W e recently had a call from Mr and Mrs T, the owners of Max, an 18 month old Labrador. Max is a typical young Labrador who is full of life and is a very active and happy dog. The problem with this is that he has caused immeasurable damage in the T’s house by wagging his giant tail all day and all night! He is the type of dog whose who body shakes when he wags his big tail.

The reason for the visit was that Mrs T had noticed some blood tinged splashes on the walls after Max had been in with her. They waited a few days but the tail seemed to be getting worse as Max went belting around the front and back yard and up and down the hall. Dr Tash confirmed that Max had a case of what we call ‘happy tail’.

Happy tail occurs when these dogs wag their tails against hard surfaces repeatedly and cause the thin skin over the tip of their tail to become abraded and then bleed.

The tail tip is very vascular and often also has a thin hair coat. If trauma continues a bleeding ulcer may develop and make it vey difficult for healing to occur.


The best treatment for this injury is to immobilise and protect it however this can be very challenging! Quite a lot of bandaging is usually required and sometimes an Elizabethan collar (‘bucket’) will help.  Sometimes the wound will need to be stitched up. Treatment with antibiotics and anti inflammatories is usually required and occasionally the tail tip will need to be amputated if repeated attempts at healing fail.

Luckily for Max the bandage did stay in place for long enough for healing to occur and his tail is now back to normal.

“Max is a typical young Labrador who is full of life and is a very active and happy dog,”

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