chubby tail at the base

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My bark is worse- than my bite!- Rawwr
Barked: Thu Feb 11, '10 6:15pm PST 
hey guys, when you feel Ionia's tail at the base, it feels chubby, then it progressively gets skinny and normal... Does this mean anything?

I read someplace it might mean the tail was supposed to be docked but didn't work out? She is an Aussie shepherd and they usually do have docked tails.

Thanks smile
Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
Barked: Fri Feb 12, '10 6:32am PST 
Has she gained weight recently? Is this chubbiness new? Has she been itching or licking that area? Rubbing it on things? Have you changed foods or treats recently? If this chubbiness is new I would consider either recent weight gain, a hormone imbalance or allergy.

The base of the tail is surrounded by a fat pad. It is actually a common marker to check a pets weight. If your pet is overweight often you will see a chubbiness to the base of their tail and you will also note that they do nto have a small indent just prior to the start of their tail above their spinal line. This area is another fat pad.

Another thing that can cause this area to look "fat" or swollen is hypothyroidism or Cushings disease. These are two different disease processes that affect a pets hormone levels. Here is info on both HOWEVER I would expect other symptoms of these diseases besides the tail swelling. hypothyroidism and Cushings Disease

Also some medications can cause this type of fatty deposits as well especially long-term steriod use. Steriods can cause our bodies to gain fat which could be deposited into areas with fat pads like the base of the tail.

Allergies, especially ones causing severe skin irritation and swelling can cause this area to swell as well. This is really common in breeds like Sharpeis. Their skin becomes so inflammed and irritated from an allergic reaction(acute or long term) that the base of the tail will become swollen and fat.

Another thing to note is "swimmers tail" will cause a immensly painful swelling at the base of the tail. It is acute (ie short term) and the tail will appear to hang limply from the body. People often suspect the tails are broken. It is really just a severe swelling of the tail muscles usually happening to animals who where recently in cold water (either swimming or baths). Swimmers Tail

If it has always been there then it may just be the way your pet is. Pets, like people, have different body types even within breeds. Some people gain weight in certain areas and others don't. People are apple shaped, hourglass, pear etc. Dogs are the same (although I am not sure what type of fruit to compare them too wink ) Since this are is a fat deposit area your pet may just gain weight more readily there.

If it is not new and not bothering them I would guess it is nothing to worry about! If it is new or has changed recently or is now bothering them I would say a vet visit is in order!!

ETA: She does not look overweight in her pics, she is very very cute! I also have not heard that this is common in tails that are "supposed to be docked" I think it is most likely it is just the way her tail is. As I mentioned before all dogs like all people are unique in some way. This may be hers!

Edited by author Fri Feb 12, '10 6:35am PST


Princess and the- Pea
Barked: Fri Feb 12, '10 7:31am PST 
Also the first couple inches of the tail are where the muscles are attached. Both my dogs' tails are thicker at the base and are thinner after 4".


My bark is worse- than my bite!- Rawwr
Barked: Fri Feb 12, '10 7:45am PST 
Interesting, Toby's isn't like that, but Ionia's seems to be...

To answer some of the questions..

Ionia did gain some weight when we first got her, and now she has since lost about... 8-10lbs over the last 4-5 months... She is looking much better, we just never noticed her chubby tail before.

We do think she has some allergies, so she takes her daily claritin to help, and it seems like she doesn't itch much or if at all anymore... so we can call that one a success at this point.

The most likely scenario, since she sees the vet regularly and has had her entire body looked over quite often for 1.5 yrs now, is this is just the way her tail is.... She has no other health complications, she is as healthy as an ox, gets great food, and seems to be a very happy and outgoing girl.

Agreed, it's probably just the way her tail is, I was just curious, probably over curious about why it is the way it is... Those are older pics, she has lost weight since then... She's absolutely adorable and daddy's little girl smile
Chloe,- KPA-CTP

Clearance Puppy - The best of them- all.
Barked: Fri Feb 12, '10 10:36am PST 
Chloe's tail is like that - so I think it's normal. Her tail would have never been docked.