Stud Tail in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments

What is stud tail in dogs

If you are unfamiliar with the stud tail in dogs, it is a skin condition when a dog’s tail becomes swollen and inflamed.

While this may not seem fatal, remember that a stud tail can cause pain and damage to your furry friends.

Also known as tail gland hyperplasia, this condition generally affects male dogs due to their elevated androgen levels. However, other factors may also cause a stud tail in female dogs.

This article will give you a comprehensive overview of the dog stud tail, including its most common causes, symptoms, proper treatment options, as well as tips on preventing it from happening.

What Is Stud Tail in Dogs?

Supracaudal gland hyperplasia or stud tail is a skin disease typically seen among intact males. This happens when a dog’s supracaudal gland or violet gland, found near the base of the tail and above the anus, becomes infected. Some signs include a foul smell, bald spots, itching, and matted hair.

For starters, the term “hyperplasia” means an abnormal increase of cells in an organ — in this case, in your dog’s supracaudal gland. It is located on the dog’s tail and produces pheromones that help attract females during mating season.

Moreover, it is near sebaceous glands where an oily substance known as sebum is secreted. This is responsible for keeping your dog’s skin and hair follicles moisturized.

Unfortunately, overproduction of these glands can lead to skin irritation and inflammation that can lead to stud tail symptoms.

The affected area becomes clogged with dead skin cells and excess sebum, resulting in tail blackheads.

Although a dog stud tail is not considered a serious condition, the bald spot, redness, or scabbing spreads deeper and secondary infections may develop if left untreated.

If you notice that your pooch is constantly licking its tail or showing signs of pain when walking around, then it’s best to take them to the vet clinic right away.

Symptoms of Stud Tail in Dogs

The symptoms of a stud tail in dogs are relatively straightforward and easily recognizable.

However, the intensity of these warning signs varies widely between breeds and gender, as well as your dog’s androgen levels and age.

Some dogs may display only one or two symptoms, while others experience them all. Hence, getting familiar with what to look for is critical if you do not want your fur baby to suffer from a secondary infection.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of stud tail or tail gland infection in dogs:

  • A bald patch at the base of the tail
  • Matted hair or greasy clump at the base of the tail
  • Waxy substance on the inflamed part of the dog’s tail
  • Skin infection, irritation, and redness at the base of the tail
  • Swollen and itchy tail base
  • A presence of a foul odor, especially for severely infected tails
  • The appearance of dog tail blackheads or comedones
  • An affected dog keeps on chewing, biting, and licking the base of the tail.
  • Missing hair or hair loss at the base of the tail
  • A dog may resort to barking, whining, and howling when experiencing pain or discomfort.

If you have other pets in your household, you are probably wondering: is stud tail contagious? The simple answer is no.

So, if one of your pooches exhibits any of the stud tail symptoms listed above, you should not worry.

In most cases, this dog tail gland infection is only a mild case. It is noteworthy, though, that a fur parent must seek veterinary advice immediately so that it does not progress into something more severe.

The following video shows what a stud tail looks like in an infected dog:


Causes of Stud Tail in Dogs

For first-time dog owners and experienced ones alike, it is valuable to understand the causes of stud tails in dogs.

This way, you can help your pup avoid the problem or at least know how to manage it once it happens.

While it is mentioned that intact males are most likely to be infected with this dog tail wound infection, females and neutered males are also occasionally prone to develop it.

To help you understand this skin condition, the following are some potential causes of tail gland hyperplasia or stud tail in dogs:

  • Unneutered male dogs’ excessive emission of androgen over an extended period
  • Dogs with seborrheic skin disease
  • The oily secretions of the modified sebaceous gland clogged up the canine’s hair follicles.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ticks or other parasites are infesting the base of the tail.
  • An existing allergy to the violet gland or sebaceous glands
  • Female or male dogs produce excessive pheromones.
  • Cushing’s disease

It is clear that there are multiple causes of supracaudal gland hyperplasia, including genetic and environmental factors.

However, some dog specialists have also stated that your pet’s diet or grooming habits, in particular, can cause this skin disease.

