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Hello Chris, I'm Dr. Deb and I'll do my best to help you today.I'm sorry for this concern for Duke but this is actually a fairly common problem, especially in Labs. More often than not, trauma of some sort is the cause for an injury to the tail which causes them to hold it down and almost lifeless. I often suspect that they hit their tail on something because they wag it so much! These tails are rarely broken but there is inflammation or bruising which accounts for the pain/discomfort that's present.When presented with cases like this, I treat these dogs with anti-inflammatory drugs; the problem usually resolves within a few days.If he's not currently taking any n'saids (although I don't know why he would be) and not vomiting, then you could give him over the counter Aspirin at a dose of 10 mg/lb twice a day. I advise that it be given with food to avoid stomach upset.I've also seen bite wounds (abscesses) that can cause this behavior but ususally there's a history of a scuffle with another dog or there's evidence of swelling or of a wound.I hope this helps and that he's feelign better soon. Deb