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The Week in Review: Happy Butt (with pics)

Monday, October 01, 2012

Hah! Not the kind of pics you might think. emoticon I'll talk more later about diet and exercise in another blog (all is going pretty well), but wanted to update about what has been consuming my life over the past few months: my dog Dugan's tail.

My dog developed hair loss on the tip of his tail a little over 2 months ago. Then he started to act as though it hurt when he was wagging it. I noticed he started to chew at it, so I put the cone of shame on him, hoping that the issue would resolve. He seemed better after a few days, so I removed the cone. He seemed fine, but then a few days later, I came home to blood spatter on the walls and a wound on the tip of his tail. It looked as though it had been chewed.

I took him to my friend's vet clinic, and the tail was bandaged and he was started on antibiotics and painkillers. We assumed it was happy tail, which dog's can get from whacking their tail to hard. Happy tail is an incredibly frustrating problem to treat. It is difficult to get the tail to heal, and then the problem often recurs. If the tail does not heal, many vets opt to amputate.

We did weekly bandage changes, hoping to see the wound heal. After several weeks, the wound looked no different than it had at first. Dugan also seemed to be in increasing pain. We figured he may actually have nerve damage in the tail. I felt terrible for him. Dugan is the most cheerful dopey dog ever, and he just moped and acted painful, sometimes to the point where he was trembling.

When we saw the wound was not healing, I started looking into my options for amputation. I was hesitant to amputate, partially because I was concerned about creating a new problem with a new wound, and partially because of money. Luckily I have many veterinarian colleagues, so I went to another clinic where the surgery was relatively cheaper, plus they gave me a professional discount. Dugan had his amputation this past Tuesday and of course he charmed everyone at the clinic with his happy-go-lucky grin. He seemed a little painful the next day, but then he really perked up on Thursday. It was actually the first time in a few months that he seemed like himself. I removed the bandage yesterday and everything looks good. Dugan seems oblivious to the fact that he doesn't have a tail. He will need to wear the cone of shame for another couple of weeks to make sure the tail is completely healed, but then I am really hoping that is the end of that.

Dugan with tail, taken a few months ago.

Poor dog...he's been wearing the cone of shame for about 2 months. He actually LIKES it now, guess he's grown accustomed to it.

Dugan 4 days post-amputation. Took this picture yesterday, after removing the bandage.

Close up of "da nub."

I would have never considered cosmetically docking my dog's tail, but it sure is cute when he wiggles his butt now. I am happy to actually see his wiggly self return. He actually seems like he is not in pain for the first time in months. So, I hope this ends this tale of happy tail. Now my dog has happy butt!
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  • PAMELA6289
    Oh, I'm so glad to see that Dugan is doing well! I know how hard it was for you to make that decision, but it seems it was the right one. It's hard to be a dog mommy sometimes!
    1697 days ago
    Ohhhhh puppy!!! I am so sorry that this all happened to you both. But you certainly are a FANTASTIC mom to do everything possible to help him heal before making the decision. And look at that baby! Already healing so quickly.
    When Olive was chewing on her paws (food allergies we think), she had to wear that cone for a bit, and I totally agree, they do get used to it after a bit! Except when she would try to jump on the sofa. Eeks!

    Send us more progress pics. I can't wait to see him smiling away!
    1698 days ago
    Glad to hear he's doing so well. That nub looks awesome - I can't believe there isn't more swelling, the vet did a great job! I'm sure he'll start wagging his whole butt if he doesn't already, now that he doesn't have a long tail to use :-).
    1700 days ago
    Oh, I loved this "tale"!!!
    Poor Duggie! I teared up (his pain), I laughed (da nub), I cheered (he is pain free)!
    And you were such a good Mom!
    May you both continue to be pain free and healthy!
    Love & Hugs,
    Aunt Mary
    1701 days ago
    Poor guy! Glad he is feeling better overall! Thank you for sharing.
    1701 days ago
    Poor Dugan!! I have never heard of it. You certainly did the right thing, You are a fantastic dog mommy!!
    1701 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    I'm glad to hear the surgery went well -- the stub looks great. Sad to hear he was in so much discomfort -- now he can get back to being himself, and enjoying the world.

    Hope you're good, too:)
    1701 days ago
    Poor baby. Tail docking is not something I'm usually on board with. But this seems like it was absolutely the right choice for him!! And he looks good!
    1701 days ago
    poor pooch! cone of shame is never fun.
    1701 days ago
  • APED7969
    Glad Dugan is doing well!! Never fun to see them sad. The stump looks good :-)
    1701 days ago
    poor thing glad he'll be ok
    1701 days ago
    Every. Single. Time. Cone of shame gets me giggling. I'm reading your story all serious and then you write it and I'm grinning ear to ear. I'm hoping the tail saga has come to its end with this amputation and your doggy can wag his butt pain-free por vida!
    1701 days ago
  • ALICIA214

    Never heard it called the cone of shame before, I call it a lampshade. I am happy that your dog's story has a happy ending.{pardon the pun} he looks very cute. emoticon
    1701 days ago
    Great post! Thanks for sharing a good news story. It must have been awful seeing him suffer.

    1701 days ago
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