tail docking

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Surgical procedure of Tail docking in Equines


TailThe tail of a horse comprises between 15 and 21 vertebrae.Thetailof the horse and other equines consists of two parts, Dock Skirt.The dock consists of the muscles and skin covering the coccygeal vertebrae. The term "skirt" refers to the long hairs that fall below the dock.(Hair does not grow at all on the underside of the dock)

UsesTo keep away biting insectsPosition and movement of the tail may provide clues to the animal's physical or emotional stateTails of horses are often groomed in a number of ways to make them more stylish for show or practical for work.

Tail dockingTail docking is the surgical removal of part of tail.Amputation VS Dock ?

AnatomyThe caudal (coccygeal) vertebrae vary considerably in number between fourteen and twenty-one ( Avg. 18)From the first to last they become reduce in size (exception few at beginning)In old age the first fused with the sacrum, and sometimes with the second. The arch of third may be open.The ventral surface has a median groove (Sulcus vasculosus) for the coccygeal artery.

Anterior notches are absent.The transverse process gradually fade out and vertebrae are reduced to cylindrical rods of diminishing size.The last one has pointed end.

Caudal vertebrae of horse


IndicationsIrreparable injuryMalignant tumorsTo prevent horse getting the tail over the reinsImprove the appearance of hind quartersIt fashion to dock hackney horses

PreparationIt is mostly done in standing position.Turn back the hairs at the site of operationMaintain them in position by string tied around tail clip the hair below this point.In case of malignant injury we perform at base of lesion.In mares if possible leave sufficient space to cover the vulva in maresAim between the two vertebral joint

ControlIf docking knife is use ,use proper restraining procedure.Local anesthetic solution hypo-dermatically

Docking knifeDocking knifes are act in guillotine fashion and some are made so that two flaps are left which are suture as describe The docking knife invented by McKenny has advantage of having a sliding action of the blade and only require the steady pressure of the handles to make it cut through the part immediately.

Alternative precautions To have the horse standing in the stall close to the near trevis with tail held out behind the heel post while the operator stand to the left. To have the tail held over the half door which serve as protection against kick.

ProcedureTo use docking knife ,have the tail held fully extended and stretched backward in the straight line with the body.Place the knife in the position and with vigorous movement sever the tail with one stroke.Blood spurts in a fountain from the four main arteries in the stump.

HaemostasisBy applying a tape ligature around the tail and leaving it in position for 24 to 36 hours.Apply antiseptic pad cotton wool on the stump and fixing it in position by bandage wound tightly around the tail.By hot iron (Anesthetic agent?)

ComplicationsComplications are less common but:Tetnus (wise to give ATS before)Necrosis.

AmputationWhen operating at the base of the tail proceed as for amputation of limb, incise the skin so as to map out two elliptical flaps on the superior and inferior aspects of the part.Reflect the flaps to the point of section, which is made through a joint.Disarticulate the vertebrae and remove the tail.Arrest the haemorrhage by ligation of vessels.

Dust some sulphanilamide powder on a woundSuture the cutaneous edges .Insert Also Halstead suture through the base of flaps to keep their surface in apposition and prevents the formation of space between them.Apply tincture iodine and protective dressing of cotton wool .


Asfar Zaman