It’s very important to keep your dog healthy, comfortable, and free of disease at all times. Have you noticed your dog having a patchy, discolored tail? If that’s the case then your pet dog may be suffering from stud tail or tail gland hyperplasia. What causes this condition and what can you do in case your dog is suffering from it?
A Closer Look at Stud Tail
Stud tail may sound like it only happens to male dogs, but this condition can also occur in females. This condition causes the supercaudal gland, a modified sebaceous gland located on the upper half of the tail designed to create chemicals that attract other dogs. Because these chemicals are also similar to the scent-creating chemicals found in violets, the gland is also known as the violet gland.
When stud tail occurs, the violet gland works over time, creating more chemicals than necessary and causing the glands to swell. The chemicals can also block the pores of the skin and cause irritations or attract bacteria. This is also why a dog’s tail may feel greasy to the touch if it’s suffering from stud tail.
There are two main causes of stud tail. The first one is an over-abundance of the dog’s androgen levels, causing it to be more sexually active. This also triggers the violet gland to produce more chemicals than normal in an attempt to attract other dogs to breed with. The second major cause of stud tail are fleas and other parasites that can block off the violet gland, causing a buildup of sebum and chemicals and causing other forms of skin irritation.
Spotting Stud Tail
It’s easy to spot the common symptoms of stud tail. Take a look at your dog’s tail and check it for bald spots or patches of irritated skin. While these are also associated with other skin diseases, these rashes are also accompanied by a noticeable bulge in the dog’s tail – that’s the swollen violet gland. In some cases, the area around the violet gland won’t have much fur, making the bulge easier to see.
You should also be on the lookout for other symptoms, especially with the dog’s behavior. If you see your dog trying to bite its tail or rubbing it against walls, you should start checking for other signs of the condition.
Treatment of Stud Tail
There are plenty of ways to treat stud tail, but treatment depends on what caused the condition in the first place. Stud tail caused by having too much androgen may call for castration or neutering. If you plan to breed your dog, those options are not possible, but there are topical creams or ointments designed to help reduce the discomfort and control the swelling.
If the condition is caused by fleas or parasites, treatment is largely the same as the treatment used for other flea-related skin conditions. Both oral and topical medications can be used, but you have to check with your vet if you need more potent medicine since over-the-counter options may not be enough. Severe cases of stud tail may also be treated by surgically removing the gland altogether.
While stud tail is not a life-threatening condition, leaving it untreated can cause unnecessary stress for your pet. Treating stud tail as early as possible helps minimize your pet’s discomfort and helps keep its fur looking healthy.