Hello, Friends! Today I want to share with you something I never heard of until this week. It’s called Limber Tail Syndrome and my poor Lacey girl has a bad case of it….
My husband and I have been super busy the last few weeks getting our younger son moved from New York to Washington, DC. Therefore, we’ve had to leave our dog Lacey behind for hours at a time and once she went to the babysitter overnight. But usually if we are only gone for a few hours, we leave her outside in our backyard.
Before you judge us harshly for leaving her, she does have a large fenced in back yard complete with swimming pool, a covered veranda where she can get out of the rain and lots of shade. Plus we always make sure she has fresh water, plenty of toys and a fresh hoof or bone to keep her occupied. I also have a neighbor or friend check on her and feed her dinner if we are away after 5:00 pm. And I put down fresh beach towels on the Veranda so she can take a nap and dry off after a swim. Not too shabby. Plus Lacey adores being outside. Even when I’m home she barks and wants to go out. (Lacey’s backyard)
Last Wednesday I left her out back for the entire day while I helped my son finish unpacking. (It was a pretty, sunny day.) My friend checked on her and fed her dinner and texted me that she was fine. But when I got home my husband and I noticed that Lacey seemed nervous and restless. We thought she was upset at us for leaving her alone. But the next day we realized that she was having trouble sitting down and was not wagging her tail. The fact she wasn’t wagging her tail was alarming! Normally Lacey struts her gorgeous tail like a peacock and she wasn’t lifting it or wagging it at all.
Because I didn’t realize that Lacey wasn’t wagging her tail until Thursday evening I looked up her symptoms on the internet. I discovered she had what is called “Limber Tail Syndrome” and is most common in Labradors and Golden Retrievers. The technical name is Acute Caudal Myopathy. During the acute stage the tail is limp and hangs down and can be quite painful. The condition is similar to a sprained muscle. It can be caused by over exertion, over training, trauma to the tail, swimming in cold water or being in a crate for too long. None of these things seem to apply to Lacey. She has been swimming since she was a puppy and the pool is like bath water. (and she is NEVER in a crate.) This is how Lacey looked a few days ago. You can tell she wasn’t feeling well. Poor girl!
Just to make sure Lacey was okay I took her to the vet. He examined her tail and hips and found nothing except a red place on the under side of her tail, which he said could have been caused by a sting or bug bite. Luckily our vet is practical when it comes to extraordinary measures to treat his patients. He said he could tell her tail wasn’t broken just by feeling it. (Also he said if it was broken she would have bitten him in the face!) Because Lacey is eating and going potty as usual, he didn’t see any reason to treat her. So, no x-rays or blood work for now. I just need to keep her quiet and she should be back to normal in 7-10 days. I love this girl so much.
Below is a list of breeds that are susceptible to Limber Tail Syndrome. (via Vetary, Inc.)
Because there is no treatment for Limber Tail, we will have to wait it out. I can already tell Lacey is feeling better. Last night after dinner she ran and got her Big Lambchop and played with her for the first time in days. She is starting to raise her tail up higher and is starting to wag her tail again. I’m SOOOOOO relieved. I want my sweet girl back to her spunky, active self! Meanwhile, I”m supposed to make her get plenty of rest which means no swimming or playing frisbee, which is torture for her.
I wanted to share this so people will know what to look for in their dogs. I feel bad I didn’t realize right away what was bothering her. The vet could have given her an anti-imflammatory or some pain killers early on. But we have been pampering her and helping her relax and take it easy until her tail heals completely. We can’t wait until Lacey looks like this and is our happy girl again! (Photo credit: Judy Murphy)
We still aren’t sure what exactly caused Limber Tail Syndrome in Lacey. The vet couldn’t explain it either since we didn’t think there had been any trauma or over exertion. He said many times they don’t know what causes it. (Also make sure young children don’t tug on a dog’s tail as this can cause a sprained tail too.) We think maybe Lacey’s was caused by an insect bite? It doesn’t appear to be a chronic condition so hopefully she won’t ever get it again.
I hope this helps people with active dogs. If your dog seems to be overdoing it, make them rest. Hopefully you can avoid this in your fur baby! Thanks for stopping by. Take care and have a great day! xoxo Dell & Lacey