Tail amputation

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Amanda
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Tail amputation

Postby Amanda » Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:33 pm

Help me problem solve, please! Zeke has happy tail. And boy is he happy. He has split it open repeatedly for the last six months. But we are now in the throes of what appears to be a losing battle. His tail has been open more than healed over the last month. I am experimenting with different tail covers. He will tolerate a Gatorade bottle over the end and secured with vet wrap. The last one I tried he still managed to break it open. He's in a smaller one tonight with holes drilled in it for air flow.

But here is my question: at what point does amputation become justified and beneficial? I can't imagine it feels great to have his tail broken open all the time. It is stressful for him to put on medicated ointments and get the tail cover put on. It is beyond stressful to him to wear a cone. I am tired of wiping down my walls and floors (and Windows and couches and appliances) and having to soak our clothes in Oxyclean. His tail leaves bruises on our legs, too. Anyway, it's certainly not something I would do purely for my convenience, but how many times do I let his tail bust open before it becomes better to amputate? What if it gets infected and we have to amputate more than a typical dock? I am beginning to think tail docking in a breed like this isn't such a bad thing. I was thinking that pairing it with a neuter would be good, but we wouldn't neuter him until he's at least 18 months old (hopefully more like 2 years) and that's at least 6 months from now. (Yes, neutering is a most likely scenario. He's lovely, but with the pano and him being oversized, he's not a show or breeding prospect to me. Some people breed big, but I'd prefer to both stay in standard and deny any chance of this being genetic pano that he could pass on to pups.)

Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks from me and my medical mess.

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby UpwardDog » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:53 am

I don't know enough about it to have any judgement.
I don't think I would be looking to spend more money on vet bills or doing anything else that would cause him significant pain and stress at this time. With the crappy luck you've been having lately, I'd probably be paranoid about complications!
Those long, skinny, whip tails amputated to the 2/3 length because of repeated injury is a LOT more justifiable to me than amputating thick, coated tails right off at the base purely for aesthetics like aussies and rotties.

You mention he is oversized, how big is he now?

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby UpwardDog » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:56 am

I hope you find a good way to protect his tail and that maybe callous develops with age so his tail won't be so easy to open. Poor Zeke and poor you.

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Amanda
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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Amanda » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:37 pm

He has quite a bit of hair loss from this so he has little protection. I am certainly in no rush to either add vet bills or cause him any additional pain. Just trying to talk it out and figure out where the line is between continuing effort to get it to heal and when to throw my hands up and be done with it. I guess we will see.

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby 2dogpack » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:53 pm

I'm not sure what breed he is, and not sure how difficult/painful it would be to dock his tail. You know him best.

Is this something that will stop happening over time? Like I said, not sure what breed he is, but maybe someone with a dog like him could chime in?

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Amanda
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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Amanda » Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:00 pm

He's a wirehaired vizsla. His tail coat is similar to a smooth vizsla though. He's not super wirey.

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Sabine » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:50 pm

We had some tail issues with my Great Dane when he was young, but he eventually outgrew it at around 2 years old. It was not quite as bad as what you are describing with Zeke, but he had his tail bandaged a lot.

We used a combo of quilted horse leg wrap, self-adhesive bandaging, and duct tape to wrap the tail, pulled it forward between the legs, and secured it to a fabric band around the waist.
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Amanda
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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Amanda » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:41 pm

It was really bad this morning. I think the biggest issue is that the dog room/office exits into a slightly narrow corridor and he smacks every single wall on the way out. I can't get him to leave the bottle alone anymore. We got it to scab over with styptic powder this morning. I think I might try the between the legs under belly strap. Not sure how to make it work other than to do that and then make him sleep in a cone. He won't leave it alone if he's alone. And he just gets so darn excited to see us when we come home/downstairs in the morning that he can barely contain himself. Today I had to grab him by the tail and collar and haul him outside before he splattered my whole house. There was a lot of blood this morning. :eek:

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby UpwardDog » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:50 pm

Yuck. He needs a suit with a padded tail cover

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Amanda
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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Amanda » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:34 pm

It is really gross. Tonight I let him out of the crate and took him straight out the back door so he could greet me away from all walls and he still broke it open on my leg. Sigh. Thinking I might take him in for a tech appointment and let them bandage it really well and just make him suffer in the cone. Someone suggested a towel wrap thing around his neck instead of a cone, but I don't think it will work. His tail is about 17" long. Anything but a cone and he can probably reach it.

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby EllaBella » Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:42 am

Yucccck. That is awful. I have no good advice but I hope it heals up. I can't imagine the constant cleanup for you, and it must be uncomfortable for him.

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby MaisyPancakes » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:53 am

Man, this sucks! :( I didn't even know that this was a thing—I had heard of tails spraining and going limp but not breaking open. Is it always just the tip (just the tip! ha! sorry...) in the same place? Is there a consensus about whether it's better to do it after they've grown, or before? Sorry I'm no help! How are his siblings' tails doing? Has anyone else docked their tails?

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:50 pm

Right after a posted that Zeke needs a suit with a tail protector, I saw a picture of my friend's old greyhound in a snow suit with a full tail covering haha

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Amanda
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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Amanda » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:39 pm

We made it a week with no bleeding and he's back to bleeding tonight. The cut is very small. Maybe 1/4cm, but it bleeds all over. He is re-wrapped and in a cone. But he actually figured out how to reach the end of his tail in the cone now. If I did the between the legs thing I wonder if he could still reach it? Ugh. So sick of this!! He is doing well in all other aspects. Had to up his food rations because we are more active again. I would like maybe 3-6 months without a health issue, no matter how minor. I mean, I would like forever without a health issue, but I would take a couple months in a row at this point. This is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but still just a big hassle and no fun for either of us.

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Emily
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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Emily » Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:04 am

Ugh, that's frustrating! Ashley (she used to post here - murphdog) had to have her pittie's tail amputated for similar reasons. She was treating it, but it did end up becoming infected, and amputation was the best option. The dog did fine with the surgery and hasn't had any ill effects from it. But, because Emmie isn't a show or field dog, the length of the tail didn't really matter. We joke she looks like a badly bred Vizsla with a badly docked tail lol

If you can stand it, though, I would wait as long as possible. Since neutering is in your plans, and if you can hold out, that would be the best time to do it - being anesthetized as little as possible is best. Also, that will give you some time to decide if he is going to grow out of it.

I wonder if a pool noodle would work...? lol

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Re: Tail amputation

Postby Moemer » Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:00 pm

Have you tried the little boy underwear to keep his tail down his leg? I can't remember who suggested that or when... Or vet wrap his tail to his leg? (or give it a little 'leash' so it can wag a little and not just pull out of the wrap) Poor guy. You should by stock in stain remover. Have you tried a cut open syringe? It's lighter than the gatorade bottle, I'll bet.
If you have a few more things to ry, I'd diligently try those before amputation. There are a lot of breeds with similar tails who aren't docked who can get through it, and you might have less of a problem as he grows up and has fewer adolescence mood swings. I'd also be concerned about complications, because, well, he's Zeke and if something can go wrong it sure looks like it will :(
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