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What is causing limber tail syndrome in labrador retrievers?
  1. Naomi Harvey, BSc, PhD
  1. School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK
  1. e-mail: naomi.harvey{at}

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LIMBER tail syndrome (LTS), also known as acute caudal myopathy, is an unusual and poorly understood condition affecting the muscles in the tail and is most often reported in working or sporting dog breeds (De Lahunta and Glass 2008). Although there is no clear definition for the condition, the diagnosis is based on clinical signs of a limp tail, often appearing stiff at the base, and a rapid self-resolution, which excludes all other causes of the clinical signs. The tail may appear broken and held out from the body horizontally before hanging (De Lahunta and Glass 2008, Abbasm and others 2015). Many dogs suffering from the condition appear to experience pain and distress for the duration of the clinical signs. Much of what we know about LTS comes from detailed but limited case studies. In a paper summarised on p 275 of this issue of Veterinary Record, Pugh and others (2016) have used a cohort of approximately 6000 labrador retrievers to gather epidemiological evidence on the incidence of, and potential risk factors for, the syndrome in a working dog breed.

The dogs in Pugh and other's study had been registered by their owners into the Dogslife cohort (Dogslife 2010), which aims to track the impact of lifestyle and morphology on the health and wellbeing of labrador retrievers in the UK. Just 43 of the approximately 6000 dogs registered were reported to have suffered from limber tail, representing a reported cumulative incidence (also …

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