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Thread: wont sit after tail amputation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Melbourne Australia
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    Default wont sit after tail amputation

    Hey all, first time user of the forum and I'm hoping someone might have some tips/ help for me.

    My Bullmastiff, 11 months at the time, now is 12 months old, had a lump on his tail which got quite large quickly and meds were not helping- he was very persistant in licking it and we could not stop him. tried bandages, tying his tail - all very stressful to him. We thought it had become from licking due to anxiety - We spend a lot of time with him and he even has doggy friends as we foster dogs as well, no other signs of seperation anxiety when we are not around, anyway at the vets instructions we amputated the tail as he was in quite a lot of distress and his llicking turned to a soothing the pain lick.

    Now that it is all healed, all is fine with tail ( he had tried to lick the stump when fresh but has realised that this will only cause him more pain so has stopped on his own and it healed wonderfully).

    Although now he will not sit. He used to sit on command but now he won't.

    He knows what it is (means) as his legs start to bend but then he gets up quickly and walks away

    We've massaged his tail to get him used to it as we are well aware that a part of him is gone, and he's fine when we touch it (doesnt hurt him) and generally he's very very happy. Will play, ask for belly rubs etc. just won't sit! On his own he'll sit sideways then lie down - so I'm thinking the stump might be in his way. Alhtough other dogs do it so I'm really not sure.

    Has anyone come across something like this, or have any training tips as I've tried re training him and it's not working- I try not to push him (physically and emotionally) as I dont want him distress him.

    Many thanks everyone, and I think a forum like this is great!

    Suzi
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 09-06-2012 at 05:57 PM. Reason: fix up formatting

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
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    Hi Suzi

    Welcome to the forum.

    I think the tail licking might have been a form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) rather than separation anxiety. So it may re-appear in some other form...

    But not sitting - I don't know. It may be some sort of phantom pain associated with the nerve endings that don't end in the tail that's not there any more if that makes any sense.

    There may also be some sort of scar issue or muscle thing that makes sitting in the normal "obedience" style - uncomfortable - ie he gets so far and then it's like being stung by a bee. My knee is like that. I have a sports injury and a couple of ops to "fix" it but it still hurts. Especially if I tweak it just the wrong way.

    It may also help to do some body awareness exercises with him.
    Specifically anything that helps him work out he has a back end and what he can do with it if he thinks about it. I'd try something simple like asking him to put his back feet on a telephone book wrapped up in a bath towel. Once he's got that, see if you can get him to put his front feet on it - facing you and stay facing you as you side step around the phone book. Ie he has to work his back end to stay facing you.

    You start by rewarding him for sniffing the phone book - reward close to the phone book - then only reward when he puts a foot on the phone book then both feet (front or back) then work up to all four feet - or not with a mastiff you might need something bigger than a phone book to start with and then do the exercises with the front feet or the back feet on the phone book.

    That should help him figure out what to do with his butt end. That he can do something with it deliberately.

  3. #3

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    Remember that the tail is an extension of the spine, so sitting might be causing him discomfort higher up on his spinal cord, or possibly in the thick nerves that connect the spine to the leg. Perhaps sitting in the normal way causes contact with the floor and the end of the stump. Whatever the reason it sounds like it is causing him physical discomfort. This might get better as his body adapts to what's missing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bundaberg QLD
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    I'm just guessing here...but as someone who has had major spine surgery, it takes a long long time to feel confident again and for me it took a lot of rehab to even do the most basic of things like walk up stairs. I lost a lot of muscle core strength and it seemed impossible to regain it. Sitting and getting up from a lying down position was very difficult not from the op but from the muscles having to do a lot of stuff they didnt have the strentgh for. Hyacinth touched on the 'scar tissue'...and this is my biggest hurdle now some 2 years later.....the scar tissue from the operation is pushing on nerves...sciatic in my case and the pain in my legs can be shocking at times.
    Like i said i'm just guessing about your dogs scenario but these could be some of the issues yor Bully might be having to. Give him plenty of time to get his confidence back and hopefully he gets a bit better with it soon. Good luck fellow B.M owner....i can imagine the sad looks he was giving you while he was in a lot of pain...they have the ability to make you feel bad just by looking at you.

    Got any pics ?? Wouyld love to see the big fella...whats his name ?


    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
    Education is important, but big biceps are more importanter ...
    DONT SIC YOUR DOGMA ON ME !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
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    Hi Guys

    Thanks so much for advise - Hyacinth- I'll def try that - yes maybe a larger book but it'll give him a form of rehabilitation to concentrate on his body parts and lern to work with them again and as per Seans and Mosh's suggestion that it might take a while for him to get used to it and gain the confidence. I've never known or been able to speak to anyone with an amputation be it human or animal so havnt been able to figure it out and was soooo worried I was hurting him. Sean yes he gives me the most cutest, weirdest looks I just fall to my knees and hug him. He's quite obediant for a pup so I hate the idea of him thinking he's done something wrong.

    Thanks heaps again, just hearing from others helps. The vets werent very helpful with behaviour/ training issues so even though I asked them I didnt feel confident that he was OK.

    I'll try pop up a photo I've just gotta figure out how to hahaha.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2012
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    dexter4.jpg

    my furbaby Dexter at 11 months (hope the image worked)

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Brisbane, Queensland
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    He has that huggable look about him...he is so cute

  8. #8
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    101 tricks with balance discs for dogs to improve body awareness - YouTube

    this video gives you a bit of an idea of what body awareness exercises look like. It starts with the finished product and then shows some of the break downs - how you build up to that.

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