Saturday, July 09, 2005

Limber (Flaccid) Tail Syndrome

I can't tell you how glad I am for all the sites out there that provide up-to-date information about Labs and their particular difficulties.

Otherwise I would've been extremely concerned about Ridge.

For two days after our return from the cottage, Ridge couldn't do anything with his tail. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. (See photo above left.)

He couldn't wag it; he couldn't lift it; it just hung there like a limp noodle. Even when he chased our cat down the cellar stairs (photo right; notice contrast between Elsie's tail and Ridge's tail), his tail didn't move. He couldn't move it at all.

Poor boy.

And the base of his tail seemed sensitive to touch.

Thankfully, I'd read some articles in Just Labradors E-zine about Limber Tail Syndrome (otherwise known as "Cold Water Tail" or "Dead Tail" or "Flaccid Tail Syndrome" or "Broken Wag"), something about which I'd never heard before. Because their article peaked my interest, I read about the condition at other sites on-line, too (including the AKC's web site for Labrador Retrievers).

Less than a week after I'd done my on-line reading, we ventured to the cottage where the dogs swam in cool, spring-fed waters daily. The day of our return Ridge's tail was limp.

I knew immediately what it was and knew, based on I what I'd previously read, that Ridge might be uncomfortable for a time (anywhere from two days to two weeks) but that his tail function would return.

His tail is fine now, after only four days.

I'm glad for the Internet. None of my Labrador reference books, including veterinary handbooks, make reference to the condition. I would never have known what was wrong with Ridge but for the information I found on-line.

Thanks, then, to all you who maintain blogs and informational web sites. I've learned much from you. And Baxter, Elsie and Ridge are better for it.

'Til next time,
Joan

104 comments:

Cheryl said...

Hi Joan!! I've posted a good Lab article at my blog today. I've also featured Lab Tails there today too! I hope you don't mind. Have a great day!

Joan said...

Hi Cheryl!

Thanks for the highlight at Richarson's Zoo. :o)

The article about Labs you refer readers to is very interesting and informative. I think the author makes some valid points. I do think, however, that the primary reason for Lab breeds' increase in popularity isn't so much American's larger house sizes or fascination with all things LL Bean as it is the wonderful nature, intelligence, and trainability of the breed. I know, I'm biased, but they're really a terrific breed: versatile and loving.

Thanks again for mentioning Lab Tails.

Jessica said...

Hi Joan,

I found your blog through a google search. I have been frantically researching since my lab's tail went limp on Sunday. I found a lot of information about "limber tail" but took her to the vet just in case. They've put her on some pain killers and anti-imflammatories but I got the feeling they didn't know much about the problem. Can you tell me, did Ridge have a lump or indentation near the base of his tail? My lab, Pokey, has all the symptoms described about limber tail but the only thing that seems a little concerning to me is a bump on the underside of her tail and a slight indentation on the top of her tail that make me concerned about a fracture. We're supposed to go back for x-rays in 3 days if she's not improved. After 1 day she's already improved, but still not 100%. Any insights you could provide would be fantastic! Thanks for the helpful information!

Jessica

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog. I was worried about my labrador-golden mix because she is exhibiting exactly the conditions of flaccid tail. This is the second day - very droopy and painful to the touch at the base. Now I am wondering if I should cancel my vet appointment tomorrow or take her in so they can see a case since so many of the articles I've been reading say vets don't seem to recognize it. She did raise her tail today when she saw my father at the end of the street so maybe we are improving.

Thank you for the education - we've been trying to figure out how she could have possibly broken her tail!

Betsy

Katrina said...

I really appreciate this blog. Last night I noticed that my Chocolate labs tail was hanging limply, almost noodle like...
Anyways, in my searching the web today I found the limp tail site, but didnt associate it with my dog, due to poor description. Thanks so much for making a clear observation, and then saving me a 100$ vet bill!
Thanks a bunch!
Katrina

Joan said...

Hi Katrina,

I'm so glad it helped. The same thing happened to me!

I hope your Chocolate recovers soon (give it up to two weeks).

Blessings,
Joan

Sue said...

My vet said my lab has a case of cold-water tail but I'm not so sure. She jumped in a kiddie pool this weekend and her hind legs immediately gave out. They were twitching and couldn't support her weight. Once she was out of the pool she was fine within several minutes. I went to wash her the next day and her legs gave out again. She coudln't move her rear legs and was in total agony until she dried off. Her tail appears to have been fine...she did have some fleas and was itching alot so she's been really sensitive. Do you think this is a case of cold-water tail? It's so strange this is only happening when she's wet. It's never happened before and she swims often...

Joan said...

Hi Sue,

I don't want to alarm you, but I've never heard of leg involvement
with cold-water tail. You're lab's momentary paralysis sounds more
neurological to me. One of our earlier yellow labs actually herniated a
disc in his spine and couldn't walk at all (could do nothing with his hind
legs or tail), but IV steroids over four days allowed him to recover
(although not completely).

I'd talk to your vet again, or get another vet (or second opinion).
Limber Tail Syndrome (as far as I know) shouldn't affect the legs at
all, but I only know what I've read and experienced. Your Lab's symptoms
sound more neurological or spinal to me (maybe she irritated a disc in
her spine, but not enough to do permanent injury?).

I'm sorry to hear about her troubles! Maybe cold water exacerbates
an existing muscle condition (?). It really is weird that she only
suffers when wet. I'm not a vet, so check with the experts, but I've truly
never heard (or read) of paralysis with Limber Tail Syndrome.

Let me know how it goes!

Thanks,
Joan

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan, I really like your blog. Hope maybe someone has some advice. My yellow lab Duke was showing some signs of pain when he jumped up on a chair or couch (which he's never showed signs of before), I thought maybe he twisted something as he was playing a ton with our other lab Scout. But it lasted a couple days, then suddenly on the third day his tail went completely limp. It doesn't hurt him in anyway nor does it bother him when I poke or stretch his back legs. He wasn't in any water (I read the "limber tial" info), he is set to go to the vet tonight, any thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

-Mike

sarah wood said...

Thank you for the information on Cold Water Tail.

I have a Dalmation bitch who has the same symptons as your Lab, what a relief to find out what it was. This is the 2nd time it has happend This time it was after my husband took her for a very long walk and she played with every dog she met, came back exhausted. I have explained to him that now she is going on 10 she needs to take things a bit slower. She is a bit uncomfortable and I will see how she goes on in the next couple of days as to wheather I take her to the vet. Thanks once again for mentioning Lab Tails, very helpful.

Sarah Wood
West Yorkshire, UK

chloe said...

Joan,

Thanks for the informative article on limber tail syndrome/cold water tail. My darling black lab Pippin had an episode 10 months ago, where her tail went limp and she appeared very subdued, most unlike her bubbly active self. The locum vet at my practice diagnosed "Labrador Tail", which was treated with Rimadyl anti-inflammatory tablets, and it cleared up in 3 days. She had a second droopy tail episode last night, much worse than the first, she came upstairs to wake me up with crying and panting and real difficulty in sitting down. As there hadn't been any apparent pain involved in the last episode I was really panicked, but was reassured to hear in your post and comments that in other labs their tail, or the base of it, does seem to also have been painful and the dog really miserable for a few days too.

