Back in mid-December, our rambunctious little pup Zoey got herself into a little problem when her tail broke. We were hiking to get our Christmas tree and I noticed the tip of her tail seemed a bit off to me. There was a small spot of blood on her tail and the tip was not moving when the rest of her tail wagged. I did not know for sure what had happened, so I did not think much of it. Later that night, I gave her a bath and felt what felt like a broken bone in her tail. I never saw much of a cut there but I assume she somehow cut and broke the bone at once since there was a tiny amount of blood.
Both David and I googled “dog broken tail” and learned that there is not much vets can do for broken tails. Most articles we read claimed the best thing to do was to splint the tail with a chopstick and tape. So we did that for a few days. Zoey never seemed in pain, but she did not like us playing with the tail.
After a few days, I realized she smelled and I decided a trip to the vet was in her best interest. Her regular vet was full because the holidays were approaching, so I found one closer to us that could squeeze us in that night. They immediately realized that the smell was due to a cut in her tail being infected. This vet wrapped up her tail and gave us two weeks of antibiotics and pain meds with instructions to bandage her tail regularly.
For two weeks, Zoey was doing great. Her tail stayed wrapped fairly well (in case you have never tried, it is VERY difficult to bandage a tail and to keep it on). David and I became expert tail wrappers when it did come off. When her meds were over, we kept wrapping her tail when we needed to and assumed she would be OK.
About a week after she stopped taking the antibiotics, she regressed. She seemed to be in a lot of pain and constantly tried to get at her tail. I was afraid that she had gotten an internal bone infection or something really scary (which I had been warned from the first vet could potentially happen). We went to our regular vet. She unwrapped Zoey’s tail bandage and her initial reaction was that the skin on the tip of the tail did not look healthy. She was worried that the tip of the tail was compromised (i.e. dead from not enough blood flow) and amputation of the tip might be our best option. Not ideal at all, but at least it would make her feel better.
However, as our wonderful vet was re-wrapping the tail, she noticed that the tip was warm, meaning blood was flowing. If it had been compromised, it would have been cold. So on this Friday night, the vet told me to take her home for the weekend and give her more antibiotics and pain meds with instructions to call on Monday to update her on Zoey’s progress. Well, by Sunday, Zoey was acting like her regular self, so we put off doing anything for two more weeks to see how she did on the meds again. Meanwhile, we were still wrapping her tail
Thursday evening (today), the vet saw Zoey again. After examining her tail, she could tell the fracture had healed. The skin at the tip still looked pretty bad (dry and flaky) so she took Zoey to the back to wash it off to get a better look. Well, it turns out that that skin that had worried us the past two weeks had just been a crust caked on her fur from when it was infected and oozing. Once it was washed it was a nice clean, pink tail.
After 5-6 weeks of dealing with ups and downs, Zoey has been cleared as “healed.” She still has one more day of antibiotics and we hope that an infection will not return (as we suspect happened last time). Her tail is not wrapped anymore and I am hoping that she does not whack it against something and re-hurt it (she has a strong, happy tail wag). So I am still keeping a close eye on her, but things are finally looking good!