It’s a Very Sad Tale When A Dog Hurts His Tail

Jasper, Tucker and Lilah sit before going outside.

Three dogs sitting patiently waiting to go outside.

The rules are simple and do not change: all dogs must sit before we go outside. Everyone is leashed, butts planted firmly on the floor, the door is opened, and we all walk outside.

But Jasper wasn’t sitting. The other two dogs and I waited patiently. Jasper looked at Tucker. Lilah. Me. Slowly he lowered his hindquarters, and winced when the sit was complete.

The last time I saw behavior like this was when one of Jasper’s anal sacs was about to rupture. The poor dog was borne with congenitally deformed sacs that kept exploding with terrible abscesses. The sacs were removed (read about his surgery and recovery), and he’s been fine ever since.

With both anal sacs gone, though, what could possibly be paining my pup’s posterior?

I asked Jasper to stand, and very carefully lifted his tail to see what was wrong.

He yelped and I let go, but not before I saw…

…nothing.

What was causing Jasper’s pain in the butt?

By then the Lilah and Tucker were getting antsy. Morning potty times should not be delayed unnecessarily.

Outside, I watched Jasper as he did his business normally. No straining. His deposit looked just fine, though I collected his poo in a separate bag in case it was needed when we went to the vet.

Because by now I knew we were headed there.  Jasper’s tail, which was normally held in a proud banner over his back, was instead pointing straight down.

“What’s the matter with your tail, Jasper?”

A hint of a wag began, and then abruptly stopped.

Somehow, Jasper had broken his wagger.

Jasper and Elsa Clair

Even at rest, Jasper’s tail normally has a slight curl up…

Jasper hurt his tail.

…but now it was pointing straight down.

There are few things sadder than dog that can’t wag his tail

It was the saddest thing. Jasper is a waggy dog. His tail thumps when he’s asleep. He wags and sways and swishes his tail at the slightest provocation.

Pat his head. Wag.

Say, “Jasper.” Wag.

Say “broccoli.” Wag.

Just look at him. Wag.

Breathe. Wag.

And now he couldn’t.

Lilah wishes she could make Jasper's tail feel better.

Even Lilah couldn’t make Jasper feel better.

The tail continues at the vet

A few hours later, Dr. Levinston brushed his fingers lightly over the fur on the top of Jasper’s tail. Then he did the same on the underside of the tail. The dog let out a howl of pain.  The vet had seen no open wounds and obvious injuries. Exam over.

No. Jasper did not get his tail caught in a door. No, nobody remembers him smacking it against anything unusual. He just woke up with a sad tail.

Dr. Levinston sent us home with anti inflammatories and pain pills. And this bit of advice: “Try to keep him from wagging.”

Right. Try to keep Mr. Waggy McWagster from using his tail?

Now the sad tale was even sadder. I comforted Jasper as best I could, and gave him his pills covered in peanut butter. And for the next week, I had to refrain from all the wag-worthy things a pet parent does.

Jasper hurt his tail

Sad Jasper

No ear ruffles. No exciting walks. No “Who’s a good doggy?” or “Want to go outside?” or “Let’s play!”

I had to turn it down to low for the other dogs too, because Jasper would wag when anyone was getting attention or having fun.

Over the course of that year-long week, Jasper’s hang-straight-down tail slowly crept up.

Jasper's tail is getting better.

Jasper’s tail at half mast; he’s getting better and could manage a slow wag.

Today, Jasper’s waggy colors are flying true. He has his wag back.

Jasper's tale has a happy ending.

This tail has a happy ending.

I think we’re all much happier now.

Have you ever had to hold back the fun to help your pet recover? How did you (or would you) manage?

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40 Comments on "It’s a Very Sad Tale When A Dog Hurts His Tail"

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  1. So glad Jasper got his wag back!

  2. Earl Lover says:

    Tail booboos? Oh no, this means wagging is hard, and no wagging is sad indeed. But we’re so glad Jasper has got his wag again!

    sumskersandearlskers13.blogspot.com

    • Thanks. Jasper is glad, too. As are the rest of us. (Though maybe not the cats.) Every time Jasper wanted to express his happiness (which is Very Often) he had to stop because it hurt.

  3. easy rider says:

    Jasper I’m so glad your wagger is on the way to recovery… it’s not easy to avoid wagg-worthy moments… that’s true. I once hurt my tail because of my excessive wagging too, my wagger landed on a sharp edge of the old wheelbarrow… I hope it goes better efurryday a little bit and you can wagg with joy soon.
    easy rider

  4. Robin says:

    I’m so glad that Jasper got his wag back! What a weird thing to have happened. I would have been every bit as perplexed as I’m sure you were. How exactly does one get a tail infection with no puncture? I guess Jasper is a one of a kind sort of guy. 🙂

    • The vet thought it might have been a pull or a sprain of some kind. It’s possible he bruised something, but it wasn’t worth an x-ray to figure it out completely because the treatment would have been the same as long as there was no open wound: anti-imflammatories and pain meds. And quiet.

  5. Emma says:

    I’ve had an injured tail which was bad enough. I hope to never break my tail. That would be just the worst.

  6. That is such a sad tail. I’m so happy that he is wagging again. ☺

  7. I am so glad glad he is back to waggin’. What a strange thing to happen.

    • Exactly. Very weird. And very sad. The only human thing I can compare it to is if you’ve ever broken your ribs and can’t laugh ’cause it hurts. But a wag is a smile, too, so it must be hard for a dog to not be able to express himself.

