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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Bleeding from the end of the tail is a common problem which can be difficult to cure

The tail is well supplied with blood, and if the end of the tail gets injured, or if the skin dries and cracks it can bleed profusely. As they get older Giant breeds of dog such as the Irish Wolfhound  seem to get dry, cracked skin at the end of the tail which periodically bleeds. What is worse, dogs that wag their tail knock their tail tip on walls, furniture and other objects and this keeps opening up the wound. Various techniques can be used to protect the tail tip from this repeated injury including :

  • A tail bandage . These are difficult to apply properly and should only be put on by a veterinarian or experienced veterinary nurse. If they are put on incorrectly they act as a pendulum weight and slide off during tail wagging. If they are put on too tight they can cut off blood supply to the end of the tail. Being soft, bandages do not totally stop injury during tail wagging. 
  • A hard protective cover (eg a plastic tube) can be strapped into place over the end of the tail tip to protect it. Again, this should be done by a veterinarian or veterinary nurse.
  • Sometimes a dog resents the presence of a bandage or plastic cover and will bite it causing more damage to themselves in the process so sedation may be needed. or
  • An elizabethan collar can be worn to prevent self-trauma to the tail tip or cover.
  • Applying cream, emulsion, emolliants or lotions to soften the skin sometimes helps with cracked skin - your veterinarian will advise on the most appropriate product
  • If infection is present your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic

In the worst cases the wound simply will not heal properly and amputation of the tail tip is needed. Unfortunately, this can be frustrating to manage afterwards because the tail tip has to be protected during healing of the surgical wound, otherwise the whole cycle of injury, bleeding, and repeat injury occurs again.


Updated October 2013