It was interesting to read that cold water may trigger it as this episode followed a rare swim in a cold lake and a fairly chilly bath, so I think we may be able to pinpoint poor Pippin's trigger. I look forward to her wag returning, and she is off to the vets today for some more anti-inflammatories. This one had never heard of any droopy tail condition at all - many vets seems to be unaware of the condition, and mention scary things like nerve damage and spinal lesions. It seems like the awareness of this condition needs to be raised, as at first glance it seems so worrying.

It was great to be able to read some shared experiences of this poor little injury, and hope it reassures others who see this presenting itself in their dogs for the first time.

Many thanks for bringing this condition to light!

christi said...

Hi Cheryl,
thanks for the post. We just returned from a weeekend at the lake with my dog Buddy. Since he is such a water dog, he must of spent the first two days in the water, chasing his ball. On Saturday evening, we noticed he wasn't looking so well and his tail hadn't knocked anybody recently. His tail was limp and he was having a hard time sitting down. We were very afraid that he had broken his tail. I took Buddy to the vet today with the information I found on this blog. The vet never heard about this condition before and stated he didn't think his tail was broken as it was still warm. I believe you saved me hundreds of dollars of possible unnecessary x-rays. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys. My Australian Red Heeler couldn't move his tail tonight and basically looks just miserable. It is sagging to one side. I was so worried about him. After frantically searching the 'net I discovered this site, and yes, he had a cold bath yesterday, the first one in about 2 months (I feel bad now, because I couldn't be bothered taking warm water outside).
Is this condition common in other breeds of dogs other than Labs though?
Thanks so much!

John. Perth, Western Australia

Joan said...

Hey, John (in Australia),

I just checked at AKC, and here's what they say about limber tail and breeds: "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." Your red-heeler is like what we call an Australian cattle dog, if I'm not mistaken, and cattle dogs are working dogs. I wouldn't be surprised if your little guy had limber tail, though; it sure sounds like it. I hope he's better by now.

Joan

ilog4u said...

Joan -
We recently purchased a Lab magazine and in it there was an article in there about otherwise known as -
"cold water tail," "limber tail syndrome," "broken tail," "dead tail," "broken wag" etc.
Wow - that was sure a great relief for us as our Chocolate has had that in the past twice now. The first time I had him at the cottage with with a friend and he was playing constantly in the water with another dog -
That night after cleaning up and taking a walk I noticed Cramer's tail hanging at an odd angle - we thought he had jumped off the dock and hurt his tail. His tail was like that for days - he goes to day care and his 'daycare provider' who has had extensive schooling kept saying she was afraid that it was broken/damaged due to the nerve endings in the tail. It did go back to normal but then happened again - he is very active and we have a business where he comes with us and is in the woods running continually. We thought it was a reoccurrence from the cottage. Now we know what it is after reading your blog and several articles. Thanks for your information and the other comments involved!
Kim, Dave & Cramer
Michigan

Anonymous said...

I had no idea about this problem, either! Blair's tail went limp last night. I was so upset, thinking perhaps it was a spinal problem. His tail was no better this morning, and he was visibly uncomfortable.

I googled "limp tail" this morning after not finding anything last night, and saw the AKC sister Lab site explaining "limber tail." The description and pics (from other sites) are dead on. Exactly what my poor guy is having. Since he's very, very fit and trim, and his hips have a perfect bill of health, I'm assuming his freezing cold swim in the lake yesterday brought this on. But try keeping a Lab out of water!

I'm taking him to the vet anyway, just to confirm. And see if they can recommend anything for a speedier recovery, such as some anti-inflammatories.

Blair is my first dog. I've learned so much in my two years with him!

Thanks for your blog! I'm happy there are people out there sharing stories, and helping put each others' minds at ease about this.

Joan said...

Wow! Thank you, all!

Your comments and experiences are so helpful for me and all our LabTail readers.

Limber Tail is indeed a painful, more-common-than-you-think condition that surprisingly few veterinarians know about, so I'm glad we can be here for each other.

Feel free to pass on the info here to anyone else you might think will find it beneficial.

Again, thanks for your comments and participation. You're helping far more people than you realize by your willingness to post about your experiences.

I hope each of your Labs has recovered nicely by now. :o)

Thanks again,
Joan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article on limber tail syndrome. I gave my male lab a bath two days ago, and the water was a little cold. Later that evening, I noticed his tail was limp, and appeared a little swolen at the base. It was tender to the touch and he was in obvious discomfort. About a year ago, he had similar symtoms following a long swim. From everything I have read about limp tail syndrome, recurrence is likely 2/3 of the time, and merely a cold bath can trigger it. Thanks for all the info. By the way, Rosco's tail is already recovering after only two days

Meghan and Charles Swann said...

Let me take a moment to drop my jaw in disbelief! My husband and I noticed our dogs tail limp this evening and both thought it may have been broken but did not know if dogs could break their tail. (She is an American bulldog/Lab mix 50/50 from purebreed dogs) Anyways, yesterday we gave her a bath and last night she started whimpering major time and woke up hubby at 12:30am with her whimpering. He took them outside thinking that was her problem. Nope. And sure enough, before we waste money on a vet bill, THANKS for providing such information!!!! We have NEVER EVER heard of anything like this!!! We've had dogs our whole life and this is just too crazy!! This is both of ours first lab though so I guess you learn something new everyday! We have weird dogs!!! haha!

Joan said...

Meghan and Anonymous,

I'm delighted you've found something helpful here. And I continue to be amazed at how few veterinarians know about this condition. It's apparently VERY common in sporting dogs. But, in all fairness, vets (like people doctors who are family physicians) tend to be generalists. And sporting dogs are only one of many, many species vets need to treat. They can't know about everything. That's why we need to educate ourselves, too!

I suspect by now Rosco and Jill are both recovering nicely! I wish you all well.

And thanks for commenting!

Joan

kirsten said...

Just wanted to let others know that limber tail doesn't just occur in water, it can happen after heavy exertion or a particularly 'exciting' day!

We went up to my mums yesterday to meet her friend's new Springer puppy (12 weeks :)). After a whole day of running and jumping about with him, Honey our lab (who has just turned 1) was holding her tail in a funny way, I've seen it before with our older dog when she's hunting and swimming but i went into panicky mother mode and was about to demand an xray and MRI and all sorts of other completely unnecessary procedures when I found this! thanks so much!

Sarah P said...

Thanks so much for putting this info on your site - my dog has had this all week (after too much excitement last weekend staying with some doggie mates as well as lots of pups!)and I didn't know what was wrong until I google 'dog lost his wag' and found you!
He is nearly ok again now...I put it down to muscle strain from excessive wagging!! He is only just over 1 and very excitable by pups and other friends!
THANKS!!
XX
S

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thank you so much for this page and information!! You have saved me hundreds of dollars and Xrays that are not needed! Bella went swimming in a pond this past weekend and that night I noticed her tail was limp and she was not acting herself. She was licking at her tail and it appeared swollen as well. When I touched it her would try to nip because it hurt her. Anyway, I did a lot of research on the internet and found this! Bella has the same thing. The pond water was cool it is still the end of May. And she also was swimming for a very long time. It has been about two days now and its slowly getting better. Poor girl. I hope she will make a 100% recovery! Vets always try to rip you off and get your money! Thank you again sooo much!!! I hope more people visit this site!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the important information! Our sweet lab started acting "off" yesterday, with his tail hanging at a weird angle. Yes, he had a cold water/hose bath 2 days ago, since it was such a hot day. We thought he would appreciate it! Now we feel guilty.
He seems uncomfortable, and very sensitive about his tail/rear area...biting at it, and not wanting to sit fully. I slept poorly last night, worrying about him, since he is normally such a happy fellow. All the comments I've read this morning, and the pictures on other sites, pinpoint his condition to a tee. I'm going to watch and wait a couple days, and hopefully he will be back to his happy self soon.