Nevertheless, you will discover many ways to treat stud tail in the following sections. As you continue reading, you will find more information about prevention, proper diagnosis, and recovery as well.

Diagnosis of Stud Tail in Dogs

A veterinarian will perform a physical examination, run some tests, and ask questions about your pet’s medical history to determine the underlying cause of tail gland hyperplasia.

Furthermore, they will inquire about any recent changes in your canine’s behavior and diet, as well as other symptoms of stud tail that you may have noticed.

To accurately diagnose stud tail in dogs, veterinarians carry out the following diagnostic tests:

  • Complete blood counts
  • Fecal examination
  • CT scans
  • Biopsy
  • Urinalysis
  • Auscultation
  • Scraping deeper layers of the skin for cytological analysis
  • Examining the health of the pooch’s coat and skin
  • Tests for bacterial and fungal contamination

In severe cases, most vets will sometimes perform other tests, such as ultrasounds or X-rays, to further investigate the cause of this dog tail infection.

Treatment of Stud Tail in Dogs

In general, the treatment depends on how severe the stud tail infection is. For instance, if it is only a mild case, your vet may suggest a regimen of oral antibiotics and pain medications.

In severe cases, however, some veterinarians might recommend surgery to remove the infection or even amputate the dog’s tail altogether.

For your convenience, the following are some of the stud tail treatment options available to dog owners:

1. Various antibiotics and medications

To treat infection, your chosen vet may require oral antibiotics to be administered to the dog through a pill or liquid.

Some drugs are also available in topical form, which can be applied directly to the affected area. These medications include ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin, cephalexin, doxycycline, and tetracycline.

Remember that the dosage will still vary depending on the severity of the stud tail infection and whether it is bacterial or fungal.

Here are several types of bacteria that can cause secondary infections in dogs with supracaudal gland hyperplasia:

Another type of medication for treating stud tail is a corticosteroid injection. This is used to help reduce inflammation and pain caused by swelling at the base of the tail.

2. Tail gland hyperplasia shampoos

Most dog lovers recommend coconut oil for treating a stud tail, but your vet may prescribe an antibacterial shampoo instead.

In addition, if your dog is experiencing hair loss and a bald spot is already visible at the base of the tail, it is probably too late to start treating the infection with a natural remedy.

To start, invest in a medicated shampoo containing antibacterial agents such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. This will help control the itching, eliminate the foul odor, and eventually regrow fur in the affected area.

Apply this medicated shampoo to your pet three times a week. If ticks or fleas are also an issue for your dog, this method will help eliminate them.

3. Removing the violet gland on the dog’s tail

Even though stud tail is not life-threatening, there are some severe cases in which the violet gland must be removed through surgery. This usually happens when a secondary infection develops and causes complications.

Therefore, responsible dog owners should consider investing in pet insurance that will cover the cost of the surgery.

4. Home remedies

Besides vet treatment options for a stud tail infection, over-the-counter products and home remedies are available to help relieve your dog’s pain.

These include coconut oil and aloe vera gel, which are good sources of anti-inflammatory properties.

However, seeking a veterinarian is highly recommended to lessen the risk of contracting bacterial infections.

Recovery of Stud Tail in Dogs

The recovery process of a stud tail infection can be quick if the physical examination and treatment are conducted promptly.

So as long as you follow your vet’s treatment plan and instructions, you should be able to get your dog back to its normal health in no time.

You can even use treats as a means of diverting the dog’s attention from its discomfort.

In some instances, however, the infection may have spread throughout the dog’s body. If this is the case, a surgical procedure is necessary to guarantee that your fur baby will fully recover from this skin disease.

As a pet parent, it is also your responsibility to monitor your dog’s tail for any signs of abnormalities during this period.

While stud tail in dogs is not deadly, remember that it is possible for them to develop secondary bacterial infections.

Unfortunately, some canines die from this dog tail gland infection because they are left untreated for too long.

Prevention of Stud Tail in Dogs

Stud tail is a skin disease that results from several factors and is therefore challenging to prevent. However, there are some measures you can take to help ensure your dog’s tail remains in good condition.

