English bulldogs (and some other breeds, to a lesser degree) can be prone to a condition called “screw tail.” This condition is the result of an abnormally-shaped tail, often resembling a corkscrew. For companions with screw tail, skin infections and inflammation can cause significant discomfort. Tail amputation is one way for guardians to help treat the painful complications of screw tail and improve their companion’s quality of life. In this dog surgery spotlight, we will explore the basics of screw tail and the surgical options available for treatment.
What is Screw Tail?
Screw tail, as the name suggests, is a malformation of the tail, causing it to appear twisted like a corkscrew. The main issue with screw tail is that the abundant, tightly-coiled folds of skin make an excellent breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Skin infections are a common and unpleasant issue for dogs with screw tail. Some canines experience even further complications; in some severe cases, the tail covers part of the anus. This can result in severe infections contaminated with fecal matter.
Symptoms and Complications of Screw Tail
While a corkscrew-shaped tail is the clearest sign of screw tail, guardians who are unfamiliar with the condition may learn about it after seeking treatment for skin infections. Skin infections can be smelly, itchy, and painful for your companion. In treating these infections, you may see deep pockets of skin that just won’t get clean or recurring skin infections that don’t seem to heal. If your fur-baby is experiencing frequent skin infections, pain, and inflammation around the tail area, your veterinary care team may suggest surgical intervention.
Dog Surgery Options: Caudectomy
Tail amputation, or “caudectomy,” is a standard procedure for canines with screw tail and recurring infections. Depending on the structure of your companion’s tail, all or part of the tail may be removed. Because the tail is part of the spine, the removal of some coccygeal vertebrae is often necessary. A caudectomy involves putting the patient under anesthesia, shaving and sterilizing the tail area, removing some of the coccygeal vertebrae and surrounding skin, and closing the incision. In some cases, veterinary surgeons can preserve some folds of skin that give the appearance of a small tail without the tight folds that foster skin infections.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.