Anonymous said...

I have two labrador retrievers and they got a bath a few days ago, and now their tails are hanging down. They can still wag them a little bit but it is hanging down in a awkward bend. Our older dog showed it first but then out younger dog got it too.

Anonymous said...

HI there
Just returned from Prince Edward Island, Canada, 2 weeks at the Beach, Water VERY,VERY cold. My lab's tail was just hanging for the last few days after much swimming , I was going to call the vet for an appointment thinking she'd done something really bad. so I am glad I found your site.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog! I had never heard of this condition prior to my search for "how to know if your dog's tail is broken." The discription fit my dog, Bella, perfectly. We had taken our dogs camping & they did a lot of swimming. That evening, Bella was running around from place to place trying to lay down & she wasn't sitting right. She acted like she was in pain & her tail was limp. She had swelling at the base of her tail, causing an indentation where her back & the base of her tail joined. I thought for sure it was broken. She was also running around like she was trying to have a bowel movement but couldn't. After researching about her symptoms, I found this website & was pretty sure she had Limber Tail but because she had never experienced this before, I still took her to the Vet. My Vet was actually familiar with this and described it as a strain/sprain. Since she couldn't feel an obvious fracture, we felt comfortable giving her anti-inflammatories for a couple of days to see if it improved, and if not, we planned to take X-Rays. Bella showed improvement within 8 hours after taking her first dose! I am very thankful for the information on your websit & have been sharing it with everyone! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I have a two year old lab, Smooch, who has this same problem! Limp tail, kinked to one side, licking, swollen at base, indent where tail and back come together!! I am glad to hear that the problem is probably from her first time in a pool a few days ago. I wish however, that people would tell us the results from thier vet appointments. I too will wait this out like fellow bloggers.

Thanks guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cathe Holden said...

We are so glad that a google search for "dog's tail droop labrador" brought up your blog.

Tonight my husband returned from an overnight duck-hunting trip with our 1 year old black lab showing signs of a broken tail. He said she'd been acting strange upon arriving at their destination the day before after a 3 hour crate ride. He didn't think anything tramatic had happened. But after reading your blog and going to the links you gave, we realized that she had been pheasant hunting the day before this trip and swam in quite cold water. It is all making perfect sense. She is uncomfortable, but we are hopeful that she will recover soon.

I realize this post of yours is many months old, but I wanted you to know how much your research has helped us. Our dog's name is Maggie, and I will return to your blog to post her recovery info.

Thanks again.

PS. On another note, our 9 year old yellow lab developed cancer in a middle toe this summer and had the toe amputated. He took a while to recover but is his old hunting self. We are thrilled to share the good news, as we have heard since of many dogs with toe/cancer issues. I would say he has made a full recovery, with the cancer being caught in time.

Anonymous said...

Our sweet Lab was swimming this weekend and seems to have this same problem as everybody else that has posted. It is hard to see her without that lovable tail wagging high, but good to know with rest she will improve. Thank you for your posts it helps us feel at ease about it!

Amanda said...

As everyone else has said, thank you for posting! Didn't know about this condition, but it is a comfort to see it is a common issue. I was scared it was a bowel problem, but no other signs point to that. She just had a vet check-up today before the "limpness" began. What a sad face my yellow lab has, right now. Perhaps I'm too anthropomorpic, but if only our dogs could talk. Thanks again.

Cathe Holden said...

UPDATE from previous comment:
It's only been a few days and Maggie is wagging like nothing was ever wrong. Very amazing considering it looked as though that tail of hers was completely broken and she was unable to move it at all. You definitely saved us worry and vet bills. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for your post. I gave my dog a bath yesterday, and i noticed about half way through it wasn't particularly warm, so i changed the temp. About an hour after her bath, she went outside with me for a minute (in NH winter!) and at night, I thought she had broken her tail. I had never heard of this problem in labs before (we have 3 others in my family and this has never happened, even when swimming in the lake)

Thanks again for your post, specially the pics. I felt her tail, and it doesnt see to be dislocated at all, but she is in pain. I hope my little chocolate lab Truffles is okay soon!!

Noodle said...

Thanks so much for your informative blog... after a long day of swimming our black lab, Rubi woke up with a limp tail this morning and we also thought it was broken or that she hurt it somehow by jumping into the pool, I am so relieved to have read your blog and the articles you suggested.

I will see how she is doing tomorrow morning and might get some anti-inflammatories for her as our vet is closed on Sundays.
Have a great day..

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I was so worried about our Chocolate Lab last night. We spent the weekend at our lake house, where of course he was playing fetch & swimming the whole time. We even commented that the cold water was not slowing him down!
When we got home last night, he was acting fine and playing, but his tail was not moving at all. Thankfully he does not seem to be in any pain either..After reading your page, I am SO relieved & will just watch him for the next couple of days!
Thank you again for providing this great information & not only saving a trip to the vet but more importantly easing our mind!!

The Hound of Ballogie said...

Thanks for the information on your blog. Our Black Lab, Peg Sue, has had a droop for six days now ( after a busy weekend). We'll keep an eye on her for another week and then off to the vet if no improvement. Ken - Scotland

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the photo of your dogs tail. My poor baby played in a major rain storm for hours, yesterday. The water temp was a bit cold. Symptoms:immediate. Out of now where,her tail hung down and she began to wimper.She fussed to the touch. We gave her a cold bath outside also, not knowing this would make things worse. However, I brought her inside and blew her coat dry on warm. She's a little better today and her tail is sticking out more instead of straight down. Based on your info, I think I'll wait at least another day to take her to the vet. She's a working dog - Belgian sheepdog mix. Her tail looks exactly like your photo. Thank you for helping me relax and not rush her off to the emgerency vet clinic. It's the weekend. To others: I've kept her still and pretty quiet. This seems to have helped. Sally

Debbie said...

Hi, I really appreciate all this information. I have a 1 year old German Pointer mix and we gave him a hose bath yesterday and when I came home last night I noticed something was wrong with his tail. He would not raise it or wag it and when I tried to touch it he would bite at my hands. I have been worried sick all day thinking that maybe someone kicked him while I was gone. After reading this I now know that he has "cold Tail". We have Labs in the family also who have had these symptoms after swimming in the water up at our cabin. Does anyone know what kind of anti-inflammatory medicine that I can give him. I gave him a dose of childrens Motrin today but I am not sure if this is the right thing to do. Any help will be great.

