Happy Tail Syndrome

Wagging Tail

Dogs use their tails as part of communicating their feelings. Their happy greetings lift our spirits too. Some dogs seem so happy-go-lucky, their tails never stop wagging. But this excitement can lead to injury, sometimes serious, known as Happy Tail Syndrome or Kennel Tail.

A tail that is rapidly wagging can meet a hard enough surface to cause injury. The dangers of such an injury can be profuse bleeding, slow healing, possible infection. Injuries can recur as dogs will continue to wag their tails.

This type of injury should be taken seriously. Often your dog needs to be seen by the veterinarian. The injury needs to be cleaned and properly wrapped. To protect against infection, the wound has to be cleaned along with a change of bandage daily. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics as a precaution to prevent infection from developing. Your vet can instruct you on how to clean the wound and wrap the injury along with the best materials to use. Your dog may have to wear a special collar to prevent him/her from pulling off bandages and causing further problems.

Some injuries are serious enough that they require surgical amputation of part or most of the tail.

Short-haired, large breed dogs and those that wiggle their back ends vigorously are more prone to Happy Tail Syndrome – Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds, Pit Bulls.

You can try to prevent such injuries by making sure when your dog is so excited and his/her tail and back end are moving a mile a minute, that there are no objects in the way. Try not to excite your dog further, especially if you are caught in cramped quarters. Training your dog to sit and/or lie down will have a calming effect as well.

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