How Florence has Recovered from her Tail Amputation Operation

How Florence has Recovered from her Tail Amputation Operation

I updated you a little while ago on our decision to amputate Florence’s tail. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was one the vet and my husband and I thought was the right one.

The day she went in for the operation my husband took her in and had a chat with the vet about how far up to amputate the tail. The further you go up, the more complicated the operation is, as the more nerves there are in the tail. But at the same time, too short and she might be open to injury and not healing properly. In the end, it was agreed to remove about half of her tail.

When she came home, she was inevitably very sore. Needed a lot of painkillers and was unsteady on her feet because of the anaesthetic. The first few days were easy enough, she was subdued and sore. But we learnt the hard way never to underestimate the intelligence of a Ridgeback. It barely took any time for her to work out how to get her collar and cone off. We tried more than one cone, but she managed to get them both off. She isn’t left at home alone very much because I work from home, so she didn’t have a lot of time to do a huge amount of damage. Then one night she got the cone off and did an awful lot of damage. She got her cone off, her bandage off and tore out all of her stitches, she made a real mess of herself.

A call to the vet later, and unfortunately she had to go back in for surgery to be re-stitched. Her tail was very swollen because of the damage she did to it. We were quite worried though about the aftercare – how were we going to stop her getting the cone off and doing the same thing again? After some internet research, asking if people had experienced similar problems in a pet group and another big chat with our vet we decided to attach the cone to a body harness rather than a collar and keep her sedated for the weekend. She was put on a strong dose of Tramadol, which we slowly reduced over a few days.

For the most part, the harness did its job, to keep her from getting too bored on the advice of the vet we put her back onto gentle exercise. She hated the cone with a passion – I think most dogs do. We tried some evenings taking it off to give her some relief, but as soon as either my husband or I were distracted even for a moment, she was back trying to get at her tail. So we decided we just couldn’t risk it.

Unfortunately with just 4 days until she was due to have her stitches removed Florence being far too clever a dog worked out how to loosen her harness, get one leg out and then get the harness and cone off. The first time she did it while I was doing the school run she went at her tail again. After texting several photos across to the vets I was just advised to clean the wound with cooled, boiled salt water and luckily she hadn’t got any of the stitches out.

I have to admit it was a nerve-wracking 4 days, if she got the stitches out and needed surgery again I was really concerned how we were ever going to stop her getting to the wound again. She did get her cone off every day, but luckily she managed to not do too much damage. I think it was to do with the fact she has given ‘proper’ stitches rather than dissolvable ones in her second surgery which made it harder for her to get them out.

We limped it through to the Friday, where finally she was well enough to have them out. I’ve never seen a dog so happy than when she came home from that vets. No cone, stitches out, tail healed. I also have some hope that our furniture and walls recover from living with the cone for some weeks – let’s just say I’m glad we haven’t started decorating yet! It’s also lovely to get our happy Florence back.

8 thoughts on “How Florence has Recovered from her Tail Amputation Operation”

  1. Aww I’m so glad she’s ok now. I’m sorry I never thought to mention what my husband did when our dog had her tail amputated. We had the same problem with the cone and a very intelligent dog. Luckily the vet was more intelligent than the dog and came up with the solution of using a bucket instead of a cone. With it being less flexible it worked a dream but the poor dog was forever remembered as the dog with a bucket on her head! It’s a tough time when they’ve had surgery, I’m so glad Florence is recovered in time to enjoy Christmas with you all.

  2. My dog just had a partial tail amputation and she is miserable she is eating and drinking water and taking pain pills and antibiotics she’s walking funny because of the dr says 6 more days till the stitches can come out 😢

  3. Charlie, our 11 month old English sheepdog had half his tail removed having split the end wagging too hard against the walls.unfortunately he was able to remove the dressing several times and the wound is now open, back to the vets with a dressing on it wrapped around a mesh. So original operation 7 days ago, back after 5 days with mesh dressing hoping it will heal on its own. Back 2 days later for a clean up and re dressed. Vet says it was a bit smelly but hoping it won’t require corrective surgery. He is now in collar and unable to get to the wound back to vet in 5 days. Not hopeful

  4. This is been very encouraging to read. Our foster to adopt Great Dane had severe happy tail for almost 2 months, which got extremely infected and ultimately had to be amputated yesterday. We are so incredibly sad, but hopeful that he, too, will recover nicely and live the happy, pain-free life he deserves. Thank you for sharing your story!

  5. We are currently going through the fact of cones and an inflatable cone/collar as my service dog started out with happy tail and then started pulling the fur then broke the end completely off do to hitting who knows what with his tail then he got to the point of chewing his tail and chewed his tail physically off it’s all the way up to the vertibrays. Vet says it has to be amputated and as much as I hate to do it to him it has to be done because the end won’t close or heal so amputating it is the only solution left. Been trying to research the healing part of after the surgery besides everything I know the vet will tell me on how to take care of it. But my big boy lets us know he hates the cone because he will sling his head make sure the cone catches it then sling his head again to basically throw/knock off anything and everything to express how mad he is about wearing it but without it he wants to keep biting at what is left of his tail currently.

    • How is he doing now?
      Our 6 year old Cocker spaniel is having his tail amputated next week 😭
      We, and the vets have tried everything to save it but it’s no longer an option x
      Hope your boy is okay.

  6. Have a dog had her tail amputated. Week into it going well she decides to rip stitches out . So backed up. Been treating her for 2 weeks. Has cone on and cleaned daily. Has cone on to protect healing well. Took cone off for a break she starts chewing on tail. Back to square one. Ugggh


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