Thanks so much,

Debbie

p.s. my e-mail is devola01@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

Hello Joan-
I have a 12mo. old Yellow Lab. I took him swimming in our lake for 1/2 hour then gave him a bath with medium temperature water yesterday afternoon, then at 4am this morning he was laying on his pillow sleeping next to our bed when he starting yelping for 10 sec. and woke us up, after that he is not as active and he has a limp tail, he does sit on it and does not seem to be in pain when I touch his tail, but he seems to always want to itch his tail like it's bothering him. my question is does it sometimes cause them immediate pain? He was all of a sudden in alot of pain at 4am and very scarred?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this information. Our usually spring-loaded black lab had a droopy tail tonight and sent us into an emotional rollercoaster. After reading your post and the links you provided, it all makes sense (he had a swim session in the bay yesterday!) Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Joan!!
Thank You so much for the info on your web page, today i noticed that my golden year old lab (Max) had a limp tail which was tender to touch and had every thing that was described on your web page he can run about fine and every thing else but i thought he must have dislocated his tail but after i have read your web page you have gave me peace of mind so i hope he will get better soon!!

many Thanks
Tom

Anonymous said...

So many thanks to all who have posted comments on this syndrome. Our 3 yr old lab suddenly last night showed great discomfort in his hind quarters toward the end of his late evening walk. He seemed to want to chew toward the last few inches of his tail and then would hop quickly in a hurried crouched gait as if he had been stung by a bee and noticed then his tail was completely limp. He also went through a posture that looked like he needed to have a bowel movement and then would lay down not wanting to move. After encouraging him home after multiple episodes he laid down and did not want to move. His respiration was rapid and body seemed tense. All this followed a very active day in and out of the pool with lots of swim time and retrieving in and out of the water. After reading these posts we felt it might be limp tail syndrome and gave him a homeopathic remedy orally called Arnica last night and again in the very early morning. He was very still most of the night and though still slow this morning he was not showing any signs of pain but still with his tail drooping.
Again many thanks to the dedicated folks who made the posts and helped us get a good sense of what might be going on.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone - we have a lab/greyhound mix who has had this condition a few times now. she has even gotten it from a bath! so it is not just from swimming....

Also, our vet was unaware of this condition - we found it via the wonderful web and google. Thanks to everyone who posts information for us to find!!! sure was a relief when i saw the postings!

Jennifer said...

Hi! I can't believe I'm commenting on a FOUR YEAR OLD POST, but here goes!

About seven years ago, we found out about cold-water tail / swimmer's tail the hard way ~ after an overnight stay at the emergency vet that resulted in no explanation for Lucy's extreme pain. Her pain abated and we chalked it up to something she ate. (She had so many digestive issues that I didn't even notice her tail. And she was literally SCREAMING in pain. Scary.)

Anyway, the next time we took her swimming, it happened again. This time we turned to the internet and, thank goodness, found information about this condition. So, we started dosing her with bufferin before we took her swimming and that helped a lot.

Fast-forward to today. We now have two labs. I can't remember the last time Lucy swam, and Leo never has. But last night, I noticed that Leo's tail looked JUST like your Ridge's tail in these photos (they're the same color too!). I've been known to over-react when it comes to the health of my dogs, and since we hadn't been swimming, I thought that maybe he broke his tail. (I know, I know...) But he merely seems uncomfortable, not in a lot of pain. I thought I'd check the internet before I made the call to my vet this morning, and first in line of the google search was you.

I am now calm and will watch to make sure Leo's perky tail returns in a few days.

Thank you. Now off to explore the rest of your blog. Isn't the internet awesome?

Anonymous said...

Hi one more letter of gratitude...
having just spent a miserable 160 on having my poor cat put down i was dismayed to see my black lab with a limp tail

my bank balance could not cope with another vet bill

anyway long story short i read your blog and i am now happy that he will recover - secretly he is enjoying all the extra cuddles

thank you for the peace of mind x

barry said...

I stayed up half the night writing a great story about Ruby, my chocolate and her cold water tail episode, what led up to it, what unfortunate expense and mismanagement by the Vets was done, and then what I found out, and research I did thereafter. But, the system kicked me out when I tried to publish it, as it went over/ way, way, over. I don't have time to cut it down to bit sized peices. I'd like to publish it on your blog or set a link to another place for your readers to find it. shall I send it to you, personnaly, via email, and you could do that? Or what?

Let me know what you think.

Barry Cole

a said...

HI! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! I DONT KNOW HOW I FOUND YOU BUT I DID & THIS WAS VERY HELPFULL BECAUSE MY D0G C00KIE [ A G0LDEN RETRIVER ] IS SUFFERING FROM THIS CONDITON AND I WAS SO SCARED BECAUSE SHE WAS CRYING ALL NIGHT LONGG & SHE WOULDNT LET ME TOUCH HER TAIL THE NEXT MORNING. BUT NOW THAT I KN0W THAT SHES 0K I D0NT HAVE T0 WASTE A BUNCH OF MONEY TAKING HER TO A VET. ILL JUST HAVE TO WAIT IT OUT AND SEE IF HER TAIL GOES BACK TO NORMAL. THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU FOR THIS POSTT YOU TOTTALYYYYY ROCKKKKKKKKKKKKK!

Anonymous said...

thanks for all this information.
My bassett hound/lab's tail was hanging limply this morning after playing with 2 neighbor dogs(no crazy or wild playing).I was thinking that it was maybe broken but he can move it a little and it looks allready a little better tonight than this early morning.
I'm so happy about this website to see that this can happen sometimes.He is my 3.dog and I didnt know about this problem.So I hope he will be fast the funny ,crazy friend for long walks .
Thanks to all

Sam said...

thanks for this post my puppy bailey has got the same proble frim bathing him on saturday took him to the vet yesterday and got told it was swimmers tail £50 later hes getting his wagg back poor fella hes on anti inflamation tablets il soon have my slinkey back hes always wagging his tail !!!!

Falling said...

We spent the day with the Dockdogs at the Edmonton Sportsman Show, where our 1.5 year old Yellow Lab had an awesome time. Never got the to jump in, but she swam in the tank many times. The water was quite cold and after a full day of swimming and many hours of heavy duty tail wagging, we came home. That evening she was restless and whining and had a classic limp tail. We finally found this site and now are much happier to know she will be fine. Off to the vet drug store for some proper anti inflammatories and she will be back to her normal self soom

Anonymous said...

Joan,
Thank you so much for all the information about Lab Tails. I was very worried about my chocolate lab who had all the symptoms you described.
With many thanks,
Lucy

Anonymous said...

Hi! I found this when i was reaserching to make sure my lab was okay. I think she has this. her tail is just hanging and she can barely wag it. thanks for the help!

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how thankful I am for this post! I know so many others before have thanked you, but, I can't resist telling you how much this helped me today. Our 2-year-old black lab, Sig, had a very, very crazy day yesterday including swimming in some Alaskan spring run-off "puddles" and was very out of sorts after. He cried most of the night, would not drink his water, could not settle for more than a couple of minutes at a time, and was overall just plain miserable. We were so worried imaging all sorts of awful scenarios. Today we noted his tail not lifting to wag and when he tried it looked just like your "chasing the cat" picture. So happy to know he will feel better soon. Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Redundant I know...but my 1 year old lab just had this happen 2 days ago and I am SO thankful that I need not worry!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info - my lab had this issue over the weekend. I thought she'd done something really naughty the way she was holding her tail nearly between her legs.

