People make faces and remarks when I mention them, but they certainly are important. Can you imagine how painful wagging a damaged tail would be?
As part of a thorough physical examination the tail needs to be fully evaluated, even if there is no complaint mentioned in connection with it.
Tails can have all kinds of problems. They can become broken. They can develop dermatitis if stool gets on them and it’s not washed off promptly.
Most of all, pets’ tails develop lumps. Growths. Tumors. Masses.
In my experience most of these masses are benign, but they need to be caught early if the tail is to be saved. It is a part of the body that doesn’t have much extra skin, so once a growth achieves much size there can be limited skin to close a surgical defect to remove the lump. If the defect can’t be closed the tail must be amputated proximal to the mass (closer to the body).
When I finish that wagging part of the body on my examination I say, “Palpation of the tail is good.”
Go ahead and laugh. That’s OK. It’s still serious to me.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.