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Study ignites tail docking debate


Monday June 28th 2010

A new report has again ignited the debate over the "controversial" issue of tail docking.

According to research published in the Veterinary Record, dogs that have had the procedure are at a significantly lower risk of suffering tail injuries.

Tail docking, whereby most of the tail is removed, was banned three years ago, although exemptions apply to some breeds.

Authors of the study said: "The debate is centred on whether non-therapeutic tail docking reduces the risk of tail injuries sufficiently to justify the ethical concerns regarding this preventive intervention."

The research looked at more than 138,000 dogs at 52 veterinary practices and found one in three (36%) tail injuries were caused by the dog banging its tail against a hard object in the home, such as a wall or kennel.

Some 17% of injuries happened outside while around 14% of dogs injured their tail by getting it trapped in a door.

Despite the authors saying there is a low level of tail injuries overall, 44% of the injuries happen time after time, the study found.

It concluded that in absolute terms, 500 dogs would need to have their tail docked in order to prevent one injury.

Tail docking, whereby most of the tail is removed, was banned three years ago, although exemptions apply to some breeds.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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