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My dog fractured a bone in the lower half of his tail. It is a complete break, displaced. The vets say that there is nothing to do but splint the affected part of the tail and give it time. The rehab vet said that since the splint is very well padded (we used pipe insulation) that he can partake in normal activities including agility assuming that he doesn't seem bothered by the tail. He seems quite comfortable in the splint and is moving his tail normally within the confines of the splint. The show season starts in October and I will need to send non refundable entry fees in September, if he is to compete. He won't be able to compete with the splint.

 

I am wondering if anyone has experience with a fractured tail, if you allowed the dog to partake in normal activities, and how long it took to heal?

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I have no idea about length of healing, but know in general what helps/speeds it. Very gentle massage, Not ON the area, but between the injury and the heart, increases circulation ~ which helps healing. Very mild heat for 10 min. at a time, same thing. Don't know if he'll accept a hot pad, but might be worth a try.

 

What did your vet say?

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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The area is splinted, so no heat pad on the area. He won't accept one anyway. There are 2 vets involved, a general practitioner and a rehab vet. The estimates of healing time range from 1-2 months depending on the vet. The concept of normal activities per the rehab vet who knows the dog really well (and has yet to be wrong about anything) is a bit unsettling, but the area IS really well-padded and immobile...

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I have dealt with dogs that have had some tail injuries when a vet tech in a big practice. Those dogs chewed on their tails after injury was healed and ended up having tail amputated above injury which then created no other problems. One of those I specifically remember was a police officers working partner. His tail was closed in a door, in addition to broken had nerve damage.

Just a heads up if after bandage is removed he will not leave it alone.

How often are you changing splint? Pipe insulation does not breath so moisture can not escape which may cause some complications.

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I usually err on the conservative side if possible. i.e. I would be more cautious than your rehab vet is suggesting. My logic is that it is better to spend an extra week or two "in rehab" and make sure it is healed, than have to deal with a recurring injury.

 

When your regular vet said to "give it time", did she suggest a time period? A week, 3 weeks, 2 months?

 

Having said that, you are about 5 weeks the first week in October. A lot of healing can occur. If the 'splint' is not bothering him, I would leave it on 24/7? for a while, and then start to take if off for short periods to see how things go. Even if he is still wearing the splint occasionally come October, it seems reasonable that you could take the splint off for his runs at the trial.

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The general practitioner vet, who is actually my regular vet's associate, deferred to the rehab vet on exercise including agility. The rehab vet said that we would likely not see fusion of the fragments on an xray after the fracture healed. She said that the best thing was to remove the splint and see if the area still bothered him upon palpation. I will probably take the middle ground and avoid activities in which he could smash it on something or he can slip and fall on top of it, which pretty much leaves jump grids and some slow contact work. After watching him play ball today, that is probably not a good idea now. Its getting cooler here so I can start biking with him again.

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I second the massage suggestion. The trauma from whatever caused him to break his tail could continue to effect his body. Having him sit in front of you, start at the neck and work slowly down his spine with both hands. Pressure isn't important, but focus is. He will probably lay down before you get to his hips. If you can, massage both sides of his tail where it joins his body. Be gentle. If you can get him over one knee it may help.

 

And be careful. BC's are rather reactive to pain!

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