By jvhvet on 27/01/2016 3:06 PM

How the Tail Works

The tail is an extension of the spine, but it’s more mobile and flexible. A wedgelike bone at the base of the spine known as the sacrum anchors the tail. The subsequent tailbones (coccygeal, or caudal, vertebrae) get smaller and smaller along the length of the tail. Cushioning each tailbone are tiny joints and disc pads. Muscles put the wag in the tail and play a role in faecal control. Blood vessels and nerves are also part of the tail’s anatomy.

When the tail is injured, the damage can be as simple as the “Ouch!” from getting the tip caught in a doorway or as serious as heavy bleeding or severe nerve damage. The tail is prone to injury because it’s unprotected and frequently in motion.

By jvhvet on 11/01/2016 5:39 PM

Heatstroke in animals is a killer and can happen frighteningly fast.

Image: Tina Phillips at

Unlike humans dogs do not cool off by sweating through their skin. The only way they can lower their body temperature is to pant, and sweat a little bit through their paws. To pant effectively, they rely on the air around them being cooler than their own temperature; this allows the heat in their moist breath to dissipate and be removed into the environment. They also rely on the environment being a little dry. The air they exhale is 41oC which is why they rapidly over heat in cars.