Tail condition more common in dogs

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

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By John Koch, DVM

Question: I have a beautiful white long-hair cat. He is magnificently clean except for a one-inch spot on his tail just behind where it joins the body. This area is always greasy and attracts dirt. I have repeatedly washed the area, but dirt comes right back. Some one told me this is a condition called stud tail. What is stud tail?

Answer: The condition you describe could indeed be what is sometimes referred to as stud tail. The correct name for this is tail gland hyperplasia. The sebaceous glands in the area are more numerous than in other parts of the body and are secreting larger than normal amounts of oil. The oil attracts dirt, giving the area a brownish appearance. The problem occurs in both dogs and cats. Dogs seem to develop the condition more commonly than cats. Intact males of both species are predisposed.

Cage confinement and poor grooming habits contribute to the disorder in cats. Occasionally the area can become infected and antibiotic therapy is necessary. Other forms of treatment include topical antiseborrheic medications and shampoos. Surgery may remove excessive scar formation and improve the appearance of the area. Neutering the pet helps prevent further development, but it will not cause regression of already damaged tissues.

The good thing about stud tail is that it is a cosmetic disease and it does not affect the quality of the animal's life.

Dr. Koch is a Cape Girardeau-area veterinarian.

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