“Swimmer’s Tail”

Does your dog love the water? Do they spend the whole weekend swimming with the kids at the cottage? Every once and a while, a dog can develop “swimmers tail,” officially called Acute Caudal Myopathy.
This is a sudden condition, where the tail becomes limp, sore and may have its “wag not work.” Any dog may develop this, but most common in dogs that enjoy playing in the water, working dogs or ones with long, strong muscular tails.

It is thought to arise from restricted blood flow to the muscles of the tail, and at the base of the spine where the tail begins. The most common reason is from cold water swimming or overexertion of the tail muscles being used in the water. However, even a non-swimmer that is a vigorous tail wagger can have this happen. Just too happy!

We don’t want to miss that this limp or sore tail could be something more worrisome such as a break, so you should get it checked out by the veterinarian and may require an x-ray.

If it is the “swimmers tail” however, it should resolve on its own, but if uncomfortable the veterinarian will be able to provide some painkillers or anti-inflammatories to make it feel better.

As this is not too common, it shouldn’t stop you and your dog from getting out there and enjoying the water and the summer sunshine.

Written by Manitou Animal Hospital