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Question about tail set

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Question about tail set

Post  Imon on 7/4/2012, 8:12 pm

As you know, we lost Otto recently to a genetic spinal issue. He never did have a good, tightly-curled tail set. I recall reading about other pugs with spinal issues who also didn't have a tight tail curl. I'm wondering if the lack of a good tail curl is somehow connected to possible spinal problems.

We might be looking at rescue down the road, so I would like to avoid problems such as Otto had. It is so hard to watch a very-loved pug slowly move toward paralysis with no recourse. Has anyone here ever noticed a connection between the absence of a good tail curl and the presence of spinal problems in pugs they have known?
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  puglover22 on 7/5/2012, 12:00 am

i would probably say that if the tail is down, it could be due to a back issue. It could be a back issue that could be fixed with a chiropractor sometimes, so I don't know if I would not consider a pug who's tail wasn't up. It could also be sadness or depression. When Paddy came to my mom, we didn't think his tail curled.....it took some time, but once he got comfortable and secure his tail curled back up. He also went to the chiropractor for a tune up, but I think his case was emotional.
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Aussie Witch on 7/5/2012, 3:20 am

I don't think it is necessarily so, Linda. Imi has a perfect double-curl and had back issues, as did Puck. LouLou had a looser curl and also had back issues. I think it is just the luck of the draw. The only ways to be sure are through an x-ray which is not practical. I would ask your vet for signs to look for, like a slight arch in the spine which would be a definite sign. Evenso, a completely straight spine doesn't always mean there isn't a problem. Also, doing the "knuckle-under" test on the feet can help too, as can watching their gait to see if there is any "dishing" or "plaiting" as they walk. Not all definite indications, but something to watch out for.

Wish I could give you more to go on!
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Snifter&Toddy on 7/5/2012, 5:23 am

I would be surprised if a looser curl was an indicator of back problems. It is the tendency to curl at all which gives the tendency to back problems, as I understand it, so I would have thought that if there was any indicator from the tail set a tighter curl would be more likely to indicate problems. In practice I doubt that is the case.

I went to a pug breed health seminar recently given by the specialist veterinary referral centre I use. One of the questions that was asked was about HV. The specialist said that screening is all very well, but if you X rayed every pug alive you would find some degree of spinal problem in 90% of them. Not enough to cause issues in many cases. I agree with Rona it is probably just the luck of the draw.
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Imon on 7/5/2012, 7:39 am

Thanks, guys - good to hear your thoughts. It's hard to work with a very small sample, so your experiences will be a big help. Rona, checking the knuckle under is a really good idea - Otto always had a slow response, from the time we first noted his tendency to scuff his front feet. I'll make sure I do that with any future pugs. Even when he was super-happy and relaxed, Otto never had a tight tail curl, but it could very well have been his breeding. His mom had a decent curl, I didn't see his dad when we visited his breeder (who loved her pugs and took good care of them, but I now realize wasn't doing the type of screening that should have been done before breeding based on things she told us.)

If I had known then what I've learned up until now about pugs, I would have asked more questions......but then, I might not have had Otto, and that would have been our very great loss....I wouldn't have missed our time together for the world.
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Cathy on 7/5/2012, 10:14 am

I've only had 2 pugs and don't have any expertise, but Winston had a perfect double curl in his tail and he had syringomyelia, abcesses on his spinal column, which affected his balance and made him "knuckle under" when he walked. To look at him you'd have never known anything was wrong. His tail was almost never down and it never uncurled fully at any time, even when he was in pain from his disease.
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  northernwitch on 7/5/2012, 1:32 pm

Yeah--my experience is much the same. Bob lost his curl over time--but that was mostly arthritis. Tank has a very loosely curled tail and no issues with his back--although has some joint looseness that is likely from the years of pred.

Hazel's tail is both tight and loose depending. You've all seen her tail wagging which resembles a lab tail going in circles, but she carries her tail high and tight. Unless she's feeling oppressed by life--then the tail is down. But her definition of being oppressed is pretty broad. Being asked to sit all the way down can constitute oppression in her books.
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Maryjo on 7/5/2012, 2:49 pm

... And then there is Thelma, whose tail started to stand straight up due to arthritis in the tail and base of the spine:

This pic is from 2008- about a week before she passed away. She was 15.5 yrs young.
Note (that except for the tip) the tail is straight up:



Last edited by Maryjo on 7/5/2012, 2:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Maryjo on 7/5/2012, 2:50 pm

PS: Linda, when the right pug comes along, you'll know it. Tail up, tail down, no matter what, you'll fall in love and that pug will have found its 'forever home'.
hug dog
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Imon on 7/5/2012, 3:01 pm

Thanks for all the info, everyone - I appreciate it.

And, MaryJo, you are absolutely right - but I'd like to know what to look for as early as possible. Don't think it would have helped Otto, because we had it looked at very early, but I'd like to know. I've been looking at some rescue/shelter sites, too, but I still think it's a bit too soon. It wouldn't be fair to bring a new pug in and have it be "not Otto" - it needs to come in when it can be itself and we can love it for the pug it is, not the one that isn't here anymore.

I hope it's not too far away.
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Tail down

Post  pugsrule on 9/29/2012, 3:37 pm

Hi im new here,but wanted to say i have a fawn girl whos tail has always been down.I thought she was depressed,the vet said it could have been broken as a pup or it just might be a lazy tail!It does go up when she gets excited or you pet her etc..no back problems either..she is 7 now and yes she just has a LAZY tail..:)Very Happy
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Re: Question about tail set

Post  Aussie Witch on 9/30/2012, 5:48 am

Hi Pugzrule, welcome to the forum! Would you like to go the whole hog joining in and introduce yourself in a new thread?
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Re: Question about tail set

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