Fortunately it is easier, quicker, and causes less dirtying of our home if we use the hose. Unfortunately, this means Ransom has to endure some cold baths. We try to plan it on a sunny day that isn’t super cold, but on Saturday it was in the 40s and I felt pretty bad watching his legs quiver while we cleaned him as quickly as possible.
And it is always worth it [to us]. He smells lovely and he is super-soft all over. I can hardly stop touching him when he is clean and pretty. The next day Ransom was extra cuddly and sweet. He kept coming up to me to get petted and loved – which is abnormal. Usually, he finds a comfy place to lay and stays there.
That’s when I noticed that his tail was all wrong. It just hung limp. It didn’t wag. It didn’t have its normal perk. Something was wrong. Was he sick and his tail was showing me that? Or was something wrong with his tail? I tried to think through the past 24 hours to remember if we had shut his tail in a door or something. But we hadn’t. I also noticed that he didn’t want to sit and when I told him to, he tried but, wouldn’t put his bottom all the way to the ground.
It must be the tail.
I started feeling along his tail – which he hates even on a normal day. But at the very base of the tail, it was sensitive to him and he would yelp if I put pressure on it. By now he was using the full forces of his powers through those big brown eyes and especially since he was clean, I was succumbed to his powers and immediately babying him. Rubbing him and accepting licks that I normally do not. He had Hubs under his spell, too and was getting treats that he gets only for going into his kennel.
Hubs did some research and found out that his tail was most likely not broken, but as a result of the cold water bath we forced on him, he had something called “Dead Tail” or “Cold Water Tail.” Sensitivity at the base and a limp tail that is held horizontally for 3-4 inches and then drops are the signs. The tail remains in position even with the dog moves. The best thing to do is leave the tail alone and let the dog rest. Recovery should be complete in 2 weeks, but usually in a couple of days. It is usually associated with hard workouts in under-conditioned dogs, heavy hunting and swimming or bathing in water too cold or too warm.
Ransom’s tail has never been normal. It has a curl at the end and I’ve been grateful because we don’t have to worry about the normal killer-wag from labs. His does a nice soft bounce when he wags and I definitely prefer that over the unnatural hang we have going on now. I feel bad about his tail, but honestly, I don’t think it will stop me from bathing him outside.