Happy (?) Tail!

It happens more often than you might think and when it does it is terrible!  Most of us are familiar with happy tail.  But many new adopters who experience it are at wits end trying to deal with it.  We often bring dogs in from the tracks with happy tail and some of the dogs arriving with this condition take a lot of work and attention to correct.  When the injured tail is wagged, blood can splatter all over and be hard to clean up.

Happy tail is an expression that is used to describe a wound that results when the end of a greyhound’s tail breaks open (mostly from hitting it against something) and bleeds – profusely.  Dogs that are friendly and wag their tail a lot are usually the best candidates for happy tail – thus the name.  However, sometimes a dog can get its tail caught in a door which opens up a wound.  Like a head wound, bleeding can be quite bad because the skin is thinnly stretched over the tip of the tail and the blood vessels are right at the surface.  It doesn’t take much to break the skin open on the end of the tail.  Once this happens, it’s extremely hard to treat because a greyhound’s tail is so skinny and tapers out at the end and constant bumping against nearby surfaces can keep the wound open and bleeding.  Although bandaging the tail is the best approach, once the tail wags again the wrapping can be thrown right off unless it’s wrapped correctly.

Once a dog’s tail breaks open, it can heal if the wrapping is successful and hard surfaces are kept away from the tail, but what often happens is that, once healed, the tail gets wagged and then breaks open again.  This is a vicious cycle that seems to have no end for some dogs.

The only way to treat happy tail for some dogs is to amputate a part of the tail so that it is not so thin at the end.  Usually this is a last-resort kind of treatment but it does happen a lot.

The trick, of course, is to learn how to bandage the tail so that it stays on even if the tail is wagged vigorously.  Some veterinarians are skilled at wrapping a tail but even at that, once the bandage is removed, it’s up to the adopter to keep the tail from hitting hard surfaces again.  It is appropriate to note here, that happy tail can indeed heal and never come back.

We found a very good web site that provides great information for wrapping a happy tail. We are including it here for information.  You may want to bookmark the site in case happy tail invades your house!

Here’s the link


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