Undocked working dogs at greatest risk of tail injuries in Scotland

Apr 04, 2014

Undocked working dogs in Scotland are at greatest risk of tail injuries, indicates a survey of their owners, published in this week's Veterinary Record.

Of 2860 working dogs, 13.5% sustained at least one tail injury during the 2010/11 shooting season. But undocked spaniels (56.6%) and hunt point retrievers (38.5%) were at greatest risk. To ward off one tail injury during one shooting season would require between two and 18 spaniels or hunt point retrievers to be docked as puppies, say the authors, who conclude that docking the tails of these breeds by one-third would significantly decrease the risk of tail injuries.

In a second study, the same authors assessed the prevalence of tail injuries in different breeds of dog seen in 16 veterinary practices across Scotland between 2002 and early 2012.

The overall prevalence of tail injuries was 0.59%. But the prevalence of tail injuries in dogs of working breeds was estimated to be 0.90%. Working were at a significantly greater risk of sustaining a tail injury than non-working breeds. To prevent one such tail injury in these working breeds around 232 dogs would need to be docked as puppies, calculate the authors. And to prevent one tail amputation in spaniels, 320 spaniel puppies would need to be docked.

Spaniels taken to vets after January 2009 were more than twice as likely to have a tail injury as those taken to a vet before April 29 2007 - the date when legislation banning tail docking came into force in Scotland.

"Given the results of this and the accompanying paper it may be appropriate to consider changes to the current legislation for specific breeds of ," conclude the authors.

Explore further: Research shows impact of BMR on brain size in fish

More information: Survey of tail injuries sustained by working gundogs and terriers in Scotland, Online First DOI: 10.1136/vr.102041

The prevalence of tail injuries in working and non-working breed dogs visiting veterinary practices in Scotland, DOI: 10.1136/vr.102042

Related Stories

Study helps clarify tail injuries in dogs

Jun 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tail docking is a very emotive subject the world over. A new study will explain the scientific understanding of tail injuries and tail docking in dogs.

Dogs know a left-sided wag from a right

Oct 31, 2013

You might think a wagging tail is a wagging tail, but for dogs there is more to it than that. Dogs recognize and respond differently when their fellow canines wag to the right than they do when they wag to ...

Waterbirds' hunt aided by specialized tail

Feb 26, 2014

The convergent evolution of tail shapes in diving birds may be driven by foraging style, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE on February 26, 2014 by Ryan Felice and Patrick O'Connor from Ohio Univer ...

Recommended for you

Research shows impact of BMR on brain size in fish

Apr 24, 2015

A commonly used term to describe nutritional needs and energy expenditure in humans – basal metabolic rate – could also be used to give insight into brain size of ocean fish, according to new research by Dr Teresa Iglesias ...

Why do animals fight members of other species?

Apr 23, 2015

Why do animals fight with members of other species? A nine-year study by UCLA biologists says the reason often has to do with "obtaining priority access to females" in the area.

Dolphins use extra energy to communicate in noisy waters

Apr 23, 2015

Dolphins that raise their voices to be heard in noisy environments expend extra energy in doing so, according to new research that for the first time measures the biological costs to marine mammals of trying ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.