FA youngstock processing
Tail docking in adult animals should be restricted to cases of trauma or infection.
The tail is comprised of vertebrae, vertebral spaces, coccygeal muscles and vessels on either side. Disarticulation should be between vertebrae.
NSAIDs/analgesics: Perioperative NSAIDs are recommended
Tetanus prophylaxis is recommended in horses
Local blocks: Epidural or ring block
Position/preparation: The patient is kept standing. Surgeon wears gloves. The area is clipped and prepped.
- Scalpel and handle
- Mosquito hemostats
- Mayo scissors
- Needle holders
- Suture scissors
- 3-0 absorbable (vessels)
- 2-0 or 0 suture, cutting needle (skin)
- Tourniquet – optional
A tourniquet may be applied proximally but usually isn’t necessary.
The appropriate vertebral space is identified. Semilunar skin incisions are made dorsally and ventrally with both flaps extending beyond the point of disarticulation. The dorsal flap should extend further than the ventral flap. The flaps are undermined and retracted cranially. The vessels are ligated with 3-0 suture and muscles transected. The coccygeal vertebrae are disarticulated. The dorsal flap is folded over the end and sutured to the ventral flap.
- Keep area clean and dry.
- Suture removal in 10-14 days
Dehiscence and infection are possible. Second intention healing is recommended if either occur.
See Small Animal Surgery Textbook, Theresa Welch Fossum, Ch 16 Surgery of the Integument
P Aubry. Routine Surgical Procedures in Dairy Cattle Under Field Conditions: Abomasal Surgery, Dehorning, and Tail Docking. Vet Clin Food Anim 21 (2005) 55–72