I wonder if if the temperature changes cause the doggie equivalent of a long-lasting ice cream headache...

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for this site and for iPhones! Tonka's tail did exactly this at the cottage this weekend and it certainly freaked us out so we googled it right away. You saved us from taking him home right away!

jo said...

5 years ago since you put this info on and you are still helping us out...glad i found you! My chocolate Lab (cadbury) lost his wag, and couldnt sit down, painful to the touch and was quite miserable, this was followed by a day on the beach and him jumping back and forth in the waves with my son, we were away at the time and couldnt get to a vet so i am so gratful for the info you have provided....2 days later he cant stop wagging and hes a happy lab!

Alex W said...

Alex W. (Hunter Valley, Australia)

This site has just turned my tears of sadness into tears of relief. My 2yo Gold Lab Ernie had become very unconfortable in the past two days, and displayed all the signs (swollen tail, indent near spine etc...) of this condition. I self-diagnosed him as having a broken tail, but my husband convinced me to cancel the vet appointment and just watch him for a few days. After reading this site, it just hit me that we gave him a long-awaited bath on the weekend and yes, the water was cold!

I am so thankfull I have found this page, and like most other comments have mentioned, a lot of time and money has been saved. Lets hope my bouncy, wiggly Ernie makes a full recovery.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Thanks so much....my 10 month old chocolate lab Brogan was swimming for a few hours yesterday in a lake. The water wasn't cold but I was nervous that he had gotten a bug or taken in too much dirty water. His symptoms are exactly how you had described. Thanks for saving us the $ and the trip to the vet.

Thanks again,
Mike, Amy, & Brogan

Anonymous said...

Just another of the many comments to say THANK YOU! Our black lab has contracted her second case of flaccid tail just recently. we don't know precisely why, but we have our suspicions. Great that you have this blog to share to the many people who have had similar problems. THANK YOU!
Mike in Spokane

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the postings. We can sleep a little better knowing this seems pretty common. Marley, our chocolate lab, was out doing the weekend swim earlier in the day. He was little excited from all the trick or treaters and was playing with his tail, shortly after it went limp for know reason. It was tender to the touch, but he was still up for a the usual romp and stick fetch this morning, it certainly hasn't effected him physically or mentally. Thanks to all for sharing the stories. Great blog ,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information on Limber Tail Syndrome! My Puggle, Bella, after a long night of trick-or-treating, seems to have developed this and no longer has a "curl"in her tail. If it isn't better in a few days, I am going to take her to the vet.

Ivy said...

Thanks so much for this article and the links to the other articles as well. Just today, my Lab/German shepherd mix show signs of limper tail.

However, no cold water for him. Though he has been spending time outside in the cold weather.

Thanks again!

Jan said...

Dear all
I noticed Zane my golden lab had a limp tail yesterday and wondered if he was feeling under the weather as we all have the flu! However we have also been walking in the snow for the last two weeks and as it thawed they, Buddy is his younger black lab brother went for a paddle in the streams where we walk.
I'm sure he has what you all describe, I'll keep him comfey and see how it oes over thenext few days.
Thanks yo all for your support.
Kind Regards
Jan P

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for these comments. My coonhound Clyde's tail went totally limp after his evening walk during a blizzard. He was sensitive and uncomfortable. You all relieved my anxiety. I suspect that his body was traumatized by the extreme weather conditions and am convinced that he will recover soon.
Any tips for getting him to complete his "business" in two feet of snow? He can't seem to find the right spot.

Thanks again fellow dog lovers

jack said...

I knew nothing about flaccid tail until it happened to our Jack and took him to the vet. He explained it to me and still I wanted to be sure his tail was not broken so they xrayed and it is fine. The vet gave some anti-inflammatory pills for Jack to take for 1 week. We gave him one at 6PM and by 10PM we can see a difference. Im guessing in a couple days he will be back to his old self. Labs are a great breed. Jack is so smart and not even 2 yet. I have taught him to say mama and its great to hear him say it on command.

Emma said...

Thanks so much for ending my early morning panic. I just got up find our Lab Annie not using her tail and was about to call the vet. She had her first hydrotherapy session yesterday so that explains a lot.

Great blog too.

RobertE said...

Both Labs were in 34-36 F water yesterday.
Today one limp tail.
Direct result of the cold water. I'm with them constantly and this could be the only answer.
Thank you for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Our previous Lab would get this occasionally. Vet check revealed nothing. But no signs of obvious pain and it would clear up in a day or two.

We have a new Lab now. Took her to L. Michigan. On the ride home she seemed very distressed, restless. My first suspicion was bloat, as she does seem to swallow alot of water when she swims. Trip to the Emergency Vet. Xrayed for bloat but while waiting for the xrays, the vet came in and asked if we noticed her tail. Yes. Long story short, tails can become sprained too!

So, now when we go to the beach, we restrict the limitless fetching as I believe quick turns in the water put more stress on the tail muscles, since they use it like a rudder.

Anonymous said...

How do Labs use the bathroom when this occurs I've noticed my Lab doesnt even wanna use the bathroom because it hurts to move his tail.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. My dog, Arlo, was swimming in a cold water lake yesterday and took a cold water bath. Within hours, his tail was limp and he was in pain. I took him to the vet and was prescribed pain killers and anti-inflamatories. I feel much better after reading the info on your site.

Thank you.

Brian

Katie @ EyeSpyDIY said...

Thanks so much for posting this! My lab went swimming yesterday in pretty cool water and this morning couldn't wag his tail. Makes me feel so much better to have some insight into what it is, especially since I had never heard of it before.

Chuck Mc said...

Ditto to all the comments....

First swim in the lake, water still a little cool....yadayadayada

sgryba said...

We have two beautiful blackies that we love and I use to hunt waterfowl. They get limp tail when we train at the lake. It seems worse at the beginning of the year when they are not in swimming shape. They do about 20 - 20 meter retrieves and they get the limptail. I also looked at it like a sprain. My male is 3 years old and made "Marly" seem like a princess.
Ate girls panties, thongs, 2x4's, anything plastic, drywall, every plant in my garden: lettuce, tomatoes, swiss chard, corn cobs, and jalapeno peppers. He left the Habanero peppers. He climbs a 6 ft chain link fence. He rolls in fresh cow manure and has visited every neighbour looking for food. Now he only goes to one who thinks he is cute and treats him with dog bones. Nonetheless he is a good dog now

Anonymous said...

woke up this morning with a rather severe hangover while fumbling to make coffee my 15 month old black lab was saying morning let me out as usual but no wagging tail it took me a few minutes to realise it was not my mind playing tricks but it looked broken panic set in got the vet out anti-inflammatery tablets for 2 days then an x-ray ,but then i found this and and i am so relieved thanks
(very good hangover cure)

Anonymous said...

My Black Lab Jack got limp tail the other day. The vet actually diagnosed it over the phone. I had never heard of this nor had Jack ever gotten it in his 7 years of hard swimming, hiking, running, etc. Guess it was just time.

My question is, since the incedent a week ago, Jack is very sensitive on most of his back. That is to say, if you touch or pet him he gets "Puppy leg" (when petting causes their back leg to scratch). Did any of you all find that as a side effect during recovery?

