Limber tail syndrome

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Limber tail syndrome, or acute caudal myopathy, is a disorder of the muscles in the tail, usually affecting working dogs.[1]

An injury occurring mostly in sporting or working dogs such as English Pointers, English Setters, Foxhounds, Beagles, and Labrador Retrievers. Limber Tail Syndrome is also known as Cold Water Tail, Broken Tail, Dead Tail or Broken Wag.


Signs and symptoms

The injury affects the tail of the dog, causing it to be painful at or near its base. Limber Tail can be recognized by a very flaccid tail, or a tail that is held horizontally for 3 to 4 inches, and then drops vertically.


Limber tail may be caused by lots of swimming in water that is too cold or too warm, or engaging in heavy exercise of some sort (i.e. hunting). Dogs that are under-conditioned to the activity may be more susceptible.


Recommended treatment is rest and sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs. Recovery can take a day to a couple weeks. The symptoms may recur later on.


  1. ^ Alexander De Lahunta, Eric Glass (2008), (3rdpublisher=Elsevier Health Sciences ed.), ISBN 978-0-7216-6706-5 Unknown parameter |unused_data= ignored (help);