Help - Tail dock redone twice and not healing again

Loree

New Member
Hi. I hope someone has been through this and can help. I got a puppy about 3 weeks ago. He is now 15 weeks old. The breeder said his initial tail crop was not done properly and she had it redone the day before I picked him up. Everything seemed ok for the first couple of days, but the end of his tail opened up and would not stop oozing - no bad smell, but the stitches did not hold it together and a thick spot developed on the top of the tail. We took him to 2 different vets and then decided to have the poor guys tail re-docked one last time to finally get it right. We took him to a vet that has experience with both doberman tails and ears and the tail looked great right after the surgery and for 2 days we kept it wrapped and everything seemed good. The next night his tail swelled and above his tail even swelled up a lot. We took him back to the vet and she removed the bandage and said we just need to give it time to heal. Much of the skin turned black and we took him to the veterinary teaching hospital on Friday. They did a culture to see what is infecting his tail but we're still waiting on the results. In the meantime much of his skin has fallen off of his tail and it's just a meaty mass with no skin!. I don't know what to do and am taking him back to the emergency department at the vet college this afternoon. I'm thinking maybe he is allergic to the stitches? Has anyone else been through anything like this? My heart is breaking for this poor puppy.
 
Wow... so sorry to hear all you and your pup have been through already. I've never been through anything like this, so anything I say would only be speculation or a guess. I would just let the professionals handle it. Hope everything turns out ok.
 
Hi. Sorry to hear this happened to you and your pup! It sounds like something abnormal is going on, at least in my experience. Maybe not, but I just haven't run into this.

My previous Dobe had a messed up dock. This, despite the breeder being a good, smart and fairly experienced one. Was your pup's tail cut or banded? Banding is an older technique where, as it sounds, a band is wrapped around the tail and it loses circulation and falls off. Sounds bad, but it's not as bad as it sounds. My last Dobe had his tail docked by banding. I'm just curious.

My breeder, when I asked them about this, said it would heal and I shouldn't worry about infection. They were right! They said they intended to fix the dock at the time of ear cropping, but there was just not enough skin to do that. I was very worried because he had an ongoing habit of pooping and peeing in his crate and he'd just sit, walk and lay in it. It never got infected! It healed to a grey tip that was painful when bumped for the first handful of months, but eventually stopped being painful when bumped.

Just hoping my sharing will possibly help in some way. I don't know what has gone wrong in your pup's case.
 
It may be a long shot guess, but worth asking: Were his parents tested for Von Willebrands? If not, I would test your puppy. It affects clotting factor. It really doesn't sound like it, but I'd want to rule that out. No smell indicates no infection, but no healing is weird. Did he have his ears cropped? If so, did they heal OK?

Please keep us posted here about his progress.
 
So sorry you're going through this.
I would check for the vWD mentioned above or perhaps he's even having a reaction to the tape the tail was wrapped with.
Our pup had a little more taken off her dock and it was healed before we knew it.
 
Thanks everyone for your ideas and input. My little guy is scheduled for surgery...again....at the Vet school tomorrow. I asked them to check for vWD, but I don't think this is the issue because he had his ears cropped with no problems and with the first two tail surgeries they looked like they were healing ok on day 1 and 2, but then on day 3-4 the tail started swelling and the end burst open both times. He didn't have any initial bleeding problems. The only thing I can think of is maybe he is allergic to the dissolving type stitches?. We are having him stay at the vet school for 4-5 days after the surgery so they can make sure he makes it past that 3-4 day that seem to be a curse and monitor his tail healing. Such a rough start for this poor pup, I hope this doesn't give him ptsd! He's handling it better than I am though. My eyes fill up with tears every time I think about it :-(
 
The only thing I can think of is maybe he is allergic to the dissolving type stitches?. We are having him stay at the vet school for 4-5 days after the surgery so they can make sure he makes it past that 3-4 day that seem to be a curse and monitor his tail healing. Such a rough start for this poor pup, I hope this doesn't give him ptsd! He's handling it better than I am though. My eyes fill up with tears every time I think about it :-(
I think this is the best idea - having him stay under the watchful eyes at the clinic.

Please don't worry about ptsd - these dogs are so resilient and they don't lay blame on you. Anti-crop people like to talk about the trauma and pain of ear trims - my dogs very favorite thing in the world is to have me clean out her ears with Qtips. She sees me get the stuff on the table and lays her head in my lap while I clean them.
The one thing I would suggest is that you leave his ears down out of posts while he's there, unless they have someone who is super knowledgable about posting ears. At 15 weeks you'll get behind a little on posting, but if they are done wrong or a post comes out in his kennel but stays taped to his ear for hours before anyone notices.. could be worse. Use your judgement, but do consider it. Are you able to visit him daily while he's there?