I'm really happy I found this Blog....thank you!

Karen said...

My black lab Bo just had his first attack of limber tail. I was walking him yesterday morning and something freaked him out. He jumped three feet in the air with all four paws and I heard a distinct pop and his tail went limp. He cried when I tried to touch it, so I left it alone for a while. My oldest son took two years of vet tech in school and suggested that he may have cold tail. Bo hasn't had a cold water bath nor has he been swimming in cold water, but he did exert himself physically beyond the normal range of what his activity level would be. He is recovering nicely as I apply warm compresses to the base of his tail,and after 36 hours he is able to sit without obvious distress.

Hollie said...

Thanks so much for posting your experiences and such a detailed account! I took my girl to the beach yesterday for the 4th, and today when I came home for lunch noticed that she didn't greet me with her usual whole body wag. After trying EVERYTHING to get he excited enough to give me a little wag (including running up and down the hall with a strip of real bacon yelling "BACONBACONBACONBACONBACON!!!" at the top of my lungs), she was still just standing there wagless. Clearly happy and alert and excited, but wagless. Then I picked her tail up by the tip and let it go. Flop. Then I started to panic. Hopped on Google, found this post, and started to fret less. When I returned home this evening it looks as though she can move it up and down a bit, about 1/3 of the way down, so it looks like she's getting better already. Still no wagging yet, though.

Anyway, thanks SO much for the info, the calmed nerves, and the emergency vet visit not taken!

Sheena said...

So glad I found this site! Our black lab, Emma, has this problem every time we go to the cabin, and she gets to swim in the ocean. It usually only lasts a couple of days, but we have been going nuts trying to figure out what was going on. Emma usually gets a bit of swelling at the base of her tail with this, and the first time we thought maybe a wasp had stung her. But when it happened the next time we went to the cabin, we were completely baffled. So good to finally know. Thanks again!

Anita said...

Thank you for the information, we have a black lab, delmation, boxer mix, he is only a little over a year old. This morning I noticed he had a swollen tail and was acting different and in some discomfort. We couldn't understand what had happened to him overnight. Thank you soooo much for the information, you saved us 100's of dollars in vet bills, he seems to be feeling better already THANKYOU!

Amy said...

So glad to find this info! We've had a lot of cold, wet rain the last few days. Yesterday I took Lola (our one and a half year golden retriever) out to romp and she went in this huge puddle and got soaked. Not long after, I noticed her tail was limp. Well, I freaked! Called my breeder friend, and she told me about "dead tail" and to look online. Found this blog. So glad to know my very special Lola will be ok and that it's fairly common. Thanks for taking the time to inform all of us!

lolamako said...

Thank you so much for sharing this informaion! My weimaraner pitbull mix had very fast cold water bath yesterday, and today had a limp tail! I would NEVER have connected the two, as he has had maybe two cold water baths in two years(he usually comes in the shower with me, oh the joys of short haired dogs!Well, my German Sheherd makes up for that...)

Since he is quite the WHINEmaraner, I have a jar of Vet's Best Aches & Pains on hand and that seems to help quite a bit.

Again, thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

HI my 1 year old lab played all day yesterday in the cold outside with his brother chocloate labs. When they see each other they rwerstle on top of each other and play fit very rough. But know tonight he is not wagging his tail at all should I be concerned ?
thank you Michelle
michelleghilardi@yahoo.com

Phaedra said...

Thank-you so much for this article!Our Lab went swimming on Sunday in a cold pond, Monday night she had a limp tail, very sensitive and painful. We thought that she had broken it but didn't know of any injury. We did give her a Aspirin to help with the pain. This is good to know it is nothing serious and should improve! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much for this article!Our Lab went swimming on Sunday in a cold pond, Monday night she had a limp tail, very sensitive and painful. We thought that she had broken it but didn't know of any injury. We did give her a Aspirin to help with the pain. This is good to know it is nothing serious and should improve! Thanks again!

Himanshu Puri said...

Thanks alot for this informative blog. I made my dog have bath with cold water because its very hot in india at this part of the year and day after his tail went limp. Earlier I thought that he must have hit his tail hard to something and that its broken, roger was also in alot of pain and was trying to reach to his tail. I just hope he gets fine in a day or two..

Anonymous said...

March 12 2012. Yeah I'm commenting on a blog that's years old but the article and comments nail down perfectly my 2 year old yellow labs condition. Predisposed by genetics to leap endlessly yesterday into a 35F creek and run through the woods searching by smell the elusive tennis ball, tail wagging furiously, it would be shortly after midnight that I heard a painful yip from her, and then she was nuzzling me in bed. Assuming an emergency bathroom break was needed I took her downstairs. On the way down the stairs another painful yip, nothing like I've ever heard from the dog before. She went outside, barked and looked in the window at me like, what did you put me out here for? Back inside, had an appetite for a biscuit. back to bed but heavy panting that went on for hours. Up early in the morning breakfast was consumed, but seemed a bit ginger moving around the yard to relieve herself. The rest of the day the dog stayed on ground floor level, would not go to the top of the stairs where she observes the world and driveway through a window. It was only this afternoon, we noted a bit of swelling at the base of the tail, her attention to that area with her nose, and obvious discomfort when we touched the area. We then noticed wow, no tail wagging, little interest in chasing the ball, (which is her awake time obsession) and of course the tail hanging down, the wonders of google led us to this site. We had a black lab for 9 years same creek and woods and never noted this condition. Thanks for posting this article, my panic level is reduced, we'll just monitor the condition for a few days to see if we need a trip to the vet.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. thank-you for this blog and for all the information. My 6 yr old black lab is feeling uncomfortable but i am now relieved. We will watch him for a couple days and hopefully avoid the vet bill. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

My black lab has been swimming in the same waters for three years and just came down with the same thing after two days of swimming. I thought he had broke his tail somehow and rushed him to a 24 hour emergency vet because he has panting very hard and was in extreme pain and could not sit down. The vet gave him morphine and suggested it may be swimmers tail. I thought he was completely crazy until I googled it on my phone. The vet sent us home with anti inflammatory medications two hundred dollars later. Does anyone know if this will re occur the next time he goes swimming or if its just a hit or miss thing?

Angela said...

