Limber Tail

Just when I thought this week couldn’t get any worse, when I took my dearheart Fergie out for her midday walk today I noticed that her tail wasn’t working.

Like, limp, dead, blah.

No wagging, no movement, no nothin. Just hung straight down like a limp noodle.

I tried not to freak out but given the way things have gone the last week I was fearing the worst.

After our walk I called the vet right away, figuring I would just make an appointment with them next week whenever they had an opening. After the receptionist told me they were fully booked both today and tomorrow, she asked what the problem was. After I told her she said “hang on a sec” and put me on hold.

She came back a minute later and said “can you come in in a couple of hours? The soonest opening we have is at 3:10”. “Sure” I said, feeling a lump welling up in my throat. “Great” she said, “we’ll see you then”.

To make a long story short this is when I had total meltdown on the sofa. Visions of spinal tumors and life-threatening neurological diseases filled my head. I thought “I can’t almost lose my mom and then my dog too in the same week”. All of the events of the last week finally caught up to me and I was nearly inconsolable, especially considering I was scheduled to take my mom home from the hospital today at 2. Given that I have not yet mastered the art of time travel there was no way to do both. Do I decide between my mom and my dog? Talk about a life challenge.

After a tearful phone call (me) my sister insisted that I take Fergie in and that she would take care of mom, so that is what we did.

It turns out that Fergie is just fine. (WHEW). She has a case of what is called ‘limber tail’ or ‘limp tail’ or ‘dead tail’. My vet calls it limber tail.

Limber tail is a mysterious temporary ailment that affects very athletic dogs, especially labs, particularly after they swim in cold water, which Fergie did yesterday afternoon briefly at a client’s house on Puget Sound.

For reasons that aren’t understood, the tail muscles and nerves stop working a couple of inches down and the tail is essentially lifeless all the way to the tip. This usually lasts for 2-3 days and always resolves on it’s own.

Because there is some pain and inflammation associated with limber tail the vet prescribed doggy painkillers which Fergie gets to start taking tomorrow (wonder if they work on humans too, lol).

I swear the sigh of relief that I breathed when I left the vet office could be heard across the entirety of the Greenlake neighborhood. Just to give you an idea of how upset I was taking her in, I had my dad come with me.

The other (very, very) good news is that my mom is doing very well. My sister got her home and she is now relaxing in her own environment which sure beats a sterile hospital room. She is incredibly happy to be home and is now firmly on the road to recovery.

My sister is staying with her until Sunday morning when I will take over. All is good. Quite good. Early next week we will take Jasmine in for her vet appointment before re-homing her.

These outcomes are really great because it means I can devote my full attention to my clients tomorrow at our Urban Beast photography event, which I am very much looking forward to.

No matter how complicated or difficult life gets, I will always, always take immense pleasure in taking photos of dogs (and cats!). I really, really love my job.

Here is a photo of a lab with limber tail. I would have gotten a shot of Fergie but she is so zonked from the day I can’t get her to stand long enough, lol.

But basically, this is exactly what she looks like right now, only brown. 🙂

YAY for happy endings!!!

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