Limber Tail Syndrome

the beautiful water and surroundings of an abandoned quarry

There’s an old, flooded, abandoned quarry a few kilometers from where we live. The small lake is a popular place to cool off in the heat of the summer. The access is actually forbidden so let’s keep it a secret. But so many people were having picnics and gatherings there, so we definitely were not the only ones with the same idea. 

My mum always forgets to bring a tennis ball with us, so we searched for a stick. I needed some motivation to swim after it and retrieve it back to the shore. The water was about 15 degrees. I wasn’t the only one swimming. There were also 2 brave humans swimming on the other side of the lake. But I was definitely faster than those two.

Mum had the camera with her and I also had to do some posing for 2022 calendar photos. After about half an hour of swimming and posing, we also went for a long walk up the hill. Then we headed home. 

At home, mum insisted on giving me a shower because of the possibility of dirt from the water stuck on my fur. I didn’t like it, I hate showers. Then I rested, I was pretty tired. And it started to hurt. I just couldn’t find a position to rest, it hurt really bad and it was getting worse.

Mum started cooking. I always supervise cooking, but it hurt so much that I didn’t want to move. I was wondering if she could cook by herself without my supervision and help. She’s definitely not used to it. She looked at me suspiciously, feeling that something was odd. She started to worry. 

And when I didn’t come to help when my humans started eating, both of them were already on high alert. I never miss any meal, not mine, not theirs. Mums started to google my symptoms. First for the green algae intoxication which she dismissed quickly. Then for the limber tail and some other ailments, worrying more and more. The limber tail was the most possible, but my symptoms were not identical to the ones found online, so she wasn’t sure. 

I was clearly in a lot of pain and couldn’t even find a position to lie down. The sphinx position was the only one I could manage, shifting the weight between my left and right hind legs. It was very uncomfortable. Still, I’m not whining, I’m a lab and I’ll suffer quietly. 

Mum decided to call a veterinary emergency. She described my symptoms, that I keep my back lifted up and I can’t make a turn to the right, I keep spinning to the left. But they only said that it could possibly be something wrong with my stomach and suggested taking me out to see if I will eat any grass. So we did go out. I didn’t feel like eating grass. We did a short walk and then we came back home. It was a little better while walking, but as soon as I lay down, the pain came back.

It’s 6 p.m., time for my dinner. It’s probably the only time I wasn’t wagging my tail like crazy and showing happiness about eating. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to the moon and back for my dinner, I just wasn’t able to show it. I couldn’t stand up so mum brought the dinner to me. I was so hungry and happy to eat and my tail showed it. Just a little wag. I could see the relief in my mum’s eyes. As long as I’m eating, then I can’t be that ill.

Anyway, we did another short walk in the evening, before going to sleep. It was a sleepless night. I couldn’t find a position to sleep in. Mum didn’t sleep either, she checked on me every time I moved. It was a long night.

Monday morning and my mum had to go to work. Since I wasn’t feeling any better and my mum didn’t want to leave me at home by myself, she organized a daycare with her brother. He’s working from home so I stayed with him. He said that I wasn’t myself today, that I wasn’t following him around as usual and I couldn’t find a position to rest in. Mum decided to call my vet and scheduled a meeting at 4:30 pm.

We had to wait for almost an hour because there were so many dogs, cats and rabbits waiting in line. Finally, my turn. My vet listened to my mum describing the symptoms, then checked me, hit me twice in the spine, lifted my tail and immediately diagnosed me with a limber tail. He gave me an injection of carprofen and I also received carprofen tablets for the next 5 days. It’s supposed to be an inflammation because of swimming in cold water. But hey, the water wasn’t that cold. I don’t know how this could’ve happened… I’ve swum in winter cold waters before and I’ve never had a limber tail. I guess I’m getting old. Anyway, the vet said I’m in a lot of pain right now, but I’ll be fine in a few days. What a relief.

A few minutes after the shot and I’m already feeling better. We went home to rest. After a painful night and morning, I could finally lay down on my side and fell asleep. For the next few days I will only go out for a short walk. Then hopefully, I’ll be my old self again.