  8. Elaine says:

    Poor Jasper! I agree that a week of being really low-key to avoid wagging would feel like year. I wonder what happened to cause the injury. I’m glad the anti-inflammatory medicine worked though and Jasper has his happy, waggin’ attitude again. 🙂

    • My guess is he slammed it against something when one of the humans wasn’t around. Maybe when a car pulled in the driveway and he was happy someone was home…we’ll never know for sure. But we’re real glad he’s wagging again.

  9. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    dood….ow…yur storee made R tailz hurt…..we iz buzzed happee yur feelin better tho & we noe yur tailz a happee thiz tale hada happee ending…..may bee ya had a spiderz bite or sum thin that made yur furz hurt….may bee…..will ask R pal St Francis ta send sum blessings yur way just in case…oh kay ♥♥♥

  10. Oh gosh, this really is a sad tail, I mean tale. Our cat once broke the tip of her tail and had to wear a two inch bandage at the tip. She was quite a dramatic cat and pre-injury liked to swish her tail back and forth gracefully. While recovering from her injury and wearing the bandage, she wasn’t so graceful. When she would try and swish her lovely tail back and forth, it would fall to the ground (because of the extra weight of the bandage) and make a thud noise. Fortunately, she recovered in a few weeks and returned to her graceful ways.

  11. Poor thing, did the vet ever say what it was? really unusual don’t you think? But it doesn’t matter if Jasper’s tail is once again back to swinging wagging and a swaying. Glad he’s on the mend.

    • The funny thing is, I Googled “my dog’s tail is hanging down.” Apparently a sprain, strain, break or any kind of tail injury will result in that straight-down tail. Who knew? I’m just happy to see it up and wagging again.

  12. Ellen Pilch says:

    I am glad Jasper is feeling better- I wonder what made his tail hurt.

    • Thank you. I wish we knew, too. Then we could try and prevent a next time. My guess is he just wagged it hard and knocked it against something but no humans were there to witness it. And the next day (it always hurts worse the next day) he was really sore.

  13. Poor Jasper. Glad he’s feeling better! Mr. N gets sad tail too but it’s more temporary for things like fireworks and staying home alone.

    • Thank you. The thing is, I’ve seen sad tail and scared tail: those tend to tuck under the dog’s body. But this was straight down. As in: something is definitely not right. And poor Mr. N doesn’t like fireworks I take it. At least that’s a temporary thing, but I can imagine it’s awful for him.

  14. Poor Jasper ! It looks like he’s very talkative with his tail, and we’re glad he’s feeling better and able to wag again. Purrs

    • Yes, Jasper likes to talk with his tail — a lot! And he’s always happy. That’s what made it so sad. He couldn’t say how happy he was, which just made him sad. So glad he’s wagging again.

  15. Aw, poor Jasper. But we’re glad to hear he’s got his wag back!

  16. Aw, I’m glad he can wag again! How strange – I wonder why he had such a miserable tail there for a while?! And the doctor’s advice made me LOL – “Try to keep him from wagging.” Easier said than done, I’m sure!

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog post today – it was so appreciated. I am, slowly but surely, getting MY “wag back”. 😉

  17. Daisy says:

    Ouch! Sorry to hear about poor Jasper’s tail pain, I wonder what caused it? We had to keep Daisy still after her ACL tear surgery, which was easy at first since she was in so much pain, but once the tough part was over, she was ready to bolt but still needed to be kept still for a couple more weeks…which felt like forever. We entertained her with a lot of couch time and cuddles, but it was still difficult. Glad Jasper’s doing so much better!

  18. MyDogLikes says:

    Awww, poor Jasper! It must have been tough to not be able to get excited like you want to to get them all riled up! Glad he is feeling better! 🙂

  19. Rebekah says:

    So glad his wag is back!

  20. Ruby says:

    HOLY COW PATTIES! That sure was a sad story…with a happy ENDING!!! BOL!!! ending…see how I ….nevermind….
    Anyhu, SO happy you gots your WAG back Jasper!!! Wowsa, I can’t imagine breakin’ my wagger! Though, we terriers have re-enforced waggers ~ we are breed to be able to have peeps pull us outta holes (yeah, like ‘I’ would EVER dig a hole…hehehe) by our tails..hence, the re-enforcements ☺
    I am so glads you got your WAGGER UP (BOL!!!! OMD! I can’t stop….sorry…)
    Healin’ vibes comin’ your way!!! And, tell your Moms I’m sorry for all the jokes…really, I can’t help it…☺
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

  21. De Hufford says:

    Poor Jasper. We’re glad your tail is better.

  22. Rama's Mama says:

    Oh bless his heart! Poor guy lost his wag for a while! 🙁 What a happy sight it must have been for you to notice that tail slowly getting its wag back! 🙂

  23. Yay! I’m glad Jasper got his wag back! I just love a dog who wags their tail at almost anything, it’s very cute! That year – long week would have killed me! I’m so glad Jasper’s okay and can now wag his tail again! Did you ever find out the specific cause of why it hurt Jasper to wag his tail?

    Just discovered your blog 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing more about you, your dogs and cats!

  24. meowmeowmans says:

    Poor Jasper! We are so sorry he had to go through that, but are happy he’s got his wag back now. 🙂

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