Can I dock my pup’s tail?

Sporting Shooter - - Gundog Experts -

Q I’ve been of­fered a cocker puppy with a good pedi­gree at a low price be­cause the tail wasn’t docked. Can I get my vet to do this un­der anaes­thetic be­fore I start train­ing him?

A

VICKY PAYNE replies: If the tail is not docked be­fore five days old, the RCVS says it should only be am­pu­tated if there is re­cur­rent dam­age. Not all un­docked dogs dam­age their tails, but if they do, take pho­to­graphs and keep a record of med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions you have tried. Am­pu­tat­ing an adult dog’s tail is quite a se­ri­ous op­er­a­tion, and the stump can take four to six weeks to fully heal.

Am­pu­tated tails are of­ten cut shorter than puppy docked tails as this gives the best chance of re­cov­ery but can spoil the look of the dog and its ac­tion when hunt­ing. Adult tail am­pu­ta­tions can cost £400-600 in­clud­ing pain med­i­ca­tions and ban­dage changes.

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