Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Tail

Large, strong breed dogs like pits, labs and hounds sometimes get "happy tail" while staying at the shelter. They wag their tails so hard against the walls of the kennel, the tips develop sores which can quickly develop into larger problems. In the past when adoption rates were slow, "happy tail" could lead to amputation but with our higher adoption rates, we haven't had to do that in a long time. The hardest part of treating happy tail is keeping the bandage on so we often use e-collars.

Earlier this fall, we had our first live dog birth since I've been working at the shelter--a really big litter--and we are remembering how much more work a litter of pups can be than kittens. They've been in two different foster homes but had to come back because the last family couldn't keep the mom in the pen with the pups. There's about a week left until they can be separated--they're eating on their own but not completely weaned. This last little bit of time is important to their socialization than their health. She is really sore and deserves a little time to herself. Yesterday, I took our momma dog out for a walk to give her a break from the puppies and it wasn't until it was too late that I realized she had happy tail. I will have a set of scrubs at work from now on to give me an option for changing clothes. The vet was worried about her and her pups pulling the bandage off and I was worried that a regular e-collar would be hard on the puppies. Gambit left my legs bruised and sore when he had his stint with an e-collar. After we got it bandaged, we were able to use a cervical collar that had come on another happy tail dog from one of our other shelters. It wrapped around her neck like a neck brace with straps that wrapped around her body and front legs. So, part of the problem was taken care of and now we'll have to see if the pups leave it alone.

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