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Water rod in dogs – extremely painful disease

Especially in the summer it often occurs: the water rod in dogs. This is a very little researched disease in dogs, which is very painful. It often occurs when dogs have been swimming a lot. Hence the name. The disease is a paralysis of the tail. Affected dogs can no longer move their tail and are in very severe pain.

Which dogs are affected?

Basically, any four-legged friend can get water rodent disease. More often males are affected than females. It often hits setters, foxhounds, beagles, pointers or retrievers.
The disease usually occurs in summer and many times in dogs that like to swim.

Is it possible to prevent a dog from contracting water rod?

It is said that well-trained dogs are less likely to develop water rod.

Signs of water rod

Very typical is the conspicuous tail posture: affected dogs hold their tail horizontally at the base of the tail and the rest of the tail hangs down limply. Sitting down is very painful for affected quadrupeds. That’s why they usually slide to the side in the seat. Some dogs can barely defecate and urinate because of the severe pain. The base of the tail is very swollen and very sensitive to touch to highly painful. It is said that the pain is comparable to a lumbago.


The cause is not clearly understood. However, the water rod is often associated with heavy loading or swimming in very cold water.
But there are also known cases where a dog has been sitting in a box or in the car for a very long time, with little movement.
So poor circulation could be a cause, or it could be a compression in the tail spine area.

Treatment options

Water rod is mainly treated with anti-inflammatory painkillers. On the one hand, this causes pain relief and also a subsiding of the inflammation.

In addition, heat applications to the tail root and treatment by a physiotherapist help.
With quick and correct treatment, the four-legged friends usually recover quite quickly and without late consequences.

Has your dog ever suffered from a water rod? If so, how did it show up in your quadruped? Feel free to leave me a comment!

All the love, your Tina


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