JUNE 3rd, 2012 I TOO AM POSTING TO A REALLY OLD BLOG BUT I FELT LIKE MAYBE WE COULD CONTINUE THIS HELPFUL BLOG. MY SHEPHERD/LAB MIX/CAROLINA DOG HAS HAD THIS SEVERAL TIMES. HE IS 6 NOW. I WAS RECENLTY LAID OFF WORK AFTER SEVEN YRS. SO I DONT TAKE CHARLIE TO DAYCARE AS MUCH SO AFTER SEVERAL MONTHS OF NO DAYCARE I TOOK HIM LAST THURSDAY. THEN I TOOK HIM TO A DOG STORE WHERE THEY HAVE A PLACE TO BATHE YOUR DOG YOURSELF AND OK THAT WAS AN EXPERIENCE...I THINK I WASHED CHARLIE, MYSELF AND THE POOR OWNER OF THE PLACE. CHARLIE IS ABOUT 70 lbs AND TALL! SO WATER WAS GOING EVERWHERE. ANYWAY....HE HAD NOT HAD A BATH IN A LONG TIME. NOW TODAY SUNDAY HE HAS FLACID TAIL SYMPTOMS. EVERYTHING WAS FINE UNTIL WE WENT FOR A SHORT WALK IN THE PARK. SO WHILE I REALLY DO THINK HE HAS FLACID TAIL....IM CONFUSED AS TO WHY IT COMES ON SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE BATH WHICH WAS NOT A COLD BATH. IT WAS LUKE WARM. SO MAYBE THE DAYCARE/PLAYCARE AND BATH ON THURSDAY THEN THE WALK TODAY JUST CAUSED THIS. FUNNY THING IS SINCE I HAD NOT GIVEN HIM A BATH IN A LONG TIME HE HAS NOT HAD ANY SYMPTOMS OF THIS. SO IF THE BATH IS THE CULPRIT THEN HOW DO I EVER GIVE HIM A BATH? I MEAN HE HAS HAD BATHS IN THE PAST WITH NO ISSUES. NOW I WILL SAY THIS....IM A HELICOPTER DOG MOM....NO KIDS.......AND IM HYPER AWARE OF THINGS WITH MY DOG SO THERE ARE TIMES THAT I NOTICE THAT HE WILL EHIBIT A TINY SYMPTOM OF FLACID TAIL BY CHEWING IT...NOT LIKE A DOG JUST PLAYING OR FROM A BUG BITE....BUT CHEWING LIKE WTH IS WRONG WITH MY TAIL....SO I THINK THERE MAY BE LEVELS OF THIS FLACID TAIL THING. WHEN HE FIRST HAD A BOUT WITH THIS HE WAS ABOUT TWO. WE LATER DISCOVERED HE HAD A THYROID PROBLEM AND PUT HIM ON MEDS AND THE TAIL CHEWING STOPPED SO WE THOUGHT HEY.........MAYBE IT WAS A THYROID SYMPTOM. WELL NOW I KNOW THAT MAY NOT BE TRUE. I LOVE MY VET AND SHE IS A SMARTY MCSMARTSON BUT I AGREE THAT SHE DID NOT SEEM TO KNOW A LOT ABOUT FLACID TAIL OR MAYBE IT WAS THAT I DID THE INTERNET RESEARCH TO EVEN DISCOVER IT AT ALL. I DO PLAN TO CALL HER TOMORROW FOR SAFETY. IM NOT A VET AND SOMETIMES WE THINK WE KNOW............BUT MORE CAN BE REVEALED. ITS MORE THAN LIKELY FLACID TAIL. HE RECOVERED JUST FINE BEFORE. HIS TAIL WAS PERFECT. THE CURRENT SYMPTOMS ARE SLIGHTLY SWOLLEN AT THE BASE WHERE THE TAIL MEETS THE BACK, DROPPED DOWN, CHEWING AT IT, NOT SITTING COMFOFTABLY, UNCOMFORTABLE, HE CAN WAG IT AROUND BUT ITS LIKE ITS A WEIRD ODD WAG....IT WAGS LIKE HES NOT THE ONE WAGGING IT THEN IT WILL DROP AND HE CHEWS IT. SO THERE AGAIN.....FLACID SEEMS LIKE THEY CANT MOVE IT....MY DOG CAN SOMEWHAT WHICH MAKES ME THINK THERE ARE LEVELS. OK HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE AND IF ANYONE SHOULD HAPPEN UPON THIS OLD BLOG PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR INPUT.

THANKS
ANGELA

Lisa said...

Thankyou ever so much for all this info, my Lab Berty was in great discomfort two nights ago and I was totally baffled and very worried as to what was wrong with him. I searched on google this morning asking why my Labs tail was just hanging down, never had this happen before, and found out all the info about cold water tail, which hit the nail on the head. My son and I had taken Berty on one of our country walks and he was very excided and in and out of the lakes, which being in the uk at this time of year are very cold...but having a very energetic busy time. I feel awful not taking him to the vet, but after the first night the pain seemed to subside and he is playing a per usual with out 4 month old lab Barnaby, the tail is slowly improving and he actually gave quite a high wag when I returned home from work this eve. Had the pain continued I would have taken him to the vet yesterday, but apart from his tail hanging down he seems fine. So thankyou once again for this information, it is greatly received.

Amanda Kennedy said...

09/06/2012 Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your wonderful blog...like most I am googling to find info on Labrador with limp tail...Tara went swimming in the sea first time this year and played for hours at the beach...that evening she kept coming to me and I kept letting her outside, thinking she needed the loo lots after drinking salty water...She could not settle at all moving from room to room, bed to bed, on bed, under bed...I felt so bad she was not feeling well, so I got up to sit with her 2 am...I then noticed her tail was not wagging and started to panic, Tara is one of those wags that knocks everything flying and polishes tables and floors to a shine :) but this tail was wagging no more :( ...I woke everyone in the house as I was crying and terrified she had broke it...then I started googling and found this blog, which reassured me a little...I gave her an anti-inflammatory and pain killer for dogs straight away...next morning I took her to the vet and he did not agree with what I had read on internet, I told him it was not taught in veterinary school and I had read so much about it that night that I was 100% convinced that was what Tara had...4 days have passed and Tara is nearly back to her old self and her tail is up and wagging again...I am still giving her pain killer and will stop tomorrow...
This is a good read http://www.justlabradors.com/forum/lab-chat/113353-cold-tail-article.html

Thank you again,
Amanda & Friends

Amanda Kennedy said...

09/06/2012 Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your wonderful blog...like most I am googling to find info on Labrador with limp tail...Tara went swimming in the sea first time this year and played for hours at the beach...that evening she kept coming to me and I kept letting her outside, thinking she needed the loo lots after drinking salty water...She could not settle at all moving from room to room, bed to bed, on bed, under bed...I felt so bad she was not feeling well, so I got up to sit with her 2 am...I then noticed her tail was not wagging and started to panic, Tara is one of those wags that knocks everything flying and polishes tables and floors to a shine :) but this tail was wagging no more :( ...I woke everyone in the house as I was crying and terrified she had broke it...then I started googling and found this blog, which reassured me a little...I gave her an anti-inflammatory and pain killer for dogs straight away...next morning I took her to the vet and he did not agree with what I had read on internet, I told him it was not taught in veterinary school and I had read so much about it that night that I was 100% convinced that was what Tara had...4 days have passed and Tara is nearly back to her old self and her tail is up and wagging again...I am still giving her pain killer and will stop tomorrow...
This is a good read http://www.justlabradors.com/forum/lab-chat/113353-cold-tail-article.html

Thank you again,
Amanda & Friends

Anonymous said...

Just to add to the Limp Tail issue, my Labs were at a city for a Show and the water in the city was always known to give humans, lets say a case of having to go potty A LOT. Of course I let my Labs drink the water, DUH. Limp tails for both at the shows.
Weird as they hunt in frozen sloughs (Yuk) and have never gotten limp tails!
Anyway watch the water you give your Labs when in a new City.

Leslee said...

Thank you for the information !!
Our 8 year old black lab Newfoundland cross lost her wag after swimming in the glacier fed creek at grandma's house! Plus, lots of running and ball playing!

