Category Archives: happy tail syndrome

What is Happy Tail Syndrome in Dogs?

By Linda Cole

You know when your dog is happy by the way he excitedly wags his tail. For some dogs, all you have to do to get their tails whipping back and forth is to look at them. My dogs wag their tail a mile a minute when I talk to them and when we’re playing. A dog’s tail is one way they communicate with us. You wouldn’t think a happy, excited tail could be a problem for your dog, but it can. A medical condition called Happy Tail syndrome can cause serious injury to your dog’s tail.

What is Happy Tail Syndrome?

When a dog is excited and wags his tail rapidly, like most dogs are prone to do when happy, they can injure their tail knocking it against a hard surface like a table leg or wall. Happy tail syndrome is also known as kennel tail, splitting tail and bleeding tail. A dog can whack his tail hard enough on a hard surface that it causes a small cut or split on the tip of his tail. The cut tends to bleed a lot and as he continues to wag his tail, blood is splattered around the area.

It may not sound like a serious condition, but because it’s on the tip of his tail, it doesn’t heal fast, it can be hard to stop the bleeding, and it can be recurring if the dog wags his tail against a hard surface. Infection is a concern; antibiotics should be given to help prevent infection, and pain medication may need to be prescribed. In a worst case scenario, a portion of the tail may be amputated.

Treatment can be difficult because the tail needs to be bandaged to protect it from further damage, and it’s hard to keep a tail bandaged. You should consult a vet for proper instructions on how to wrap a dog’s tail and determine if he needs any medications. It’s important to keep the injury clean. Never use duct tape to wrap your dog’s tail. The material doesn’t stretch, and no air can move through it. You want a breathable, flexible type of bandage that protects the tip of the tail. Because infection can occur, the bandage needs to be changed every day and the wound inspected.

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