Give us an update when you can, and especially if they come up for a reason why this is happening! Sending healing vibes across the airways to you & your pup.
 
I’m so sorry your pup is going through this, but it sounds like you’re going above and beyond to find out why his tail isn’t healing and resolve it.

You might ask your vet about cold laser therapy. It’s really incredible for healing wounds quickly, fighting infection, and reducing scarring. We went through something kind of similar with Remy’s ears around 12 weeks. His stitches were out when we got him and his ears were mostly healed, but there were a few spots on the edges that would stay kind of raw and ooze, even though they were exposed when posted (we weren’t taping over those parts). Went to the vet, had them cultured, got him on an antibiotic, and did cold laser therapy 3-4 times a weeks for two weeks. It was incredible how much the laser sped along healing — I could actually see a difference just hours after each session!

And to second what others have said about PTSD, your pup won’t be bothered by this at all! If anything, he’ll be a champ at the vet as he gets older because he’ll have gotten plenty of exposure through these visits. 🫶
 
So the vet school got results back from the cultures and my puppy has MERS or MRSA which is a bacterial resistant infection + staphylococcus pseudintermedius and E coli. They don't want to do surgery yet until they see if they can clear up this infection and get his tissue to somewhat recover. We are taking him to the vet school every other day and they are sedating him and thoroughly flushing and cleaning what is left of his tail and then bandaging it. I'm not sure how long we're going to keep doing this. His entire tail looks like a big open staph infection when it is uncovered. It doesn't seem to hurt him, but I think it is very itchy and I'm terrified it will spread to his spine and rear end. Hopefully some progress will be made this next week. This poor puppy has such a great attitude and so much energy to burn off and he's been stuck inside with a cone on for 3 weeks now :-(
 
the vet school got results back from the cultures and my puppy has MERS or MRSA
I'm so sorry to hear this, but really glad they found the problem. So little can be done when they don't know what they're dealing with. Best to you and this fine puppy. He sounds like his spirit is up and I'm sending boatloads of healing thoughts your way. Keep us posted with his progress. ❤️
 
So the vet school got results back from the cultures and my puppy has MERS or MRSA which is a bacterial resistant infection + staphylococcus pseudintermedius and E coli. They don't want to do surgery yet until they see if they can clear up this infection and get his tissue to somewhat recover. We are taking him to the vet school every other day and they are sedating him and thoroughly flushing and cleaning what is left of his tail and then bandaging it. I'm not sure how long we're going to keep doing this. His entire tail looks like a big open staph infection when it is uncovered. It doesn't seem to hurt him, but I think it is very itchy and I'm terrified it will spread to his spine and rear end. Hopefully some progress will be made this next week. This poor puppy has such a great attitude and so much energy to burn off and he's been stuck inside with a cone on for 3 weeks now :-(
Oh wow! What a strange thing. Sorry this is happening to you and your pup! Oji's tail was open and like I think I said above, the breeder said it would be fine and it was. I bet he had e coli in there though. I wonder if the MRSA stuff occurred due to not sanitary enough procedure during the initial dock.
 
Well I'm glad they found the cause anyway and hopefully it will heal and not bother him.
 
Oh wow! What a strange thing. Sorry this is happening to you and your pup! Oji's tail was open and like I think I said above, the breeder said it would be fine and it was. I bet he had e coli in there though. I wonder if the MRSA stuff occurred due to not sanitary enough procedure during the initial dock.
I wonder too. I'm just glad to know what it is finally - even though it's not good. His poor ears are posted and he's had to wear a cone pretty much since we got him over a month ago. The cone has pushed his ears forward. This baby is going to look like a psycho if he gets through this!
 

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Awww…poor thing.
Just a pup trying to get by and live life.

Good for you for seeing that he gets the proper attention. Sounds like the vet is doing a proper job.
 
So we ended up taking Ali to the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching hospital and they sedated him and completely cleaned the tail every few days for a month. He had a staph infection, e.coli, and another antibiotic resistant infection all going at the same time. They kept bandages on by stapling them to the skin above his tail. What a process! But I am happy to report that his tail healed, they were able to pull the skin back over the end and stitch it back up - and the hair is even growing back. We have had this poor boy in a cone since we got him 2 months ago and he is finally free! So at 5 months old he is just now learning "sit".
 

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I was just thinking about this the other day, wondering how things were coming along. Thank you so much for updating and wow, what a handsome guy he's grown into! You went over & beyond to do everything for him. Heartwarming is a perfect term for this, as @JanS said.
 
So great to hear! What an ordeal! His ears look fantastic btw for having to post with a cone on too!!
 

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