Last night she was licking alot , couldn't get comfortable and this morning had the droopy tail like in your photos!
This is the first time for this to happen. So glad we found you:-) it has allowed us to stop worrying knowing her wag will be back in shirt order!

Russ Devan said...

Hi Joan, I was doing an internet search for this same problem for our lab and this led me to your blog, and I was surprised to bump into you again. Our lab, Nala, is Pinoit's littermate from 5 years ago. We are currently on vacation in Maine and staying at a lake house near Acadia NP. Nala was swimming with us for a few hours in the lake and was having the time of her life. Even swimming out into the lake to greet passing kayakers and trying to catch up to kids as they kayaked further out into the lake. Unfortunately, afterward she was miserable, was holding her tail completely straight down and would not let anyone touch it. She was panting a lot and stressed as a result and would not lay down and relax. She prefers to stand for most of the time now. We were up half the night trying to get her to relax and figure out the problem. This morning, I did an internet search and was relieved to find that she will heal on her own. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like she will get to enjoy swimming in the lake for the rest of our vacation.

Shiloh said...

Thank you very much for posting this...My Red Fox Lab, Daisy, has had what we have been calling a droopy tail for two days now after swimming in the creek, it was a little chilly, but nothing that she hasn't done a hundred times before. She came out of the water with her tail looking like a cow tail, out a couple of inches and just hanging there limp...She hasn't been her normal goofball self since then, I understand why now...I have been panicking thinking she had some sort of a spinal injury or something. Now I am going to go home give her a puppy aspirin and have some mommy/Daisy time with a heating pad to see if her wagger comes back to life. Thanks again from both Daisy and I!

Anonymous said...

UPDATE FROM ANGELA FROM JUNE 3rd, 2012 POSTING, I DID CONTACT MY VET AND TURNS OUT SHE KNEW ABOUT FLACCID TAIL. INITIALLY WHEN MY DOG FIRST HAD FLACCID TAIL, THE VET AND I DID NOT RELATE HIS SYMPTOMS TO FLACCID TAIL. IT TENDS TO GO AWAY AFTER SEVERAL DAYS. THE VERY FIRST TIME MY DOG HAD IT, HE WOULD CHEW AND CHEW AT HIS TAIL LIKE HE COULD SENSE SOMETHING WAS WRONG SO HIS SYMPTOMS WERE A LITTLE OFF. THE FIRST TIME IT OCCURED, I TOOK HIM TO THE EMERGENCY VET ND THEY THOUGHT IT WAS THAT HE NEEDED HIS ANAL SACS EXPRESSED OR THAT HE WAS STUNG OR BITTEN BY SOMETHING. NEITHER WAS THE CASE. AS TIME HAS PASSED MY DOG HAS EXPERIENCED THIS SEVERAL TIMES. THE LAST BOUT WAS OVER THE SUMMER AND IT WAS AFTER A WARM BATH AND LOTS OF EXERCISE. HE RECOVERED JUST FINE. I DID GIVE HIM A VERY LOW DOSE ASPIRIN, THE 81 MILLIGRAM ONE THAT PEOPLE TAKE TO PREVENT HEART ATTACKS. I DID SO UNDER THE VETS ADVICE. I WOULD NEVER, EVER GIVE MY DOG ASPIRIN WITHOUT THE VETS ADVICE. I GAVE IT TO HIM FOR PAIN, SWELLING BUT MY DOG WEIGHS ABOUT 65 LBS SO ASK YOUR VET ON YOUR DOGS WEIGHT FOR DOSAGE OF ASPIRIN AND NEVER, EVER GIVE TOO MUCH OR A HIGH DOSE ASPIRIN CAUSE IT CAN CAUSE STOMACH BLEEDING!!!!!!!!!!!. IT SEEMED TO HELP. TO ANYONE EXPERIENCING THIS WITH THEIR DOG, TRY TO STAY CALM, THEY PICK UP ON YOUR ENERGY. IF A FEW DAYS GO BY AN IT IS NOT BETTER THEN PLEASE CALL YOUR VET. ALSO, I HAVE READ THAT CRATETING A DOG FOR TOO LONG CAN CAUSE THIS. NOT SURE......I DO NOT CRATE MY DOG. HOPE MY INFO HELPS.
ANGELA

Theresa Lennon said...

Hi!
Thank you for providing a detailed description and pictures of "limber tail". Did you give your dog any medication to help ease the pain or did you just let it heal on its own?

JMH said...

Hey there Joan!

My name is also Joan. Thank you so much for this post! I have never heard of cold water tail. My 3 year old yellow lab, Bella, began having symptoms last night. She decided to plunge into the river on our morning walk. This was 2 mornings ago. It was only 40 degrees out, but it has been in the 30's at night for weeks now. She was having so much fun, and running all around. She then decided to run across the street from the river into a neighbor's pond after a blue heron. I am sure that pond was much colder than the river! I did not think much of it, since we used to live in colorado, and she played in the snow all the time. It just breaks my heart to see her usually happy wagging tail like a limp noodle. When my girl wags, she wags her whole butt and tail. Your post brought me great comfort and education. Thank you so much!

Bella's Mama

JMH said...

Hey there Joan!

My name is also Joan. Thank you so much for your post about cold tail. I have never heard of it before. My 3 year old yellow lab, Bella, now has it.
Two mornings ago, while on our usual morning walk, it was an unusual high tide, and Bella decided to plunge into the river. She was running around like crazy and swimming. She then ran across the street and into a neighbors pond to chase a blue heron. It was only 40 degrees out, and it has been in the 30's at night for weeks on end. I did not think much of it because we used to live in Colorado, and she played and hiked in the snow all the time without incident, but she did not swim in the cold water.
Last night she started having symptoms, and this morning, her tail is limp from the base down. It breaks my heart to see her this way. She is usually a very happy butt/tail wagger. She is eating, drinking, and moving her bowels fine. I will give her extra TLC, rest, and treats. Hopefully, she will be tail/butt waggin again real soon. We will keep you updated. Thank You, Thank You, Thank you!
Bella's Mama

Tammy Raney said...

Please help...we just came home today after being gone all day. My dog Tebo stays home by himself on a regular basis as we work. We came home and he's been whimpering and panting hard as if he's in pain. I noticed that he's hold his tail inward instead of up and wagging. I lifted up on his tailand he really jerked back. I've read most of the articles but I'm still uneasy because this is the first he has acted this way. I hate to see him in pain and this is Sunday the Vet is closed. Is there anything I can do for him tonight and should I take hime to the vet tomorrow. I really don't feel comfortable giving him any human meds as I don't want to make things worse. What should I do?????

Tammy Raney said...

My dog Tebo is acting very strange after we returned home today. As I was looking him over because he acts like he's in a great deal of pain I discovered he was holding his tail very oddly and when I touched the base of his tail he acted like it hurt really bad. I've read most of your post and was wondering if I should take hime to the vet tomorrow or should I let it heal on his own? I'm still not really sure what happen but it's makes me nervous to see hime this way. He is a lab/retriver mix if that makes a difference. Please help!!!!!

Tammy Raney said...

Pleas help my dog is in pain. Something is wrong with his tail. Don't know what happen.