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Screw Tail

MDVSS Screw Tail

Screw tail is an uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous condition that affects some breeds of dogs.

Dogs are cherished members of many families, providing companionship, love, and joy. However, just like humans, they can suffer from various medical conditions that affect their quality of life. One such condition is “screw tail,” also known as “corkscrew tail” or “ingrown tail.” This condition is particularly common in certain dog breeds and can lead to discomfort, pain, and infections. In this blog, we will delve into what screw tail is, which breeds are most susceptible, the symptoms to look out for, and the surgical options available to treat this condition, ensuring a happier and healthier life for affected dogs.

What is Screw Tail?

Screw tail is a congenital deformity seen in certain dog breeds characterized by a tightly curled or twisted tail. This abnormal tail structure can lead to a variety of issues, including skin fold infections, irritation, and chronic pain. The condition is most commonly observed in breeds such as Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs, where selective breeding for the distinctive tail shape has inadvertently promoted this problematic trait.

The condition arises when the vertebrae in the tail are misshapen or fused together, creating a tight, spiral formation. In severe cases, the tail can become ingrown, where the skin around the tail grows over the tail itself, leading to serious health issues such as infection, necrosis, and significant discomfort for the dog.

Common Issues

Dogs with screw tail suffer from issues related to the condition. These may include:

  • Skin Irritation: The folds of skin around the tail can become irritated due to constant friction and lack of air circulation.
  • Infections: The moist, warm environment created by the folds of skin is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, leading to recurrent infections.
  • Foul Odor: Infections and accumulated debris in the tail folds can cause a noticeable foul smell.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Dogs may frequently lick, bite, or scratch their tails due to the pain and itchiness caused by the condition.

Surgical Treatment Options

When conservative treatments such as regular cleaning, topical antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medications fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be necessary. The primary surgical options for treating screw tail include tail amputation and corrective surgery.

Tail Amputation

Tail amputation is often considered the most effective treatment for severe cases of screw tail. This procedure involves the complete removal of the affected tail, which eliminates the source of irritation and infection. The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and involves the following steps:

  • Pre-surgical Assessment: A thorough evaluation of the dog’s overall health to ensure it can safely undergo anesthesia and surgery.
  • Surgical Preparation: The area around the tail is shaved and disinfected.
  • Amputation: The veterinarian carefully removes the tail, taking care to minimize trauma and preserve surrounding tissues.
  • Closure and Recovery: The surgical site is closed with sutures, and the dog is monitored during recovery for any signs of complications.

Post-operative care includes pain management, regular wound checks, and ensuring the dog refrains from licking or biting the surgical site to prevent infection.

Corrective Surgery

In less severe cases, corrective surgery may be an option. This approach involves reshaping the tail or removing excess skin folds to reduce irritation and the risk of infection. The specific technique used depends on the individual dog’s condition and the extent of the deformity.

  • Skin Fold Resection: Excess skin around the tail is removed to prevent it from trapping moisture and debris.
  • Partial Tail Resection: Only the most severely affected part of the tail is removed, preserving as much of the tail as possible.

Corrective surgery aims to alleviate the symptoms while maintaining some of the tail’s natural appearance and function.

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 dog health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2024 at 12:34 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.