Limber Tail: A New Study Investigates Why Dogs' Tails Lose Their Wag

Posted by Tori Holmes

When it comes to determining a dog's mood, nothing is more expressive than a dog's tail. But what if a dog lost their ability to wag it?

A new study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh looks into to a condition called "limber tail" that causes a dog's tail to become limp and painful. This condition is most commonly seen in larger working dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers.

In this study, the team compared 38 dogs with limber tail to 86 with no tail issues. The goal of comparing the two groups was to give researchers more insight into the habits and lifestyle factors that may impact the condition.

Prior to the study, swimming had been thought of as a risk factor for limber tail. However, findings suggest that this is not the case as not all of the affected dogs had been swimming prior to the onset of the symptoms.

What the researchers did determine, however, was that dogs who suffered from limber tail were more likely to be related to one another, suggesting a potential genetic link. Further, dogs that lived in the north were more likely to develop it, which gives way to a potential anecdotal report that it is associated with exposure to the cold.


Using the information learned from this study, researchers hope to conduct further studies that will help identify the gene associated with the disease with the goal of using it to help breeders pick out animals likely to develop the condition.

With many dogs suffering from this condition, we're glad that a step has taken to determining how we can help dogs that may develop it in the future.

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Limber Tail: A New Study Investigates Why Dogs' Tails Lose Their Wag