How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10326
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas
49838867
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dog keeps licking/biting her tail and bottom area until

Resolved Question:

My dog keeps licking/biting her tail and bottom area until she develops sores and even bleeds. We've shaved down the area and keep cleaning and sterilizing them, and have even put a cone on her to keep her from continuing to make it worse. However, she has a fairly long nose for her head/neck size and a lot of extra scruff so she keeps finding ways to move the cone down and she can still get at it. The resi-keti-chlor lotion that we put on doesn't taste good but she'll just keep licking and licking to get at it to chew it so we don't really think something like bitters would work. When we brought the problem up to a previous vet (before it got to be quite this bad) she said it may be some kind of neurological discomfort that makes it itchy? She could probably use more regular baths but at the moment we don't want to get soap in her open wounds. So I guess this question has several parts: what would cause a dog to do this with such fervor? how can we make her stop? what can we do to facilitate the healing process? how can we keep it from happening again once the current wounds have healed? Thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I am sorry to hear that Holly is licking her bottom and tailhead enough to make herself raw.

 

She may be trying to lick her perianal area after eating in response to a food allergy which can cause perianal itchiness.

Other reasons for perianal itchiness include constipation or diarrhea, fleas, tapeworms or other gastrointestinal parasites, full or infected anal glands or impaction of the glands.

Because she is a shepherd mix I also want to mention a condition called perianal fistulas as we see this more commonly in shepherds and their mixes. This is a painful condition where dogs develop fistulous tracts around the anus and lick in response to the discomfort. It is likely an autoimmune mediated disease process (body attacks itself) as it responds to immunosuppressive drugs and while it cannot be cured we can usually control it. It is diagnosed via a biopsy coupled with a history of perianal inflammation and tracts.

 

Make sure that her stools are normal size and consistency and look for any signs of worm packets that look like grains of rice too. If she's had fleas at all in the past year then tapeworms are a real concern and then you may choose to treat for those with a wormer containing praziquantal. I would also recommend submitting a stool sample to check for other gastrointestinal parasites. If she has had fleas even if you don't see them now I do recommend using protection, if only during the spring, summer and fall months. They are the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog lick and scratch excessively so I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. Frontline Plus, Advantage or Advantix are excellent. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or
Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic.

 

She should have her anal glands checked either by your veterinarian or an experienced veterinary technician to make sure they aren't a problem.

 

If she will let you she may benefit from a warm compress to the area, patting dry and then applying a light coat of cortisone cream (like cortaid) to the area a couple times a day.

 

If she's been fed a new food or treats, or had table food my thought would be this is a food allergy. Treatment is topical cortisone and not exposing her to the allergen again. It can take a few weeks to get the allergen out of his system. If this has been going on a while perhaps she is allergic to her food and I recommend a hypoallergenic diet trial. You could try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects, though most owners see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.

 

Finally if she is having trouble passing stools then adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin (not pie filling, just canned pumpkin) to each meal will help soften her stools and make them easier to pass and thus make her more comfortable.

 

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much, we'll be sure to try some of those things. One thing to note: the primary location of the chewing is down the tail about 1-3 inches and also a spot on her backside above her anus, sort of on top of her tail. While we have noticed a lot more issues with her needing to clean her anal glands and getting pungent smells than we ever see with our other dog, she doesn't appear fixated on the perianal area. Is it maybe just that she cant quite reach that enough to chew or does that glandular discomfort extend further down the tail and surrounding area than I realize?

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the further information.

It is entirely possible that she cannot quite reach her perianal area or that she isn't licking the actual area that is itchy/uncomfortable but is rather licking around the area because it is too uncomfortable.

 

There are oil/scent glands on the top 1/3 of the tail that can become inflamed and infected and cause licking. Perhaps cleaning the top of the tail area with a follicle flushing shampoo like pyoben would be helpful too.

 

Given the location of her licking it is also possible that this is related to a neurogenic pain type reaction. If that is the case then laser therapy to the affected areas to deaden the nerves from firing and pain/antianxiety medications such as fluoxetine or clomipramine may be of help.

Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10326
Experience: Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas
Dr. Kara and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Debbie

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    902
    Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/debkatreyn/2011-11-28_33650_682e.64x64.jpg Dr. Debbie's Avatar

    Dr. Debbie

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    902
    Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    13796
    UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    9550
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    7758
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    6598
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    6377
    13 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/bigislandvet/2013-2-21_214244_IMG0357.64x64.JPG Dr. Michael Salkin's Avatar

    Dr. Michael Salkin

    Big Island Vet

    Satisfied Customers:

    6049
    University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 41 yrs. of experience.
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Dog Veterinarian
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
5560 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas