of the loving but stupid people that commented on this page.
That said, the solution was to give Bruce an injection of dexametazone to relieve pressure on the nerves for 24hrs. Plus, give him a pain killer like Rimadyl (Carprofen). NOTE OF EXTREME CAUTION.. Those of you that think you can save a few bucks and not visit a vet can risk killing your dog with the Rimadyl... so do not following these suggestions just note them as something we did that worked, and please consult your vet for the best possible advice for your pooch if you ever experience something similar to cold tail syndrome.
We gave Bruce 1 Rimadyl 12 hrs after his first attack along with the injection and cold tail syndrome was history... We never looked back.
I did a bit of research myself today and found that Rimadyl is not a very safe drug for labs so... we did not administer any more to Bruce and he did not complain at all.
An alternative, also mentioned on this site is an Arnica combination called Trauma and I think, in hindsight... I would immediately use this should Bruce experience such pain again. Hope you enjoyed our story.. I have before and after pics if you'd like to see them - simply contact me on www.boxonline.com/contact-us

Anonymous said...

Same thing here, came home yesterday and noticed my 3 yr old black lab Spencer acting strange and not comfotable, after reading this blog it all drops into place, the day before we had been messing about with a hose pipe in the garden and he got wet with cold water.Just spoke to my vet and he said it is common in labs and to give him 48 hours, if its not better then bring him in, But he advises that drugs are not needed and they dont tend to give any for "limp Tail"

jamielady said...

I am so overjoyed and relieved to have found your site tonight!! Now I can sleep knowing what is wrong with my dog Barkely. Try as I might last night and today I just couldnt figure it out and then did a littie more examination on him and realized it was his tail causing him his pain. I thought it something much more serious but was overwrought as I just dont have the funds to take him to a vet due to recent lay off for my hubby. After reading this I know it is the "cold water tail" as he had a bath late the eve. before and we notice it the next day that something was wrong. he is such a normally happy go lucky dog and to see him in pain and just laying around in discomfort was killing me!
Thank you so very much!!! I am so happy to know he will be alright.
Big Hugs to you!

Brandy said...

Thank you so much for this blog!! My black lab Zoey has played all day with her "cousin" Sosha, a very rambunctious boxer and is apparently suffering from a broken tail. She wags the end of it but doesn't hold it high like normal. She hasn't wined or complained at all but she is holding her tail at a very odd angle. I was all ready thinking that an emergency weekend vet visit wasn't necessary but now I'm reassured that I can give her some human meds and hopefully ease her pain. Thanks again for the info!

Anonymous said...

Wow...I wish I read this blog last night. We are $300.00 poorer because of a visit to the emergency vet. We thought our chocolate lab, Lily, had broken or fractured her tail. We did not know how she did it...since all she was doing was swimming and running around all day. When we took her to the vet, they did do an X - ray - and ....they did not see a fracture or a break. They sent us home with pain meds ... and a lighter pocket.

Again, thanks. I feel better at least "knowing."

Anonymous said...

We just got home from a weekend at the cottage where Grizzly (our Chesapeake Bay Retriever) had a fantastic time playing in the woods, with other dogs, and swimming in the cold water. Back at home we noticed he was very sensitive to being touched near his tail. His tail also just hung and didn't vigorously wag as it usually does when he's happy. Thought I'd need to call the vet (and on a long weekend - ouch) but your site describes Grizzly's symptoms and I feel better letting him rest it out.

SNM said...

Your website was soooo helpful. Like Nutmeg my beagle Vida had a late onset after a day at the lake. I was worried sick, but your blog put me at ease. She defintiely fits the bill. We spent a day at the lake and she did a LOT of swimming. It's been about 30 hours since the onset, her tail is still limp, but her spirits are better. Waiting it out is never easy. But thanks for calming my nerves. Keeping my eyes open for arnica drops.

Lee said...

Thank you so much for this - it saved a trip to the vet.

After I read the information it made total sense. We have a cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks and my 1 year old lab something-or-another mix spent the entire 4th of July swimming in the cove. The swimming is the lab part - for the rest of him we just call him Special Ed.

On Sunday the 5th we thought he had a broken tail but the information here set us straight. A couple of aspirin a day in "cheese, cheese, I love cheese" and my puppy has his wag coming back.


Anonymous said...

A friend(fellow Lab owner) found this and I was happy to hear of the stories. All this time I had lived with the guilt i had done something to harm my black Labs tail last year after taking a dip in the baby pool one hot Summer day. Only 3yrs old at the time,and very active, she didnt really show any symptoms of chronic pain till bedtime where she moaned and groaned all night and switched positions a thousand times.I suffered along with her not knowing how to help her.I had no idea this was caused by the cold water.I didnt make the association. They were playing hard.This past weekend it happened to my Yellow lab. Same exact thing, I thought it was the legs not the tail, Till I stroked his tail and he about went into orbit.I VERY hesitantly gave one rimedyl that night so he could rest and another later the next evening. And all is well, now. But After reading this, No more Rimedyl. And at least now I know of this mysterious condition and can handle it accordingly.

K Hambrick said...

Hi Sunshine! Thanks for such a GREAT website with a wealth of helpful information. You are a girl after my own heart. Your profile sounds like a duplicate of my own, the only difference is, I have a black and a yellow lab. They are 4 years and 16 days old today... Even down to "Fried green tomatoes" one of my favorites, as well. Its uncanny knowing you have So much in common with someone else so far away on opposite coasts. Thank you so much for the Cold Tail blogs and stories, amongst many others.

Love Your Lab said...

I have 2 black labs and have been through this same thing twice this year. We have a swimming pool and it is hard to keep my labs out of it. My one girl "Stormy" always sits on the steps of the pool and soaks for about 5 minutes in the water. My other guy "Sam" just jumps in.. Stormy is the only one who gets the cold tail syndrome. "Sam" is never affected by the water, not sure why. But to let you know that your lab can get it from swimming and sitting in your backyard pool as well. I give her Tramadol (vet prescribed) to relax her and ease the pain. Usually by day 2 she is back to wagging her tail and showing no signs of distress. I saved lots of time and money finding this informative website.
Thanks for sharing..

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

Wow! I cannot tell you how comforting this information was--although as you suggested, we also kept vigilant guard in case Kornflake's dramatic incident wasn't triggered by cold water. But today, he seems almost back to normal.

Kornflake didn't experience the working/swimming reaction, but rather his limp tail (and crying pain if we touched it) came about after he rolled in raccoon doo and we gave him an "emergency" cold water bath outdoors. The soapy bath didn't last long and we dried him immediately (including with a hair dryer), but apparently it was enough to trigger this exact same thing you and other readers described.

Kornflake is somewhat of a "famous literary dog" who will, I am sure, be writing about his incident, and pointing to your WONDERFUL BLOG! Thank you! Although the contest is over, you can read about him at www.kornflaketheliterarydog.blogspot.com.

Peace and grins and THANK YOU and THANK YOU AGAIN!
Charlene Ann Baumbich
Author, Stray Affections (yep, about dogs!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was in tears tonight at the emergency vet as my dog yelped in horrible pain as the vet worked his tail! When I got home, I went straight to the internet with my poor yellow lab, Murray, restless by my feet, and I came across this article! The comments posted here are word for word what happened to Murray. We had an unsually warm November day here in Wisconsin yesterday (72 degrees!), and I took Murray for a walk along Lake Michigan. He chased a few sticks in the water, while attached to his "long" leash I brought along. I am certain this is what has happened to my poor friend! It is reassurring to know his tail is probably not broken, and he should be okay withing 48 hours. Thank you for this article!

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

Something I should have said in my above post about Kornflake, during his cold-water outdoor hose bath to wash off raccoon doo, his tail never even got wet! We only washed his neck and shoulders. So, apparently chilling just the neck area caused the reaction. Again, I am so grateful for your original post, which I found during the hysteria of Kornflake's episode.

August Thumler said...

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful insights concerning the cold water tail.
We took our 3 yr yellow lab swimming and tennis ball playing in lake Michigan yesterday. Of course he had the time of his life.
He didn't show signs discomfort till late that night.
The following day he has been in terrible discomfort and keeps moaning. Protecting his limp hanging tail all the while. And of course this is happening on a Sunday.
Both my wife and I were really freaking out. We almost rushed him to the doggie ER.
I will still take him to the vet first thing in the morning just to be safe.
Its hard to see your best friend in pain. Thx again to all.

"Sunshine" said...

Blessings to all of you amazing dog owners. You are looking for answers and I'm so glad this information is here to help you.

I know it's been ages since I posted, so I'm glad to know the information here is of benefit to those seeking answers.

Here's to happy healthy "fur kids"!!


tbozz said...

I want to thank you for this website!!!!
I actaully live in sunny warm Arizona, but today we had a very cold rain and of course I was not home and the dogs were outside with the garage door open to keep them dry. My lab/chow mix little girl was holding her tail down and she would not sit for her "cookie" treat. Believe me when there is food involved her butt hits the tile real quick, but not today. So I did a google search and lo and behold her are all her symptoms! Thank heavens I found this or I would have been calling in sick tomorrow to take her to the vet. She will still go if she is nto better by Wednesday.
Thank you again and Blessed Be!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight. My lab-shar-pei mix was out playing in the snow (about 15+ inches) and came inside with a limp tail. She has been in a lot of pain all day. Hopefully this will resolve itself within the next few days. :)

Raspberry Rabbit said...

My 3 year old yellow lab has had this about four times in her life. I was terribly concerned the first time. The vet here didn't seem to know of anything "simple" which could cause this and suggested that there were some serious conditions which could underly it. The breeder is a chum of mine and none of my lab's sisters suffer from this. Clio is a water-lover though and this has generally followed a spell spent swimming in cold rivers and oceans here in Scotland. I've never given her aspirin or ibuprofen but shall do that now (she's suffering her 4th bout aa I speak) just to see if it makes her a little more comfortable.

Anonymous said...

So glad to find this website!! I clipped and gave a bath to Rufus, our goldendoodle, on Friday late afternoon. We had heat in the garage and used warm water(it was 20 degrees outside). We towel-dried him as usual and then took him out to pee. We kept him in the house to dry all evening except for potty breaks. He was fine on Sat. a.m. but by afternoon seemed sad and laid around alot especially by the back door. We thought he missed our son who had gone away. Our son came home late Saturday afternoon and Rufus seemed okay again, except he kept laying by the back door as he does when he doesn't feel good. By Sat evening he couldn't lift his tail. It just drooped down. We thought he broke it, but knew of no accident. Sunday - tail is still hanging down, but can wag the lower 1/3 a little. After reading this site, I feel that this could be the Limptail problem that you described. We will keep him quiet and watch carefully. Thanks for your help. I think Rufus will be fine!!

Diana said...

My foxtail lab is suffering her second bout of coldwater tail. I think it's because the snow outside is so deep that her butt is always in it when she relieves herself. She's also been doing a lot of playing in the snow. My vet prescribed tramadol during her last bout, so fortunately we have some left to give her. She had been very restless the past hour and we noticed her tail was limp. She's finally asleep after taking the meds about half an hour ago.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found your site. We had my son's 10th birthday yesterday and our dog ran around for hours playing with about 15 10-year olds. Today he woke up with a sore and limp tail. My daughter thought one of the kids had hurt him. I didn't think so because he was fine last night when we went to bed. I found your site, gave him a children's pain killer. He's feeling better already. I'm hoping it goes away in a day or so.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Veeeeery much! for your blog. I was so concerned about the "Cold water tail" syndrome. I did not know what it was and saw my black lab in pain and hidding his tail. Unfortunately I thought it could be anal problem and lift the tail carefully with my hands (so foolish of me)he cried! so my husband and I got so worried. After reading your blog I understood what happened. Yesterday our weather was over 100 degrees(not normal in San Diego). so Sam (our lab) was so sad and miserable and we decided to take him for a swim to the beach. He loved it! (as u pretty much now)he ran and jumped the waves, etc,(ocean water was cold and nice for a hot day)... then we used more cold water on him to rinse out the sand. He was the happiest dog ever all they yesterday, that even after we've got back home, early evening , he run and play with his toy a lot.
It was this morning that I saw him so sad, with tail in between the legs and low. I will call him and he will just look at me or come walking with head down and tail in. sad eyes. He is in pain!! thank God it is a benign situation. And Sam would be back to himself in a couple of days. Your blog has come in a more than perfect time for us. Thank you again. S and J from San Diego,Ca

Anonymous said...

My husband and I were babysitting our granddog (Dexter) this weekend and after a 3 mile walk, which Dexter thinks is a squirrel hunt I gave him a bath in the driveway with the hose. We live in Texas, but the water from the hose was still pretty cool. After a few hours Dexter's ears were back, his tail was down, he was very whiney and would not sit straight up. He would only barely sit on the the rt or left hip. Normally Dex has his ears up, his tail wagging, sits at attention and very playful. In 3 years we had never seen him this way. He was obviously in alot of pain so we took him to the vet. We thought he had broken his tail or something had bitten his tail. The vet checked him out and found nothing other than tenderness at the top of the tail. He was sent home with pain medicine to help him to be comfortable. We were still puzzled the next morning so my husband googled and found your blog. Dexter had all the symptoms that everyone had talked about. We cannot thank you enough for this information and we plan to share your page with the vet. Thanks a million!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that I found your blog. We have a 3 yr old yellow lab named “Carlie” in Oceanside, NY (Long Island). On a hot August day I decided after playing with "Carlie" that I might as well give her a bath - outside. She really enjoyed it. I dried her off and brought her in for the night. She was fine that evening, she played with her toys and ran around. The next morning I noticed that her tail was hanging straight down. It also appeared to have a slight lump in it. She usually sleeps in my nephew's room. He said that she was restless all night and was crying. I went online and first found an article that said it could be a broken tail. They said that most of the time they have to amputate the broken tail. Needless to say, I was horrified. I could not believe it, so I kept on searching. Finally, I was lucky enough to find this amazing blog of yours.
Thank you so much, for sharing your knowledge and experience with others. I learned so much and am so grateful. It took “Carlie” approx 1 week for her tail to start coming up and to start wagging her tail again. Each day we watched the gradual progression. She did have a lump for at least a full month and was still sore to the touch. But now in Oct she is perfect. I am so glad that I did not waste money at the vet. I can never seem to leave that office without at least a $200.00 charge. I am sure that there would have been x-rays and all sorts of unnecessary tests. Right now money is a little tight and your blog was a real god sent. Thank you again – we have told numerous people about your blog. Keep up the good work.
Diane & Ron Coan

Anonymous said...


Thanks for all the info. We have a Visla who is a farm dog. She loves to roll in dead things....Yes I know its gross. Well yesterday she had to have an emergency bath it wasn't that cold outside around 65. She was fine all evening until bed time. She couldn't get comforatable and just cryed all night. Now she seems sad and won't move her tail at all. She is having trouble sitting down too. This article really made us feel alot better. I'm on my way to the store to get some asprin. Hopefully Ophelia will be running around like she usually does in no time.

Anonymous said...

Just experienced the joy of my 3yo chocolate overcoming her fear of swimming at the beach. Well after returning to the cabin she experienced the dropped tail with pain as others have described. Treated her with low dose aspirin and lots of TLC. This AM she is doing better with rest and more aspirin. Thanks for the info. I was going to dial the vets. Daisy says thanks too!

jeanene.dutt said...

My black lab went swimming for the first time in a warm pool. He was romping around with another black lab and seemed to be perfectly fine until the next day. He yelped and cried out and refused a walk in the morning! He never refuses a walk. We brought him to the vet but they gave him pills for an insect bite. After observing him for a few hours I realized it was his tail. He couldn't sit right and wouldn't wag. And he laid around. My lab doesn't lay around ever. This post makes me feel a bit better. I called the vet and she prescribed some pain meds. This is only day one so I'm praying tomorrow he seems better.

Anonymous said...

Wow 4 years after posting your story it is still bringing information and relief to many. It was 80 degrees yesterday and I set up my Labs pool. She had a ball as usual. It's just a kiddie pool but she lays on her side and swims around it. While it was up I bathed her since she was wet. I usually do it in the shower and will do so from now on! During the night she was restless, up and down and just uncomfortable. We were thinking I didn't rinse her well enough and her doggy shampoo was irritating her. Well in the morning we saw it. The tail was down, broken looking and I told my husband we will have to take her in asap. Before I did that I googled broken tail and found you. Thank you thank you thank you for having this site and leaving up this entry. I have given her aspirin and put a warm washcloth on the affected area. It must have felt good cause she hung out for quite awhile. Thanks for the pain relief says "Velvet" and thanks for the panic relief from us!!!

Anonymous said...

I just want to thank you so much for this information. We had our lab out on the boat yesterday and he swam all day and we taught him how to climb up the ladder to get in the boat. Today he has laid around all day and won't wag his tail. We were so worried,but after reading this we have given him aspirin and he still isn't wagging his tail but is feeling better.

Neko said...

Thank you for putting up this post. Our chocolate Lab Buster just started yelping this morning, and exhibiting the symptoms listed here. He hadn't gone swimming at all but someone had neglected to let him in and he got thoroughly soaked. We've put him in his kennel and made him as comfortable as we can and given him a small dose of aspirin so heres to hoping. My poor guy is miserable.

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you! Years after posting this you are still helping others. My 1 year old lab went for a good swim yesterday in the lake... little chilly as it's October. She LOVED it, but today her tail looked as though it was broken. I panicked, but then googled "lab broken tail" and your site popped up. Thank goodness!

Anonymous said...

This blog is the gift that keeps on giving. I too had a bit of a shock when my black lab's tail was under - totally opposite to how it usually is.
She loves the water so we took her to the beach as we often do & she had a fab time swimming for the ball and surfing back into shore. That night we went out and came home to a very messy house - again very unusual and thought she'd been spooked during the evening. But it now seems she was just in a bit of pain.
We're now on day 2 and she's wagging her tail a bit so hopefully closer to get it getting to attention again.
Such a relief to read this blog & everyone else's experiences.

Pamela said...

Our chocolate lab Meka was away on holiday with my parents and was swimming nonstop in very cold water but she was loving it! When she came home my parents said she had been restless all night and was licking all night.
On having a good look at her I noticed her tail was just hanging and she was in pain when sitting.
I spoke to my parents and they could not think how she had hurt her tail but I posted "dog with a sore tail" and I got this sight.

I spoke to my friend and she said her lab had a sore tail but give it a few days, but being worried I started to look about and as I said found this sight.
Meka is now feeling much better and is now wagging her tail and its lifted up too! We just gave her lots of love and made her comftable. I will now feel ok about using children's aspirin in the future but if you think it's something different go to your vet.

sandy Elkins said...

Wow so glad I found this. I called my vet and she never heard of this. She let me give her pregnisone so I pray this works. She swam in cold pool and then this morning limp tail and she is a Lab.. What wonderful advice so happy for these posts. If it works. This site has just taught a vet something wonderful to help others avoid unessary x-rays..

"Sunshine" said...

I'm so thrilled this blog continues to be a useful source of information for dog, especially labrador, owners. I realized that many links are broken due to changes in other web content, and my lack of time and attention to this blog lately. It has been a while since I have posted any info here but this particular post continues to be a top page. Thank you to everyone who has contributed their stories and information.

Anonymous said...

I've been googling so many things to find something to help me and so far this has been the most helpful. I have a yellow lab that is about 2 years old. He was fine all day playing fetch and running around with my other dog. He ate fine today and drank plenty of water. All of a sudden tonight he has been wining non stop and has been pacing all evening. Then I noticed he's not waging his tail which he ALWAYS does and he's having a hard time sitting down. He will go to sit down but hesitates and then roll straight onto his site. Idk if he is constipated really bad or from what I have read on other websites and here if it could be cool tail or dead tail. I did give him a bath outside today and the water was still pretty cold. There's no lumps and seems to be no swelling. He will let me touch his tail but if I go to lift it a little he pulls away and winces. Can anyone give me some advice. Should I take him to the vet right away or see how he does????