Tail Pain: Evidence of IVDD?

ArticleLast Updated January 20122 min read

Caudal intervertebral disk herniation in dogs is uncommon in veterinary literature; reported cases have been S3-Cd1 and Cd1-Cd2 extrusions in miniature dachshund dogs. A survey to members of the American College of Veterinary Radiology identified 4 cases from 1995 to 2010. All of the dogs were 7 years of age at the time of the event and breeds included a beagle, a basset hound, and 2 large mixed-breed dogs. All of the dogs exhibited signs of pain with tail manipulation; 2 dogs had pain on defecation, and 2 had abnormal tail carriage. The onset was reported as acute but at the time of presentation clinical signs had been present from 1 week to 2 years. Limp tail and loss of tail wag were 2 of the most common clinical findings reported just prior to the development of pain. Examination localized the pain to the caudal lumbar, sacral, or caudal vertebral column. Imaging (radiographs and/or MRI) performed on all dogs identified disk herniation at Cd1-Cd2. Causes of tail pain include trauma, neoplasia, inflammation, vascular disease, and caudal intervertebral disk herniation. In hunting dogs (eg, Labrador retriever), coccygeal muscle injury (limber tail syndrome) is another differential diagnosis to consider. Imaging options include radiographs, MRI, and CT.

CommentaryThis article summarizes findings in 4 dogs with coccygeal intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). The findings are important because dogs frequently present on an emergency basis with a chief complaint of tail injury. This is often attributed to trauma and treated with supportive measures (eg, rest, NSAIDs, pain medications).While this remains a reasonable treatment for dogs presenting with abnormal tail carriage, this article points out that IVDD should be considered as a differential and supports recommending caudal spinal radiographs to assess the caudal vertebrae for evidence of IVDD.—Jennifer Ginn, DVM,MS, DACVIM

SourceImaging findings in dogs with caudal intervertebral disc herniation. Lawson CM, Reichle JK,McKlveen T, Smith MO. VET RADIOL ULTRASOUN 52:487- 491, 2011.