I have an 11 month old JRT-Chi, and she's generally very healthy and active. No fleas, no tummy issues, poop looks good.
About a month ago she suddenly jumped up and started licking her butt/tail base frantically, did this for about 3 minutes like it was on fire. I wondered if it was an anal gland issue, felt around but didn't feel anything odd, and she didn't react when I felt around there (other than a lot of curiosity about what I was doing!). After this she acted like nothing had happened, so I figured it was a one-time thing.
A few days later I noticed her fur looked thicker about 2" out from her tail base, which made me think there was a swelling. I checked it; didn't notice anything off and she was acting fine, lots of tail wagging and no weird licking. I held a warm, wet compress on it for 20 minutes and gave her a wash in case there was an irritant or gland issue (as per a vet suggestion found on google).
Another 2 weeks went by, and she did a manic tail-chasing one day, totally frantic, nipping at the base under her tail/side of her tail. I checked everything, nothing seemed off. Again, right after that everything seemed fine. Something she ate? She sometimes poops out one of my long hairs, so thought maybe that was in there.
Now today, she just did the same thing, and let me check it all out. When I applied a bit of pressure along the side of the tail 1" out, she licked my hand frantically - I take that as a sign that she's tender there? Right after, she curled up and went to sleep. 10 minutes later I gently rubbed circles along the base/outside/top of her tail, and she squirmed and gave me big eyes when I rubbed on one place on the left side, 1/2" down.
I've googled like crazy and it doesn't sound like Limber Tail Syndrome or Broken Tail, as she wags very enthusiastically, and has no issues with her tail. She doesn't drag her butt or lick unusually other than those few times. Poop looks fine (no worms).
Has anyone experienced anything similar? If she'd licked more or seemed irritated more I would have taken her to the vet, but these one-off moments, weeks apart, make this confusing. I don't want her in any pain or having any issues and if the swelling stays, I'll likely take her to the vet next week. My only hesitation is, I don't want them just putting her on antibiotics as an experiment 'in case' there's an infection. Any ideas?