First off, regularly monitor its skin, fur, and tail for signs of irritation or infection.

If you see any abnormalities, such as hair loss, a sudden appearance of a greasy or oily substance, and a foul odor, seek veterinary advice immediately.

Furthermore, make sure that your dog is free from tick and flea infestations.

These parasites can irritate a dog’s skin, causing inflammation and itching. If left unchecked, a pup may eventually develop a stud tail infection.

Although all canines can suffer from supracaudal gland hyperplasia, male dogs are especially vulnerable as they tend to emit higher levels of androgens than females.

One way to reduce the risk of your dog developing this skin condition is to have it neutered or spayed.

In addition, an owner must clean their pet’s tail regularly using a mild shampoo designed for pooches. Doing this will help remove dirt, debris, and other irritants that can cause dog tail wound infections.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Stud Tail Go Away in Dogs?

Yes, stud tails go away if affected dogs are treated with proper medication. However, if your dog has already developed a secondary bacterial infection, it may need additional antibiotics to treat this disease.

In some cases, a vet might even recommend surgery to repair the damage done by a stud tail.

Regardless of the severity of your dog’s condition, it is best to always follow up with your vet and keep them up-to-date on your furry friend’s recovery progress.

Does Stud Tail Itch?

As a result of skin irritation, the stud tail is often itchy and uncomfortable for our pets. That is the reason why they constantly bite, chew, lick, and rub their rear ends on furniture, carpets, or other surfaces.

Unfortunately, doing this can cause further inflammation and damage to the tail area.

One way to help relieve the itchiness is to wash your dog with a medicated shampoo containing benzoyl peroxide. However, always consult a veterinarian before attempting any alternative treatment.

Does Stud Tail Smell?

Aside from hair loss, swelling, and redness, a stud tail is sometimes accompanied by a foul smell.

The source of this odor is typically an infection in the skin due to bacteria or other microorganisms present in the wound.

So if you notice that your dog has a smelly tail, take it to the vet as soon as possible to determine the underlying cause. As a reminder, you should be aware of the other warning signs discussed in the earlier sections as well.

How Common Is Stud Tail in Dogs?

In reality, stud tail is not a very common condition in dogs. When it does emerge, it is usually a symptom of another health issue that requires treatment.

While stud tail may seem like a minor problem, it can actually be quite painful and detrimental to your pet’s health.

In severe cases, the twisted area of the tail can develop skin ulcers and blackheads, resulting in chronic pain.

Though it primarily affects unneutered male dogs, females and even neutered males can still develop this skin problem.

Will Neutering Stop Stud Tail?

Even though hormonal imbalance is one of the primary causes of stud tail in dogs, neutering will not necessarily stop this skin infection from developing.

Having your male dog neutered can only lessen the risk, but it is not guaranteed to prevent stud tail entirely.

However, if you do choose to neuter your furry companion, it is important to keep in mind that other factors may contribute to the development of this skin problem.

These include the dog’s age, diet, genetics, and if it has an existing skin disorder like a yeast infection, skin fold pyoderma (SFP), or seborrheic dermatitis.

Can Females Get Stud Tails?

Yes, female dogs can get stud tails, too. Note that all canines possess a supracaudal or violet gland that is responsible for producing pheromones.

The hair follicles in this area can get clogged up by dirt, excess sebum, and other contaminants, which is one of the major causes of a dog tail gland infection.

In addition, ticks and fleas can also obstruct the flow of secretions from the supracaudal gland and sebaceous glands in dogs, causing them to develop stud tails.

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand dog stud tail, you can see why it is vital to be aware of this skin disease.

Although we have established in this article that it is not life-threatening, it can still be distressing for your dog if not treated promptly.

That said, owners should always consult a licensed veterinarian before administering treatments to their pets. This ensures that the correct medication is given and prevents the infection from recurring.

Fortunately, this guide provides an in-depth description of the most common signs and symptoms of supracaudal gland hyperplasia.

If you have any questions or advice to share about the stud tail in dogs, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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