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What is Limber Tail?

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What is Limber Tail?

Limber tail is a disorder that affects the muscles in your dog’s tail. Also known as acute caudal myopathy (and many other names), this condition is commonly found in working or sporting dogs. Limber tail is typically a result of overuse of the tail. This causes a strain or sprain of the muscle groups used for tail wagging. The most common cause of Limber tail in dogs is swimming. The movements involved in swimming puts strain on your dog’s tail muscles which causes it to go limp.

How do Dogs get Limber Tail?

As mentioned above the most common cause of limber tail is swimming. Other than swimming, limber tail is caused from overuse of your dog’s tail to the extent that it becomes strained. These effects are enhanced by cold water. Other common causes of limber tail include:

  • Swimming in cold water
  • If your dog is confined in a small space where he cannot wag his tail
  • Overexertion

Other Names for Limber tail

Limber tail is known by many different names including:

  • Swimmers Tail
  • Acute Caudal Myopathy
  • Cold-water tail
  • Broken wag
  • Limp tail
  • Frozen tail
  • Sprung tail
  • Dead tail
  • Broken tail
  • Rudder tail

How to Spot Limber Tail in Dogs?

Limber tail is generally easy to spot. The most obvious sign of limber tail is that your dog’s tail will become limp and he will be unable to wag or move it as usual. As this condition can be painful, you may notice signs of discomfort from your dog.

Other symptoms of limber tail include:

  • Trouble balancing while walking (dogs tails help them balance)
  • Unable to get comfortable when sitting or lying down
  • Crying or other vocal signs of pain

Is Limber Tail a True Medical Condition?

Yes, limber tail is a true medical condition under the name of Acute Caudal Myopathy. Limber tail was first recorded in veterinary journals in 1997. Because it is a relatively new discovery, not very much is known about the disorder, Because it is a relatively new discovery. What is known is that it is caused by a strain or sprain of the muscle groups used for tail wagging and that it can be painful for your dog.

Other Medical Conditions that Resemble Limber Tail

If you think that your dog might have limber tail and is exhibiting symptoms then it’s good to know other conditions that resemble it. Your dog may have symptoms of limber tail but be suffering from a different more serious condition. Conditions with similar symptoms as limber tail include:

  • Prostatitis
  • Tail fracture
  • Tail cancer
  • Impacted anal glands
  • Intervertebral disc disease

It is always best to seek the advice of a vet to properly diagnose your dog’s symptoms.

How is Limber Tail Diagnosed?

Limber tail syndrome is a common problem for dogs. Even though it’s not dangerous, it can be uncomfortable for your dog and often requires treatment. Luckily, limber tail is easy to diagnose.

Firstly your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of your dog including x-rays, to rule out other causes like fractures and tumors. Your vet will then examine the tail to locate the area of discomfort as well as ruling out any other problems that might explain the symptoms.

How is Limber Tail in Dogs Treated?

It is easy to treat limber tail in dogs. To cure limber tail your dog will need plenty of rest to help him recover from his strained tail. 

If your pet is in pain or discomfort your vet may also prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are specifically for dogs.